Sometimes the right book comes along at the right time. I want to introduce you to Ryan Holiday’s new book, Stillness is the Key. This is the fifth book that I have read by Holiday; I really enjoy how he thinks and it’s clear he is very intelligent. But I think what I like most about his writing is that it’s easily digestible for a simpleton like me. Two of his other books that I really enjoyed were The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy. As a skillful marketer and an incredible writer, Holiday does a masterful job of titling his books.
I consider myself an extreme pragmatist. I like being busy. However, that often means I am floating from one task to the next without really slowing down to enjoy the journey or take in the moment. In Stillness is the Key, Holiday does an amazing job of leveraging modern history, ancient philosophy, stoicism, and eastern/western religious thought to show the benefits of “being still” and why it is important to us as human beings. He also chooses his words wisely. This is NOT a book on meditation or the power of the mind; rather, it is a book on leveraging the power of the mind, body, and spirit to live one’s best and most fulfilled life by operating from a place of stillness.
My book review in two sentences:
This book is a solid reminder about what is important in life and it serves up a lot of examples to prove out its thesis. The author is not preachy as he nudges you along while explaining the importance of stillness in your body, spirit, and mind.
Three Action Thursday Takeaways:
Since the book breaks stillness down into three categories, it seems logical for me to provide a takeaway from each:
Body – Exercise more! Ok, that’s not what he said in the book. However, Holiday does suggest taking walks, finding a physical hobby, and of course sleeping more.
“Movement is the foundation of stillness”
Spirit – Go find Jesus! Ok, Holiday doesn’t say that either, but he does say that the belief in a higher being allows humans to operate in a place of stillness and gives them a higher purpose.
“It’s not that we need to believe that God is great, only that God is greater than us.”
Mind – Take psychedelics! Actually, Holiday is on record NOT to do that. But he reminds us to love the process, quiet your mind, be present, and limit inputs. Can you be quiet on your own without being bored or lonely?
“…the mind is an important and sacred place. Keep it clean and clear.”
Life Changing “Aha Moment”:
Holiday ends the book with “Death brings an end to everything…”. It’s a permanent earthly stillness. Death is not an event; instead, each day has a bit of death in it. From the instant we began existing, life has just been an elongated death process. That kind of blew my mind. I have never thought of it that way before.
This book definitely inspired me to change some of my behaviors. I needed this book to remind me to cherish moments and love the process – two things I have not really been doing lately.