A lifelong Emerson lover, teacher, and spiritual seeker reveals how American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s twelve essential teachings hold the answer to living an authentic and fulfilling life, one that is in harmony with our souls.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a spiritual revolutionary whose profound vision of human potential came to define the American character. Known as America’s original Stoic, he offered a radical message of optimism, authenticity, and self-realization that is more necessary today than ever.
In this timely, remarkable book, noted memoirist and teacher Mark Matousek reveals the depths of Emerson’s extraordinary wisdom, demonstrating how his timeless philosophy can help us navigate the challenges of contemporary life. Using personal stories, psychological research, and life lessons from Emerson and his contemporaries—including Thoreau and Whitman— he offers practical lessons in the art of living. In the following pages, you will discover:
Emerson’s far-reaching vision of excellence and spiritual flourishing is the medicine we need to heal ourselves. “Trust yourself,” he teaches. “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” This philosophy of hope, known as transcendentalism, is the vein of gold in the American psyche. Lessons from an American Stoic helps us to reclaim our national treasure.
Mark Matousek is a bestselling author, teacher, and speaker whose work focuses on personal awakening and creative excellence through transformational writing and self-inquiry. His books include Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story, The Boy He Left Behind, When You’re Falling, Dive, Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life, Ethical Wisdom for Friends, Mother of the Unseen World, and Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, Details, Tricycle, Good Housekeeping, and Harper’s Bazaar. He has blogged for Psychology Today and offers courses in creativity and spiritual growth around the world. In 2013, Mark founded The Seekers Forum, a global online community for non-sectarian spiritual dialogue. He is on the faculty of The New York Open Center, The Omega Institute, 1440, Esalen, The Rowe Center, Hollyhock, and Omega Blue Spirit, Costa Rica. He lives with his partner in Springs, New York.
"In Lessons from an American Stoic, Matousek is more than an outstanding biographer of the legendary Emerson. He joins the lineage of Emerson by adding his own hard-earned wisdom and care. In translating Emerson’s insights to our modern world, Mark has done a great service for the soul of America. This is a great book. It will open your heart, expand your mind, and help you live more truly, more fully, and more lovingly."
— Mark Nepo, author of The Half-Life of Angels and Falling Down and Getting Up
"This beautifully written book on Emerson offers great principles and notions for living through these difficult times. It restored my enthusiasm, confidence, compassion, and willingness to resist authority. It made me braver to be myself, to embrace paradox and be proud all the ways I have refused to conform. It’s a guide for living outside binaries. It's a book of great vitality, vision and liberation."
— V (formerly Eve Ensler) author of Reckoning
"Those looking for commonsense guidance to a more self-directed life will find it here." — Publishers Weekly