“Fascinating, often amusing… one of those much-needed reminders that we are the architects of how we live.”

General Stanley McChrystal

Author, Risk, A User’s Guide

Soul in the Game is a beautiful way to search for the lost value of happiness, strength and health.”

Wim Hof

Author, The Wim Hof Method

Soul In The Game by Vitaliy Katsenelson

“Vitaliy knows how to tell a story. This book reads like a conversation with Vitaliy: deep, insightful, inquisitive and civilized.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Author, The Black Swan

“Vitaliy Katsenelson has been singled out by financial media for his brilliant investment strategies, but perhaps even more impressive are his philosophical writings.”

Carl Bernstein

Author, All the Presidents Men

Order today to get
6 entirely new chapters
(not found in the book)

Step 1: Order your copy of Soul in the Game

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Leave a review and send a link or a screenshot of the review to bonus@soulinthegame.net to receive 6 new pieces (35 pages of content!)

  1. Fiddler on the Roof and Value Investing:
    A reflection on the creative process through the story of one of my favorite value investing pieces.
  2. On Why:
    The difference between wanting to accomplish something and the process of getting there + the importance of knowing your “why”.
  3. Data-Driven Hiring:
    A story of how we tried to turn an incredibly subjective and ineffective task into a data-driven process.
  4. Brown M&Ms Story:
    How small details can help you understand a complex bigger whole.
  5. The Chess Saga Continues:
    How Hannah’s growing passion for chess has led to friendships we would have never otherwise made.
  6. Value of Scarcity:
    A practical look at how to enjoy your life more by introducing scarcity into a life of abundance.

“Vitaliy knows how to tell a story. This book reads like a conversation with Vitaliy: deep, insightful, inquisitive and civilized.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Author, The Black Swan

Soul in the Game is a beautiful way to search for the lost value of happiness, strength and health.”

Wim Hof

Author, The Wim Hof Method

“Vitaliy Katsenelson has been singled out by financial media for his brilliant investment strategies, but perhaps even more impressive are his philosophical writings.”

Carl Bernstein

Author, All the Presidents Man

Wow! This is surprisingly good. Honestly I was suspicious (why should I listen to a money guy talk about life?) but I liked it a lot! Vitaliy brings an insightful, fresh perspective to the question of how to live life. He is caring and considerate, with a really engaging writing style.

Derek Sivers

Author, How To Live

About the book

Soul in the Game is a book of inspiring stories and hardwon lessons on how to live a meaningful life, crafted by investor and writer Vitaliy Katsenelson. Drawing from the lives of classical composers, ancient Stoics, and contemporary thinkers, Katsenelson weaves together a tapestry of practical wisdom that has helped him overcome his greatest challenges: in work, family, identity, health – and in dealing with success, failure, and more.


Part autobiography, part philosophy, part creativity manual, Soul in the Game is a unique and vulnerable exploration of what works, and what doesn’t, in the attempt to shape a fulfilling and happy life.

A fascinating, often amusing, occasionally jarring journey – just like life itself. Vitaliy Katsenelson’s Soul in the Game is one of those much-needed reminders that although we have no control over when we’re born or when we’ll die, we are the architects of how we live.

General Stanley McChrystal

Author, Risk: A User’s Guide

I vividly remember the moment when I decided to write this book. Now, looking back at it, I am very proud of this moment as it was a completely selfless one.

Let me tell you what happened. It was early in the morning of August 10th, 2020. I had just finished writing an essay. At the time I didn’t have a title for it, but in the book it’s called “Creative Rollercoaster”.

This essay started out as a short note about Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence that was going to accompany one of my investment articles. As I started reading about this piece, I was touched by the emotional rollercoaster Tchaikovsky suffered when he composed it. I caught myself thinking that Tchaikovsky’s emotional journey looked very familiar. I don’t compose music, but I write. Both are creative processes where you try to fish content out of your subconscious. What started as a short piece that was going to accompany music started to turn into a lengthy essay about creativity and writing. After I finished writing it, I realized that this essay could actually help others. But this was not the only life (non-investment) essay I had written. What if I put the life essays I had written over the last fifteen years into a book? This selfless thought “it could help others” is the one I am proud of.

