Stefan Zweig was at one point one of the most popular novelists in the world. He wrote beautiful books and was celebrated across Europe…until the rise of Nazi Germany chased him from his home and family. He met fame and disaster with equal Stoic equanimity and strength. At the end of his life, he fell in lovewith the writings of the essayist Montaigne who had also seen Europe tear itself to pieces centuries before. In his readings of Montaigne, Zweig would pull out a small list of virtues that one would do well to print out and study as a new kind of “10 Commandments”:
Be free from vanity and pride
Be free from belief, disbelief, convictions and parties
Be free from habit
Be free from ambition and greed
Be free from family and surroundings
Be free from fanaticism
Be free from fate: be the master of your own life
Be free from death: life depends on the will of others, but death on your own will.
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