It’s one of the most unbelievable stories in all of history.
A kid is born into slavery and becomes one of the most influential philosophers not just in their own lifetime, but of all time.
Epictetus’ name, in Greek, translates literally to “acquired one.” In Rome, the law of the empire—Lex Aelia Sentia—was that no slave could be free before their 30th birthday. But from those thirty years as the property of a violent and depraved master, in a Roman Empire known for treating its slaves cruelly, Epictetus would learn about the ultimate power human beings hold. In time, this lesson would go on to guide men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, emperors and exiles, war heroes and prisoners of war. It is a lesson we parents must teach our kids, or the world will do it for us.
We are powerless over so much. We can be tossed around by the oceans, we can be struck down by disease, we can be literally put in chains. But each of us has power over the greatest empire: the one between our ears. Our minds—our attitudes, our wants, our desires, our opinions about what has happened to us—Epictetus said, “even Zeus cannot deprive you of that fortune.” Slavery certainly deprive Epictetus of that fortune, as we explain in the story The Girl Who Would Be Free.
The Girl Who Would Be Free tells Epictetus’ story of finding freedom internally, in the mind, through philosophy, before having it bestowed by legal decree. It is a parable for the human condition, written by bestselling author Ryan Holiday, who evolved the initial idea by reading 50-60 drafts to his two young sons. It started out as rough notes on pieces of scrap paper, then coalesced into a narrative, then laid out page by page, and then each of the 148 pages was paired with an image created by the awesome illustrator Victor Juhasz.
And Friday it was officially released! The 148-page book, produced entirely by Daily Stoic and printed here in the United States, is OFFICIALLY AVAILABLE online at dailystoic.com/girl or at The Painted Porch Bookshop in Bastrop, Texas.