I started looking through my essays. I was going to self-publish them. Nine days later I received an email from Craig Pearce, an editor at Harriman House, a British publisher that had published books by my friends Lawrence Cunningham and Morgan Housel. Craig and I had communicated a few years earlier about possibly publishing an investment book I was working on, Intellectual Investor. (I have yet to finish it.)

I told Craig that I was working on a very different book and sent him a sample. I was expecting a very polite (he is British, after all) response along the lines of “Vitaliy, this looks great. Good luck!” To my surprise, Harriman House expressed interest in publishing it. Now I was a bit confused. I started to question their sanity. I thought there must be something wrong with them. What kind of joint could they be running if they wanted to publish this?

I reached out to Lawrence and Morgan and asked them about their experience with Harriman House. Harriman House had just published Morgan’s Psychology of Money, which became an international bestseller and quite deservingly sold a million copies. Both gave Harriman House glowing reviews and confirmed that there was nothing wrong with either Craig or the publisher.

I was excited to get the book out into the world, and we agreed to a publishing date of March 2021. We were in the middle of the lockdown, so I had plenty of time on my hands. I worked mornings, evenings, and weekends on the book. At first, I was mostly rewriting existing published and unpublished essays. Then the writer in me took over and I wrote many new ones.

Everything was going according to plan, and then…

Well, I stumbled on Stoicism. It was love at first sight. I wanted to learn and to write about it and share it with the world. I told Craig that this detour might take a few months. I read everything I could get my hands on. This ended up delaying the book by about a year, but I don’t regret it. I ended up writing a book inside a book about Stoic philosophy.

Soul in the Game – The Art of a Meaningful Life ended up being a very personal and autobiographical book. But I truly hope that despite its being personal, Soul in the Game becomes not my but your book. I can only hope that I carried the selfless intention that triggered me to write it throughout the book.

I am finally directly impacted by the pandemic. Normally it takes four weeks to do a print run of a book. Thanks to Covid, and for reasons that are still unclear to me, it now takes four months. If the hardback sells out in June it will take until September to get new copies printed.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to order it now – otherwise you may need to wait until September.

Plus, if you order and send your confirmation to bonus@soulinthegame.net, I’ll send you six entirely new chapters (35 pages of content) to read now.

Nothing less than a manual on how to live a good and meaningful life and achieve those most elusive and yet desirable of all states: balance and selfmastery. This book has changed me, and it will change you as well.

Robert Greenberg

Composer and Author,
How to Listen to Great Music

Vitaliy has captured much of the awe I hold for composer creators and he uses that insight to offer positive, constructive steps for us today who want to live life to the fullest.

Marin Alsop

Music Director Laureate,
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Vitaliy Katsenelson’s engagingly readable life-a-log, Soul in the Game, parses so many spirits it will benefit most everyone. Wisdom, life-long learning, human capital, struggles, music composers, immigrant life, philosophy, family life, stoicism and so much more—presents for everyone in 76 enjoyable bite sized bursts. Have fun!

Ken Fisher

Founder & Executive Chairman,
Fisher Investments

Superb guidance on how to unravel what’s really important in life. There’s a gem of wisdom in each short, snappy chapter.

Professor Jeremy J. Siegel

Professor of Finance, Wharton School, and Author, Stocks for the Long Run

Touching, honest and insightful—it’s hard to put this down

Morgan Housel

The Psychology of Money

Part eclectic autobiography of a diverse life, part endorsement of critical thinking, part investing principles, and part how-to guide on how to be a complete human. Soul in the Game is always interesting, often funny, and at times profound.

