- Series: TED Books
- Hardcover: 96 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/ TED; 1st. edition (November 4, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476784728
- ISBN-13: 978-1476784724
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 228 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books) Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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"This book isn't a meditation guide or a New-Age tract but rather a celebration of the age-old practice of sitting with no goal in mind and no destination in sight.... Rather than reading it quickly and filing it, readers will likely slow down to meet its pace and might continue carrying it around as a reminder." (Kirkus (starred))
“[A] cool drink of water, in book form” (People)
“[A] wonderful read in its entirety.” (Brain Pickings)
"A bustling paean to the stationary life . . . Iyer’s argument is an engaging amalgam of memoir, reportage, and literary essay . . . Iyer uses a fluid blend of argument and anecdote to make a persuasive and eloquent case that contemplating internal landscapes can be just as rich an experience as traveling through external ones. The fact that he has traveled to some of the world’s most obscure corners only strengthens his credibility as a defender of stillness.” (Boston Globe)
“A heartfelt manifesto to the benefits of ditching the cellphone and snipping up the frequent flier card, The Art of Stillness is anything but a self-help book or how-to guide for achieving inner peace.” (Associated Press)
“In lesser hands this tiny volume might be a throwaway of glib, “new age” comfort-speak, but like Henry David Thoreau’s equally brief classic on another seemingly mundane exercise — walking — Iyer’s thoughtful nature leads him to peel back layer upon layer, nodding toward the infinite…. Plunging effortlessly beneath platitudes, this wafer-thin volume reminds us of what might just be the greatest paradox of travel — after all our road running, after all our flights of fancy to the farthest corners of the globe, after all our touring, our seeking and questing, perhaps, just perhaps, fellow travelers, there really is no place like home.” (New York Times Book Review)
“[A] beautiful little book. . . fills an important niche. . . Iyer wants to make the conscious practice of stillness palatable to everyone.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)
About the Author
Pico Iyer is a British-born essayist and novelist long based in both California and Japan. He is the author of numerous books about crossing cultures, among them Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, and The Global Soul. An essayist for Time since 1986, he also publishes regularly in Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and many other publications across the globe.
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This book is powerful. It is short and simple to read. The idea of stillness makes sense and does not require much thought to process. However, to implement or rather have it be part of your life is challenging. That is the reason so many people need to read the book and think it through about how to adjust life so this is part of the 24 hours.
"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." William James
This quote resonated with me because it really makes stress seem to easy to get rid of. In the end stress does not actually exist unless we choose to allow that thought to permeate our mind.
"Heaven is the place where you think of nowhere else."
Wow! Once again I thought about how many times have I been somewhere, doing something, being engaged but really my mind is elsewhere thinking about this or that? This happens all the time. When I coach my 8th grade basketball team I always tell them that while at practice only think practice because there is nothing else you can actually do so you might as well make the best of it. We need to remind ourselves of this. How do we stay in the moment. When we are at one with the experience of NOW we are happy. Just last night I was at a concert and instead of recording for the future I just let the moment be. This is what I love about live music! Music keeps me in the moment and my brain thinks of nothing else but the lyrics and music. The question becomes how do we do this with the mundane elements of life?
"It is only when you stop moving that you can be moved in some far deeper way"
I am taking December to live this statement. We are so busy as people. We rush from here to there and never really stop and take in the moment. I have a problem with this and am working to make sure 2015 is not the year for movement, but stillness. Decluttering our "busy" lives of the things that we think are essential, but really just keep us from those moments of stillness. We don't always have to be doing something to be productive and often times all the business keeps us from being as productive as we can be.
"The way of contemplation is not even a way and if one follows it, what he finds is nothing." Thomas Merton
This is key for me. This idea cannot be something that I check off my to do list. It cannot be one more thing to do. As John Kabat-Zinn stated on 60 minutes if it becomes one more thing just don't do it. The key is to restructure your life to just having this happen naturally because it is how you live. That is the paradox of reading books like this and trying to live the ideas.
While my husband has tried to teach me how to appreciate silence and slow down for years, it has been hard to rewire my busy over-achieving self to see value and not laziness or time wasted. Not to discredit my husband's efforts, but there is a real magic to Iyer's style of writing that got to me deeply. He is such a gifted writer that his book slows down your reading pace. I feel much more prepared to savor things like the zen poetry of Rengetsu: Life and Poetry of Lotus Moon or the art of calligraphy. While Iyer declines to consider himself a master of stillness, he brings in the stories of those that have inspired him most, like a French scientist who becomes a monk and Leonard Cohen who quieted his musical career to pursue silent meditation as a Zen monk for several years.
If you are interested in slowing down... meditation... and told you just need to sit still and do nothing, this is a perfect book for you. It elevates the practice without exploiting or preaching it. By the end you will realize that this is a topic that this world Needs to hear!
The Book is filled with great characters and quotes. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz offers: “ If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” And the musician Leonard Cohen “ Sitting still as a way of falling in love with the world and everything in it” … And Iyer himself say’s “… talking about stillness is really a way of talking about clarity and sanity and the joys that endure. “
Accompanying this book and as a supplement to it is a Ted Talk , Here is link to Iyer’s 15 minute Ted Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/pico_iyer_the_art_of_stillness?language=en
I heartily recommend feasting on this book about stillness, and unexpected pleasures … and enjoy the advice of a travel writer who provides an invitation to the adventure of going nowhere. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.
I give it 5 Stars… And heartily recommend it as a simple pleasure.