WOW | Coffee Break

A BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

Ashutosh Tiwari
Founder/Managing Director, SAFAL Partners

One book that has changed my life is Marcus Aurelius’ ‘Meditations’. I first read it when I was a student in the US. At that time, I read it hurriedly to cite a few things for a paper for a course. Later one summer, I re-read the book this time, slowly and by taking notes, and my understanding deepened. Further re-reading over the years started to change my life, for the book changed my behaviours.

Marcus was the last great emperor of Rome and ‘Meditations’ were his notes to himself on how to live a virtuous life. In the book, he reflects on the fundamental questions of life: How should we live? How should we deal with the stresses of daily life? How should we cultivate equanimity and why? How do we deal with the slings and arrows of life? And he talks about why it’s useless to chase fame, how the universe is random, and why we should forgive those who have wronged us, and so on.

Temperamentally, I used to be a reactive person, someone who was more driven to get to the product, to the goal. ‘Meditations’ taught me to slow down, to take things as they come, at their own time, with inevitable obstacles and hardships. It further taught me that many things in life are outside my control, and that all I could do was to develop and trust my own process of doing things without worrying about what others say and about the rewards or punishment. Developing a calm yet steadily working persona was and is not easy, but whenever I face difficult situations, my first instinct is to apply the principles laid out by Marcus Aurelius some 2,000 years ago.