Greg Maffei

CEO, Liberty Media

Vitaliy Katsenelson has been singled out by financial media for his brilliant investment strategies, but perhaps even more impressive are his philosophical writings. Soul in the Game is no ordinary self-help tome. I’ve never read anything quite like it: a collection of wonderful observations and insights about Vitaliy’s native Russia (he emigrated to the US in the 1990s), parenting, living one day at a time, and – especially – creativity: in business, classical music, and art. Vitaliy’s life is an integrated one, from which we can all draw some surprising and (like his investment approach) contrarian notions. This book is worth anyone’s time.

Carl Bernstein

Author, All the President’s Men

Reader Reviews on Amazon

Ethan K
Ethan K
January 10, 2023.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: Meaningful Guide for Living Soul in the Game is like an owners-manual for your life and soul.Vitaly provides humorous and touching life lessons with a wonderful explanation/disccusion of Stoicism.I highly recommend this book.
January 8, 2023.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: Informative,personal sharing and provides great ideas about life and commitments See subject line. Great read.very enjoyable reading with many life experiences and thoughts. The title immediately drew me to read
Judy G.
Judy G.
December 28, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: Maintaining internal harmony I loved this book. I am a stoic too. What was most valuable to me was the suthor's insights and how he applied stoicism in his life through hie values. I've always had guiding principles to guide my life.and they did not focus on making more money, even though I worked in Silicon Valley.. If one has the basics--shelter, food, clothes--then go out and live. Happiness is about living the best that one can and as simply as possible 'to make the world a better place.. Silicon Valley can learn alot from how he balanced his life with fqmily, firends, and work and have a simple life that is rewarding. I also did not know much about Epicetus. I had read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, but the book gave me more insights on it so I am going back for a reread. Thank you, Vitaliy, for taking the time to write this book so we can all benefit from you insights and key learnings.
Kindle Customer
Kindle Customer
December 19, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: It is a book I will be referring to for the rest of my life This is probably the best book I have read in terms of usefulness of the advice I can learn from and turn towards. Vitaliy , in his short essays can make me feel and practice on how to become a better father, husband , friend and better human being through stoicism or otherwise. I started a journal to write down my own thoughts and looking forward to reading it years forward into the future. Thank you for this incredible book which I will continue to read and reread. It constantly reminds me of the impermanence of our lives and how to view it from that lens.
Joseph R Messineo
Joseph R Messineo
December 10, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: Common Sense Backed by Astute Observations Vitaliy analyzes a broad array of topics both financial and life lessons. He is very observant and his struggle from his youthful days in Russia clearly gives him a pithiness that cannot be learned from a book. When you combine his Intelect, deep family ties, experience, education, and writing ability you end up with a classic book. I have read most of Warren Buffett's investor letters and I hear the same kind of common sense in Vitaliy that I do in Buffett. I only regret that I am in my final years because this book would have made a difference in my life path. This book has got a lot more going on in it than just investing in stocks, way more. don't start it late at night because you may lose sleep trying to finish it in one gulp.Joe Messineo
Mike Kytka
Mike Kytka
December 7, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: A Pleasant Read that Offers Practical Wisdom, History of Stoicism/The Arts, and Fascinating Stories I first came across Vitaliy Katsenelson through his investment podcasts. Soul in the Game is unlike any of his previous books, which are predicated on investing. The book is a great composition that elegantly encapsulates many of his learned experiences and philosophies into one piece. He does a masterful job of weaving in history, philosophy, practical mental models, and heartwarming personal stories. It was fascinating learning about his life as a kid in Russia, his move to America (including some funny misconceptions he had about Americans), his family life, and his love for classical music. He provides several valuable frameworks that the reader can apply on a daily basis to help navigate through the ups and downs of life. This is a very good read, and I highly recommend it!
Siyun Chen
Siyun Chen
December 4, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: Another amazing Book from Vitaliy Vitaliy has once again deliver his thoughts and opinions simply with so much personal touch. He definitely has soul in most things he does. A big fan since 3 years ago and looking forward to his next book!
Rob Northrup
Rob Northrup
November 22, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: How to Think about your Life, and Your Legacy... I read Vitaliy's periodic newsletters on investing, and art, and classical music so I was familiar with his clear style of writing and his expansive thoughts on his life experiences. This new book is a good catalyst for people who are examining what is most important in life, and how to apply that knowledge to your life.He draws pieces of his framework from Stoicism, and provides a good starting point for further study into this philosophy for living a good, ethical life. He also describes what he finds most important in his own life, and some ideas on how he prioritizes his activities with family, business, travel, etc...He writes in a personal tone, friend to friend, and it feels very conversational and approachable.This book gives food for thought to anyone looking to optimize their happiness, and make meaningful, lasting contributions to the things they care about most in life.
ward ryan
ward ryan
November 7, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: great read top notch writer with a smooth flow of words
Carlos Tab
Carlos Tab
October 26, 2022.
Soul in the Game: The Art of a Meaningful Life: This book saved my life, no really. Dear Vitaliy,You saved my life.No, seriously. After reading your book I took your advice to heart. Prioritize health, that was my main takeaway.Ever since I have been working on multiple health fronts. But when I say you saved my life, I am not being hyperbolic. The doctor found some critical hormones off-balanced, and I am now on a lifetime treatment. I require a daily injection, some days multiple injections a day. But that’s not it either. It’s sleep apnea. Due to your emphasis on sleep, I did a sleep test and found out I had severe sleep apnea, the doctor was amazed at how I hadn’t had a stroke or a heart attack. So you see?I’ve been on the CPAP journey now for about 4ish months, and it has transformed my life.So thank you Vitaliy, you did save my life.In your debt.

