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Stillness Is the Key

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,179 ratings  ·  276 reviews
In 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 ahead.

All great leaders,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Portfolio
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Ryan Boissonneault
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it
As a longtime reader of Ryan Holiday, I was ecstatic to hear he was releasing a new book. Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way are two books I think about and refer too often. Stillness is the Key took me a big longer to appreciate. I wasn’t too fond of the short chapters, each covering their own unique topic while relating to ‘stillness’. One breaking down the ‘stillness’ of Tiger Woods golf game and another labeled ‘Go to Sleep’. Some felt a bit flimsy, only making it full circle back ...more
João Fernandes
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Tony Creech
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m a huge Ryan holiday fan. Maybe it’s because I’ve read enough books on mindfulness and stillness. Maybe it’s because he seems to waste a chapter misunderstanding modern skeptics and materialism and arguing for needing to believe in Hod to be still (despite there being a large incarnation of secular, materialist, Buddhism fuelling a good chunk of western meditative practice ). Maybe it’s because it never hooked me enough - do people need sleep? Yes. Do they need someone telling them that sleep ...more
Nicholas Mills Mills
In today’s review, I want to discuss Ryan Holiday’s new book: Stillness is the Key. I’ll be answering three main questions:

1. What was Stillness is the Key About?
2. Should you read the book?
3. And why I read the book and the value I got from it.

We are overfed and undernourished. Overstimulated, overscheduled, and lonely.

That is a quote from the opening monologue of the book. And one I think is a good summation of what it feels like to live in our current society.

1. What is the book about?
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pretty disappointing book. I was really excited for this one because Ego is the Enemy was excellent. I’ve recommended it to multiple people, and occasionally revisit it.

Stillness sounded like a great topic for a book, but whereas Ego is the Enemy was laser-focused, this seemed like a grab-bag of things. Sleep more, say no to stuff, try journaling, take care of your relationships, etc. They were also so rapid-fire that none of the sections felt particularly meaningful. Some only felt tangentially
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holiday is, in his third book, even more humble and modest than in his previous books. A writer who started out explaining the world is now sharing the results of his own research into what wisdom there is to find on cultivating a full inner life. He shares his conclusions but supports them not with his own examples and anecdotes but by sharing quotes and stories about the giants that helped him arrive at that insight. The result is a book that is not a lesson but a guide.

Through my own reading
Sebastian Gebski
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another book on "neo-stoicism". RH has found his niche & he's excavating :)

I don't want it to sound accusatory ;> in fact I believe these books can help many people - I follow the stoic doctrine myself, so I can personally vouch for it and its beneficial impact on one's life. But you should have very clear expectations - this book does not bring anything new to the table. It's still ol' good stoicism, with classic figures as role models - its main role is not informative (unless it's the
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I kind of had the impression that “Stoicism” in its contemporary iteration was some kind of tech-bro philosophy that was all about the ego and being cold and detached. I was reluctant to read anything about it, but I decided to try this book just to see. I was really wrong. This book is a guide for everyone to stop, take a breath, and take care of yourself. The author separates this book into three parts: mind, soul, body. And through the lenses of these three areas, he gives a lot of practical ...more
Anthony D’Apolito III
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has given me more than I could’ve asked for. From words like “junzi”, “samsara”, “shinirin yoku”, and “men sana in corpore sano”, to practices I can apply in my life.

Ryan’s book is about stillness. When I read his work, I become still. Nothing changed for this read.

Ryan offers great advice triangulated by the foundation of “Mind, Soul, and Body”. The examples are rich with insight and stories that are deeply fascinating. From John F. Kennedy to Anne Frank to Winston Churchill. I know
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ryan Holiday has become something of an expert on Stoic philosophy, and his previous books have mostly focused on that style of thinking. That's great, but I was pleased to see him branch out a bit more in this book.

In this book, he writes about the need for quiet time and reflection, and how important it is in order to be happy and productive. One thing I really liked about this book was how he also gives examples from other schools of thought on the topic of stillness, such as Buddhism and
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stillness is the Key is the third entry in Ryan Holiday’s Stoic self-help trilogy. Holiday’s message might best be drawn from its conclusion: “My mind is empty. My heart is full. My body is busy.” Although I’m mostly skeptical of self-help books, I like them well enough in small, mostly secular, doses. So how can one achieve such an enviable state of emptiness, fullness, and industriousness? Holiday draws from biographical summaries of powerful people to make his arguments, but I feel this ...more
Dave Reads
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If I had a lot of money, I would buy a copy of Ryan Holiday’s book, “Stillness Is The Key” for everyone I knew. It is that important to read.

Holiday combines the wisdom of long-gone philosophers (Seneca, Epicurus, Aurelius) and applies it today’s generation of politicians, sports heroes and those of us trying to clear a path for a positive life. Holiday invites us to think about our lives and reflect on the three parts of our being (spirit, mind, and body) and how we can use stillness to more
Alejandro I Sanoja
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Ryan Holiday. Anything I say here won't make it justice. If you've been following Ryan's work, just go read it. It's that simple.

This is a book that will help you tune out the noise in the world. Especially valuable nowadays where the wealth of information we have available is creating a poverty of attention.

