Stillness Is the Key

Stillness Is the KeyIn The Obstacle Is The Way And Ego Is The Enemy, Bestselling Author Ryan Holiday Made Ancient Wisdom Wildly Popular With A New Generation Of Leaders In Sports, Politics, And Technology In His New Book, Stillness Is The Key, Holiday Draws On Timeless Stoic And Buddhist Philosophy To Show Why Slowing Down Is The Secret Weapon For Those Charging AheadAll Great Leaders, Thinkers, Artists, Athletes, And Visionaries Share One Indelible Quality It Enables Them To Conquer Their Tempers To Avoid Distraction And Discover Great Insights To Achieve Happiness And Do The Right Thing Ryan Holiday Calls It Stillness To Be Steady While The World Spins Around YouIn This Book, He Outlines A Path For Achieving This Ancient, But Urgently Necessary Way Of Living Drawing On A Wide Range Of History S Greatest Thinkers, From Confucius To Seneca, Marcus Aurelius To Thich Nhat Hanh, John Stuart Mill To Nietzsche, He Argues That Stillness Is Not Mere Inactivity, But The Doorway To Self Mastery, Discipline, And FocusHoliday Also Examines Figures Who Exemplified The Power Of Stillness Baseball Player Sadaharu Oh, Whose Study Of Zen Made Him The Greatest Home Run Hitter Of All Time Winston Churchill, Who In Balancing His Busy Public Life With Time Spent Laying Bricks And Painting At His Chartwell Estate Managed To Save The World From Annihilation In The Process Fred Rogers, Who Taught Generations Of Children To See What Was Invisible To The Eye Anne Frank, Whose Journaling And Love Of Nature Guided Her Through Unimaginable AdversityMore Than Ever, People Are Overwhelmed They Face Obstacles And Egos And Competition Stillness Is The Key Offers A Simple But Inspiring Antidote To The Stress Of News And Social Media The Stillness That We All Seek Is The Path To Meaning, Contentment, And Excellence In A World That Needs Of It Than Ever This is my first book by Ryan Holiday, and I must say, I m not overly impressed The book wavers back and forth between insightful and inane There is some useful advice, to be sure, including the benefits of being fully present, limiting inputs to prevent information overload, cultivating silence, turning off your cell phone, and embracing the Stoic virtues of optimism, honesty, courage, justice, toleration, gratitude, and wisdom This is all good advice, if not necessarily original or better c This is my first book by Ryan Holiday, and I must say, I m not overly impressed The book wavers back and forth between insightful and inane There is some useful advice, to be sure, including the benefits of being fully present, limiting inputs to prevent information overload, cultivating silence, turning off your cell phone, and embracing the Stoic virtues of optimism, honesty, courage, justice, toleration, gratitude, and wisdom This is all good advice, if not necessarily original or better covered by other Stoic philosophers But it is into the second part of the book where it all starts to fall apart, leading up to the cliche fest that is the chapter titled Accepting a Higher Power I get the unfortunate impression that Holiday doesn t understand the difference between religion and philosophy For someone supposedly well versed in the practice of Stoicism, talk of surrendering to a higher power is entirely antithetical to the philosophy Stoicism teaches us that the greatest goods are reason and virtue, and that the cultivation of virtue is entirely independent of anything external to ourselves and the people around us Holiday writes, There is no stillness to the mind that thinks of nothing but itself This is supposed to imply that some sort of religious faith in a higher power is necessary for a meaningful life, as if a sense of awe cannot be achieved by, for example, looking through the Hubble Space Telescope, or that actually helping other people isn t a better way to be selfless than praying I ll admit that I m growing tired of reading authors projecting their own psychology into the text and assuming that those lacking religious faith are selfish and miserable Science and humanism are enough for me, and for many other Stoics, humanists, atheists, and agnostics, thank you Holiday also betrays his lack of training as a professional philosopher when he insists,than once, that if many different people believed something in the past, it must be true This appeal to the bandwagon fallacy is constantly repeated, with the implication that because belief in a deity was widespread in the past that it must be true As Holiday writes, That was the story with Lincoln Like many smart young people, he was an atheist early in life, but the trials of adulthood, especially the loss of his son and the horrors of the Civil War, turned him into a believer It s interesting to note that Holiday doesn t mention David Hume, Bertrand Russell, Jeremey Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Denis Diderot, John Dewey, and most contemporary philosophers and scientists that were or are atheists Diderot and Russell didn t have easy lives, both being imprisoned for their beliefs But neither smart young person recanted their atheism later in life And here s some condescension for you Holiday writes, in the chapter on accepting a higher power, Perhaps you re not ready to do that, to let anything into your heart That s okay There s no rush Just know that this step is open to you It s waiting And it will help restore you to sanity when you re ready If you enjoy being talked down to like this, you ll love the book The structure of the book is also somewhat redundant It s broken up into three parts mind, spirit, and body However, the chapters titled Say No and Seek Solitude in the body section are largely a repeat of the chapters titled Limit Your Inputs and Cultivate Silence in the mind section There is, in fact, a lot of redundancy found throughout the book, along with a large dose of empty phrases with little substance There are, to be fair, some redeeming qualities The numerous biographical details are interesting, and, again, there is some genuinely good advice, particularly when Holiday sticks closest to Stoicism However, this is not something I could recommend I think you d be better off reading the classics of Stoicism or contemporary philosophers specializing in Stoicism like Massimo Pigliucci Stillness is the Key is Ryan Holiday s most concise, to the point and important work I say after having read all his previous books and being a long time reader Stillness is the Key found me in a particular time of my life, and the same will apply to many others, I believe , in which there s very little time to pause, sit still and consider my life I will be honest and say that there s nothing particularly new in Stillness is the Key , but how many new books with new ideas are there aro Stillness is the Key is Ryan Holiday s most concise, to the point and important work I say after having read all his previous books and being a long time reader Stillness is the Key found me in a particular time of my life, and the same will apply to many others, I believe , in which there s very little time to pause, sit still and consider my life I will be honest and say that there s nothing particularly new in Stillness is the Key , but how many new books with new ideas are there around The magic in Ryan s work is that he mentions concepts widely known in a way that actually makes you think about them I am a compulsive reader and it is hard for a book to stop me in my tracks But with this book, it happened a couple of times And that s what matters because the book goes in a meta journey in which the reader actually becomes calmer,still and aware The concepts go from the simple actions of just being still, to finding hobbies that make you be in the present moment and the joy of building things with your own hands This is an antidote to an age in which we are interrupted every 5 minutes, not only in our professional lives but in our personal lives as well We take a serious and non still approach to relax and being still This book is important for this day and age because it will question your life, your daily routine, and your thinking patterns Of all of Ryan s work, this is the one who grabbed me the most and is exceptionally well written I finished the book knowing that I will have to get back to it in a few weeks, so I can actually consider every chapter and take those lessons from the book to my life Highly recommended As always, a great book by Ryan Holiday I ve been waiting months for this to come out because I just discovered him earlier this year While I do like Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way better, this is still a must read book. I don t believe that this is Holiday s greatest work I believe that Conspiracy is incomparable It is however a welcome addition to his oeuvre, and a fitting end to his trilogy.

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  • Hardcover
  • 288 pages
  • Stillness Is the Key
  • Ryan Holiday
  • 14 August 2019
  • 0525538585