Gates of Fire

Book Notes

This book was recommended in a recent Ryan Holiday's book-reading newsletter. He had read the book 14 years ago, recently reread it, and was impressed with all the nuances of the book. Along with The Road, I picked up the book from the library. Related: I'm pretty sure that I read the Reading List emails faster than most people on the list, as the books Holiday recommends are usually available when I look for them, and have a backlog of holds about a week later. Is amusing to me.

The book is the telling of the Battle of Thermopylae, more commonly known in today's culture as the battle that the 300 Spartans held off thousands of Persian invaders. Now, I am REALLY not a fan of historical fiction, to the point where I might say the movie is better I dislike historical fiction so much, but, well, this causes me to reconsider my stance. The book is written in third person, and not third person omniscient, which means we see the characters' actions, but don't hear their thoughts. I suspect this is why I enjoyed it, it was a story that didn't go too far.

The basic plot of the book is, well, the Battle of Thermopylae. That story has been told many times, in many mediums. I found the surrounding elements of the book engaging. Pressfield gives us many lessons of Stoicism in the book, while wrapping them into the story, without the dryness of a textbook or the boredom of a lecture. He gives us

Daily Stoic Mailing List


Okay, so, I've recently subscribed to the Daily Stoic mailing list. During the week, an email with parts of the book is (nominally) sent out to subscribers. I have the book, and have been reading it, often not just the day's entry, but forward and backward in different lengths of forward and backward. I am appreciating the balance I'm starting to find with the daily reminders.

The only part I'm not so thrilled with is that I can't find the archives of the mailing list. I suspect only a fraction of the book is sent out, as the emails don't match the entries in the book, and that at some point that "only part" will become "two parts" with the second one being the list repeats itself. Or maybe not, if I embrace the reminders.

Anyway, here are a couple of the recent ones that I haven't archived from my inbox yet.