Stillness is the Key: An Ancient Strategy for Modern Life
Throughout history, there's been one indelible quality that great leaders, makers, artists and fighters have shared. The Zen Buddhists described it as inner peace, the Stoics called it ataraxia and Ryan Holiday calls it stillness: the ability to be steady, focussed and calm in a constantly busy world.
This quality, valued by every major school of thought from Buddha to Sene...more
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 ...more
Step 1: Describe cliche self-help idea.
Step 2: Tell a short biographical story of someone famous.
Step 3: Connect the story to the idea in step 1; attribute all of the individual's successes and failures to it.
Step 4: Repeat 20 times.
Example (from "The Domain of the Body" section): Get a routine. A routine is good for you. Churchill had a routine, and he was a cool dude. So that's proof that a routine is good.
It gets old real fast.
There are som ...more
Why the low stars? 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 God to be able 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 this book never hooked me enough despite me expecting it to.
Do peopl ...more
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?
Ryan Ho ...more
"Stillness Is the Key" is chock-full of the genre's greatest hits.
Meditation? Good. Consumerism? Bad. Minimalism? Good. Smart phones? Bad. Routines? Good. Ego? Very bad. Journaling? Excellent ...more
It's not that there's anything wrong with the concepts in the book, although they do start to conflict a bit after awhile (he says relationships are important and basically trashes single people, but then has a chapter on solitu ...more
“You have to disconnect in order to better connect with yourself and with the people you serve and love. People don’t have enough silence in their lives because they don’t have enough solitude. And they don’t get enough solitude because they don’t seek out or cultivate silence. It’s a vicious cycle that prevents stillness and reflection, and then stymies good ideas, which are almost always hatched in solitude.” ...more
Ryan's clear and articulate way of zooming in on various key concepts from Stoicism, Buddhism, and other religions or philosophical movements is incredibly helpful. His writing and emphasis on fundamental principles triggers deep introspection and a keen desire to become a better human being.
Through well-chosen, balanced examples he shines a light on both behaviours worthy of our respect and that we should use as cau ...more
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 1st boo ...more
Through my own reading ...more
The central message of the book is everything of stillness which if practised wisely guides the human nature to successful stint. Written very well in the Self ...more
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 ...more
I think I got more from this than I expected, which, for those who know Ryan Holiday will wonder how I grossly underestimated him. He muses on a philosophy that is long forgotten and anew to many of us and expounds on it in a manner no one has done before. A well-renowned stoic himself, Ryan takes on one of the key tenets of stoicism - stillness and brings its relevance in today's world wh ...more
Ryan Holiday goes back in pivotal moments in history and shows when big leaders took a moment for stillness in order to make effective big decisions, like Kennedy with the Cuba missiles threat. Moments of stillness calms down the cacophony in our brains and makes us think clearer, it's just getting to that state that's difficult.
He covers a wide range of practi ...more
“Chop trees, carry water”
This is another fantastic book by Ryan Holiday. I always feel like it is the truth I need to hear when reading Ryan Holiday's books. This book is around how cultivating Stillness can lead to happier, successful and more meaningful life. But it really is about being a good person.
Clear. Calm. Kind. Still.
The mental. The spiritual. The physical.
Packed with ton of examples and research ...more
That said, I still enjoyed re ...more