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The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere (TED Books) Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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“[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
Top Customer Reviews
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!
I thought that perhaps some of the discussion of how to adjust to and take advantage of such solitude would be applicable to me, a more ordinary person who does not travel a lot but who still feels frequently caught up in frantic activity and movement (although not travel). However, I had to laugh aloud when I read about eating breakfast outdoors and listening to bird song in some far-away remote spot: without paying to go somewhere to a retreat or hotel, I can't be outdoors in the morning without being overpowered by gas fumes from rush hours traffic and the sounds of other people's music.
Rather than addressing people who are already fortunate and in the position to make choices, it would be nice if Pico Iyer, an author I usually admire and enjoy reading, had offered some suggestions from those of us who live in major cities (i.e. the majority of the population) and don't have money to pursue "stillness" in the particularly expensive form he recommends here (i.e. the majority of the population).Read more ›
But this couldn't be the case as the book had promised to take me somewhere or increase my knowledge. From what I've read about the author, I'd anticipated getting much more. If the book isn't the problem, then the problem rested with me. Sitting totally still, the realization came to me I must change; I didn't have to change anything about myself, I had to change the way I'd approached in reading this.
Laying on my bed in total silence, not a sound being able to distract my thoughts, and my mind a blank I began reading the book anew. This time the author's thoughts and ideas became clear, and I began to understand his message.
"The Art of Stillness" is a wonderful way to escape reality and to take someone to places they've never been to physically. And if your mind is allowed to take a trip to nowhere you'll actually wind up in a place where your mind is allowed to wander aimlessly; and once it comes back, you'll find yourself refreshed and feeling like someone new.
Mr. Pico writing I feel talks to you in a very subtle manner, a manner in which you'll learn a lot about things and yourself. I can't see giving this book anything but 5 STARS.
I received a hardcover copy of this book in a giveaway on GoodReads.com and this review has been my honest opinion.
Robin Leigh Morgan is the author of "I Kissed a Ghost," a MG/YA Paranormal romance novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book offered an interesting perspective on the world. As we're constantly surrounded by distractions such as phones, TVs and computers, Pico Iyer tells us how it is important... Read morePublished 18 days ago by karatekick2627
While Beyond Belief is not about one particular belief, I found it was a thoughtful exploration about believing - not in doctrines - but in the world we live in. Read morePublished 2 months ago by laine langridge
It's a very short book, which I really liked since the topic is on stillness. To the point and effective.Published 4 months ago by Heather Ann DeVoe
Its been years since I've actually thrown a book out. The book really had not point. I can only hope that this traveling writer writes better than this book.Published 4 months ago by IsaccSabatelli