You may wonder why a podcast on classical music suddenly touches upon a relationship theme? Plato said that music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. Indeed, music is about life as everything that we do and think, fear and dream, has already been expressed through music. Friendship amongst it, of course. Not to mention the recent Harvard research saying that happiness is all about happy and healthy relationships. Also, there are great examples of strong friendships in music, such as between Mozart and Haydn, Debussy and Satie, Brahms and Schumann, Ravel and Gershwin, Mahler and Strauss. But today’s episode is fully dedicated to the main expert of friendship, a Roman philosopher Cicero.

How to Be a Friend — is the book  written on the subject. The heartfelt advice it gives is honest and moving. Some Romans viewed friendship in mostly practical terms as a relationship between people for mutual advantage. Cicero doesn’t deny that such friendships are important, but he reaches beyond the utilitarian to praise a deeper kind of friendship in which two people find in each other another self who doesn’t seek profit or advantage from the other person.

Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle had written about friendship hundreds of years earlier. Indeed Cicero was deeply influenced by their writings. But Cicero goes beyond it and creates in this short work a compelling guide to finding, keeping and appreciating those people in our lives we value not for what they can give us, but because we find in them a kindred soul.

How to Be a Friend is filled with timeless advice on friendship. Listen to the podcast and learn 10 of them.