Amazon rating score: 4.6 of 5, based on 296 reviews

About Vitaliy Katsenelson

Vitaliy Katsenelson was born in Murmansk, USSR, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1991. After joining Denver-based value investment firm IMA in 1997, Vitaliy became Chief Investment Officer in 2007, and CEO in 2012. Vitaliy has written two books on investing and is an award-winning writer. Known for his uncommon common sense, Forbes Magazine called him “The New Benjamin Graham.”

He’s written for publications including Financial Times, Barron’s, Institutional Investor and Foreign Policy. His articles are also published on his website, The Intellectual Investor, and in audio format on his Intellectual Investor Podcast. Vitaliy lives in Denver with his wife and three kids, where he loves to read, listen to classical music, play chess, and write about life, investing, and music. Soul in the Game is his third book, and first noninvesting book.

Vitaliy Katsenelson

Soul in the Game is a wonderful compilation of cogent observations and life strategies, derived from the author’s unique personal journey. From classical music to the Classics themselves, Vitaliy Katsenelson both educates and inspires.

Jim Chanos

President, Kynikos Associates

A rare read worth relishing. Taking threads from markets, music, art, philosophy, personal history, and universal humanity, Vitaliy weaves a tapestry worthy of kings and teaches us how to “go long” the scarcest asset of all: making meaning.

Josh Wolfe

Founding Partner & Managing Director, Lux Capital

Vitaliy Katsenelson’s craft is investing, his art is writing and his passion is to live a meaningful life. All are abundantly in evidence in Soul in the Game. Part memoir, part meditation, part self-help, with mini courses on Stoic philosophy and classical music, this book is personal, quirky, and marvelous. Invest some time with Vitaliy and you will be richer for it.

Bill Miller

CIO, Chairman and Portfolio Manager,

Miller Value Funds

A wise and irreverent narrative, replete with humor, life lessons and philosophical insights, which amply demonstrates that being a successful investor and a compelling writer are not mutually exclusive.

