Most people know Arianna Huffington as the founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global (as well as board member of Uber and bestselling author), but they probably don’t know that she is also a student and admirer of philosophy. It’s fitting that as a Greek she would love the subject, yet it is still special that she has a quote from Marcus Aurelius on her nightstand, in her wallet, her desk and features it on the homepage of her company’s website. We reached out to learn more about her study of Stoicism, the importance of rest and work-life balance, and much more. She was kind enough to take time out of her very busy schedule to answer our questions. Enjoy our interview with Arianna Huffington below.
And if you don’t follow her yet, you can do so on Twitter, and you can also check out her bestselling books, including Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
We know that you love Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, and you even have a quote from him on every page on Thrive Global’s website! Do you happen to remember how you first discovered the book, or the Stoics in general? What was your introduction like? Was it love at first sight?
I do love Marcus Aurelius. He wasn’t Greek, but when you grow up in Greece, books of ancient philosophy are considered current reading. I discovered the book in high school and, yes, it was love at first sight. And at this point my relationship with the Emperor has been one of my longest.
We happen to share your admiration of Marcus for the way he seemed to remain composed no matter the situation and faced with equanimity everything that life threw at him. Do you have any daily practices or rituals that help you get closer to that state? Is there anything you remind yourself of when things get stressful or tough?
I have several daily practices that I use to get closer to that state (and keep myself in it) – and also to help me return to that state when I fall out of it. For example, when I’m feeling stressed I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and do a few minutes of breathing exercises. The other thing that can bring me back to my center and give me perspective is talking to my daughters, but they’re not always as available as a quick breathing exercise.