Flow: 5/5; took me a couple of weeks because I was reading several books at the same time but this could easily be read in a couple of days
Actionability: 5/5; this is
Aaron Mikulsky
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you like this book, and want more, you’ll love The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene (which Ryan referenced in this book). Some insights: The key to a happy life and top performance is stillness; the Word; the Way - the dao and the logos. Stillness inspires new ideas, sharpens perspective and illuminates connections; it generates vision, helps us resist the passions of the mob, makes space for gratitude and wonder. Stillness allows us to persevere, to unlock the insights of genius and to ...more
Timothy Federwitz
Good advice and great reminders

Like many self-help books, most of the message is not earth shattering. However, I truly believe what one gets out of a book like this is based on how they approach it. Many people looking for a step-by-step instruction manual will be disappointed. Others, who have read similar messaging, will say that this book doesn’t go deep enough or is too scattered. I personally felt that the content was very good and just enough to make me want to read many of the books Ryan
Brandon Frandsen
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know much about the book but I liked the author's other book Trust Me I'm Lying and although this book wasn't anything like that book I found it to be a quick and easy read densely packed with some great timeless wisdom. It has a similar DNA to Malcolm Gladwell's writing. It's a book on stoicism and I'm not usually into the philosophy genre but this book draws from several genres in very interested in like: psychology, athletics, education, business and spirituality that it really ...more
Franco Prontera
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ryan Holiday's last work of the triology is really his magnus opus. Having read all of his books and a bit scared in the beginning whether or not this new book would be very 'new' it did not disappoint. The parts he divides the book in, mind - soul - body, in combination with his usual style of gueing it together with anekdotes, makes the book a very enjoyable read yet a big source of wisdom. Whether or not you've read the first two of this triology, I recommende this book to everyone in search ...more
Luis Barragan
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First time I read a book from Ryan Holiday, so I had no expectations for this one. I wasn't expecting something revolutionary as the stillness and mindfulness topics have been covered by a lot of authors before Ryan, but what I found is an easy to read, well structured book, which takes learnings from multiple areas to deliver a pragmatic message to live a good life. I definitely wasn't looking for a dogmatic view of life where you must be pure stoic/epicurean/buddhist to be correct. Hence I ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Title, content and idea meshes together brilliantly, one of my favorite books in 2019 and I think one of the most masterful books by Ryan Holiday.

Create time for your stillness.
"Chop wood, carry water."

Love your fate.
"Chop wood, carry water."

You are in a right place right now.
"Chop wood, carry water."

Work to give, not for the reward.
"Chop wood, carry water."

Philosophy of stoicism and how Ryan Holiday communicates it, resonates deeply in with me. I gladly enjoyed that this book had quite a bit
Joel Gotsch
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The three stars are for the first halve of the book, because after that it gets shallow. Build a routine. Go to sleep. Enough. Maybe it's because I already know the importance of sleep, but there was nothing in it to change a bad habit, no research, no tips and tricks.
Everything is based on (interesting) stories about famous people. But this of course is far away from a statistical study. He doesn't look at people who walk a lot and are not successful.
Seth Davis
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan and went to meet Ryan at his book signing in LA. I enjoyed it at a five-star level, but I've read every one of his other books and enjoyed spending time in the material. The book is on target for a philosophical look at how to live your life in balance. Anyone could benefit from spending the time to go through this.

I see more an more shades of his mentor, Robert Greene, in these books. However, after reading Ryan's books, I come away happier and more content. Whereas for Robert's
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While reading this book I've found a few things that made me disagree with Ryan Holiday for the first time but he thanked his donkeys and goats in the acknowledgements section, so I couldn't give this book anything less than 5 stars. It's a great and much needed read for the society that is always overworked, focused on productivity and achievement, and always stressed out.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first Ryan Holiday book and really enjoyed it. The book is not about how to be more still by giving me instructions but it gave me directions to think, about why I feel anxious, why I still feel hollow inside even on days that I try hard to fill with activities, why being the best in a field doesn’t necessarily mean a peaceful life.
Peter Wolfley
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stillness is the key, indeed. A fantastic collection of different schools of thought on the increasingly important concept of stillness. Planning on adding this one to the personal library for frequent reference and deeper study.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: well-being
Another compelling book from one of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday. A book about why Stillness is an essential component of happiness, peak performance and deep fulfillment in whatever domain of life.
Nicholas Brakefield
One of the best books on wisdom ever

This is a must read for any human being looking for wisdom and how to pursue the greatest gifts in life.
Nate Dykstra
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A life altering read.
Alexander Rivas
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
I'm a big fan of this author and I need to say that because there is a big bias in this review. I have grown to adapt a lot of what Ryan preaches, which is based on the stoic philosophy, to my life and have found that it is one the best approaches to having a better life. Now I have to say as well that I am one that loves solitude and this book just reinforces my desire to spend more time in solitude, which some can argue that can to a certain extent, not be healthy. But after reading Susan ...more
Samantha Van Blerkom
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this book. I'll officially read just about anything Ryan Holiday writes.
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Shine Book Club: Stillness Is the Key 1 1 Dec 04, 2019 08:41PM  

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Ryan Holiday is media strategist for notorious clients like Tucker Max and Dov Charney. After dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under the strategist Robert Greene, he went on to advise many bestselling authors and multi-platinum musicians. He is the Director of Marketing at American Apparel, where his work in advertising was internationally known. His strategies are used as case studies ...more
“This is what the best journals look like. They aren’t for the reader. They are for the writer. To slow the mind down. To wage peace with oneself.” 6 likes
“Most of us would be seized with fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls. —EPICTETUS” 3 likes
More quotes…