Leon G. Cooperman

Chairman and CEO,

Omega Family Office

Table of Contents


Introduction – How to Read This Book


Student of Life
  • Born in Russia, Made in America
  • Soul in the Game
  • Speechless (Future) Father
  • Here She Is
  • This Is What Happiness Feels Like
  • Why Do I Torture My Kids… with Classical Music?
  • Reading and Listening
  • There Is No I in Hannah (But There Are Two in Vitaliy)
  • Girls’ Gambit
  • My Russian Book
  • Parents of La Mancha


Inhaling the World
  • I Left My Heart…
  • Santa Fe: “Remember This”
  • Inhaling Europe


One Day at a Time
  • I Don’t Eat Desserts
  • The 8%
  • My Crash
  • I Don’t Eat Pork
  • Attend a Party in Your Own Head
  • Dale Carnegie – Better Late than Never
  • You Are Responsible for What You Have Tamed
  • Set Your Egg Timer to Six Months
  • Personal Finance Advice That Changed My Life


Stoicism – The Philosophy for Life
Stoicism: Part 1 – Operating System
  • Knowing and Doing
  • Dichotomy of Control
  • Event, Judgment, Reaction Framework
  • Negative Visualization
  • Last Time
  • Reframing
  • Temporary Insanity
  • Each Day Is a Separate Life
  • What Others Think
  • Insults
  • In Beta
  • Go Ahead, Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife
  • The False Sophistication of Sophists
  • Creating Stoic Subroutines in the Subconscious
  • Cold (and Warm) Showers
  • You Want to Be? Do


Stoicism: Part 2 – Values and Goals

  • Material Success
  • Always Being Right
  • “If This, Then…”
  • A Twist: Applying “If This, Then…” to Form Habits
  • Good Values Start with Good Problems
  • What Pain Are You Willing to Sustain?
  • Good Values
  • Tranquility in Motion
  • A Story of Four Books
  • One More Thing


Soul in Creativity
  • Don’t Let Your Environment Control You
  • Time Does Not Scale
  • Abracadabra
  • Opera. Pain. And Investing. (Or, What We Should Learn From Pain)
  • On Writing
  • The AC/DC Effect
  • Creative Rollercoaster


Melody of Life
  • Why I Write About Composers
  • Tchaikovsky – Master of Emotions
  • In the Shadow of Others
  • How Franz Liszt Revolutionized the Piano and Classical Music
  • The Two Sides of Chopin
  • Fantastic Fantastique
  • Bruckner – Humble, Odd, Sex-Deprived Religious Fanatic


The Art of a Meaningful Life


Intermission –
Stop Eating Sugar

Order today to get
6 entirely new chapters
(not found in the book)

A treasure trove full of bite-sized actionable wisdom.

Rolf Dobelli

Author, The Art of Thinking Clearly

The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself and in your
relationships. Vitaliy’s book is a big step forward in that direction. A must read!

Gautam Baid

Founder, Stellar Wealth Partners; Founding Creator, Chapter; and Author, The Joys of Compounding

Katsenelson is a learning machine. You will be inspired. Congratulations Vitaliy on your latest (and best) book.

Guy Spier

Author, The Education of a Value Investor

Vitaliy Katsenelson’s book is a delight to read and contains a great deal of sound advice, including some nice tips on applying Stoicism in daily life.

Donald Robertson

Author, How to Think Like a Roman Emperor

I thought it would take me a week to read the book, but when I started I could not stop and finished it in a day! After reading, I feel like I have spent one day of my life together with Vitaliy conversing with him through his warm words. His writing style is entertaining and at the same time it engages with the mind of the reader, making you think deeply about your own life. In every chapter, in every sentence and word, you can feel Vitaliy really put his SOUL into it.

Héctor García
Bestselling Author, IKIGAI and A Geek in Japan

Contact Vitaliy

    Another winner by Vitaliy with his best investment idea ever:
    Invest in yourself

    Mike “Mish” Shedlock