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Stillness is the Key

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,926 ratings  ·  193 reviews
In the third book in the trilogy that includes The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, bestselling author Ryan Holiday draws on ancient Stoic and Buddhist wisdom to show why slowing down is essential to getting ahead.

Throughout history, there's been one indelible quality that great leaders, thinkers, artists, and visionaries have shared. It enables them to conquer their
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Portfolio
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Ryan Boissonneault
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 ...more
João Fernandes
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
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
Nicholas Mills Mills
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 c
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
Sebastian Gebski
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 (unle
Tony Creech
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
Anthony D'Apolito III
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
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
Dave Reads
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 stillnes
Aaron Mikulsky
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Seth Davis
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nicholas Brakefield
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alexander Rivas
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Cain ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book. Read it again when you're finished.
Nancy Creighton
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the first of Ryan's books I listened to. I jumped right in and starting making changes to my daily based on the principles in the book. Great storyteller!
Ken MacClune
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
I am using Goodread's star meanings - the book, it was OK.
There were certainly some points of reflection and insight that made it worthwhile to have read the book. Having read "Ego is the Enemy" and "The Obstacle is the Way" I was somehow left with the sense that I've heard this all before. Perhaps it was style, perhaps it was content... Hell, perhaps it's where my heads at, but I did not find the book the inspiration I found the others. Nonetheless, it was OK.
Chris Hansen
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s just too loud everywhere.

Holiday delivers again. As a follow up to “The Obstacle is the Way” he shows that Stoicism has much in common with the great Eastern and Western philosophies in that followers should seek a stillness, a silence, within themselves. With modern examples of classical philosophy he makes these tenets more understandable. Holiday reminds us to take breaks, spike a nap here and there, and limit the interruptions.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ryan has a 'no nonsense' way of titling his books. True to form, the main idea behind the book is as the title states i.e "Stillness Is The Key".

He makes a very solid argument for slowing down in a world that is ever speeding up. Early in the book, Ryan brings up the point that ALL the known religions have some element of stillness as a foundation. I've looked at prayer and meditation as the same thing.

One criticism in other reviews is around his argument that we "need to submit to a higher po
Ivan Kreimer
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
The moment I saw Ryan Holiday was to publish a new book I was excited. I love Holiday's writing style as much as the topics he writes about.

His latest book is supposedly the closure for his trilogy on stoicism, which started with The Obstacle Is the Way and The Ego Is the Enemy. Sadly, Stillness Is the Key didn't meet my expectations.

Most of the advice given was profound and beautifully written but without any depth. Most of it didn't stick with me, unlike his previous wo
Jakub Ferencik
In Ryan Holiday's new book, Stillness is the Key (2019), Holiday reminds us of the importance of quiet, the futility of overworking, the absence of self-care in our lives, the high expectations we set for ourselves, the vacuous pursuit of material possessions. He instead points us towards stillness, (reasonable) discipline, & an appreciation for the mundane.

About the book: I have not really noticed this before but I think - despite the beautiful concise prose - that Holiday tends to romanti
I’ve read Ryan Holiday’s “Ego Is the Enemy” before, and he made a lot of hard-hitting points that made me think. So I was really looking forward to this book ever since I saw him announce it in his newsletter, especially because it’s about stillness, which is a topic I’ve been drawn to lately.

Unfortunately, after reading the first two parts, I wasn’t as impressed as I expected to be. Part of it might be due to the fact that prior to this book, I’ve read two books this year with similar themes—“
Alejandro I Sanoja
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
Lindsay Hickman
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been looking forward to reading this book for months! I have to say it did not disappoint. If you haven't read Holiday before he is an excellent author with challenging and thoughtful prose regarding life today being woven with historical biographical stories from both the East and West. This particular book is about the premise that we has a society are overloaded, overfed with information, schedules, stimulations, and loneliness like never before in history.
The book is sectioned into thr
Ximena FT
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jed Herne
4.5/5. I'm a big fan of Holiday, and this book about the importance of stillness within a busy modern world was a fantastic read. Stillness can be a solitary walk along a beach, meditating, or playing sport - anything where you are completely immersed in meaningful moments without distraction.

At first, the short bite-sized chapters annoyed me a bit (because it felt very 'blog-post-y'). However, by the end of the book I realized they were perfect. In particular, they'll make it easy to re-read p
Dawn Lennon
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
We live in a world, it seems, that has no off button. As we look around, we see people struggling to keep up, fend off, or detangle the elements that obstruct our desires to live a better, more satisfying life. The paradox is that so many want to feel an inner stillness but can't seem to tap into it. The reason, as Ryan Holiday explains in this extraordinary book, is that stillness is a multi-faceted result that comes from how we manage our minds, our spirits and our bodies.

There are
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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.” 4 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…