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Stillness Is the Key

Narrated by: Ryan Holiday
Length: 6 hrs and 56 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,282 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Instant number one New York Times best seller and Wall Street Journal best seller

In The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, best-selling author Ryan Holiday made ancient wisdom wildly popular with a new generation of leaders in sports, politics, and technology. In his new book, Stillness Is the Key, Holiday draws on timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy to show why slowing down is the secret weapon for those charging ahead.

All great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness - to be steady while the world spins around you. In this audiobook, he outlines a path for achieving this ancient, but urgently necessary way of living. Drawing on a wide range of history's greatest thinkers, from Confucius to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius to Thich Nhat Hanh, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.

Holiday also examines figures who exemplified the power of stillness: baseball player Sadaharu Oh, whose study of Zen made him the greatest home run hitter of all time; Winston Churchill, who in balancing his busy public life with time spent laying bricks and painting at his Chartwell estate managed to save the world from annihilation in the process; Fred Rogers, who taught generations of children to see what was invisible to the eye; Anne Frank, whose journaling and love of nature guided her through unimaginable adversity. More than ever, people are overwhelmed. They face obstacles and egos and competition. Stillness Is the Key offers a simple but inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 news and social media. The stillness that we all seek is the path to meaning, contentment, and excellence in a world that needs more of it than ever. 

©2019 Ryan Holiday (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this age of manufactured outrage and constant distraction, the ability to choose a focused inner stillness is arguably more important than ever before. Ryan Holiday’s book revives ancient wisdom that calls for a quiet life in a noisy and restless world." (Mark Manson, number one best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)

"The next Malcolm Gladwell. Ryan Holiday's just brilliant." (Lance Armstrong)

"Whether you are an athlete, an investor, a writer or an entrepreneur, this little but wise and soulful book will open the door to a healthier, less anxious and more productive life and career." (Arianna Huffington)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A framework for a balanced life.

Ryan Holiday is one of my favorite writers, and same for many of my friends and clients. All entrepreneurs or creators that strive to maximize what they're able to accomplish in our short time on this world. But what's beyond just the maximization of efficiency? What about the maximization of wellbeing? The mental health side of our VC/startup/side hustle culture is often overshadowed or entirely ignored. What if we applied the same strategic thinking that we apply to our work, to our wellbeing? Ryan is asking the questions here that are more valuable than perhaps anything you'll pull off a self help aisle. Because as I've seen time and time again, with my clients and even personally, it doesn't matter how successful you may appear to be socially or financially - no more money or fame can replace the feeling of intentional inner stillness in your life. Until you can hold ownership over your inner world, the anxiety, and stress, you are owned by the outside world. Please Ryan, keep writing and fighting the good fight, you inspire me brother.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Supremely Satisfying Synthesis!

I'm a long time Holiday fan but who cares? Urge your friends to read this one first. WOW. Gentle synthesis of the commonalities of so many philosophies and primary religions. it's as though the spirit of the universe is right here and inside a still river runs deep. Guided by Epictetus, Seneca, Buddha and Aurelius, we see Woods, Merton, Jordan, Cherney, Huffington, Lincoln, Kennedy... Stillness is indeed the key. Yes, I'm excited to write this review, but in so doing my centered, grounded, deliberate sentiments are delivered in gratitude. Quiet. Still.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Good book, bad narration

With very few exceptions, authors should not narrate their own audiobooks. Ryan Holiday is an accomplished author who is interesting to listen to when interviewed, but he is not a professional voiceover. Although I enjoyed the content of this book, listening to Holiday read it with awkward breaks between words and phrases was a challenge that ultimately detracted from my enjoyment.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Wisdom Doesn't Change

For anyone who dislikes history or philosophy, try this book. Its message isn't new, but has been around for 2,000 years. Holiday manages to establish an elegant nexus between the wisdom of the stoics and the challenges of the noisy, frenetic, time in which we live. Stillness is necesary now more than ever.

I prefer listening to the author's voice and not the voice of a narrator. Holiday's cadence is his own; the cadence is lovely and would be lost with someone else reading his words. I hope this is not Holday's last book and that he continues to share with us his insights.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Needs to be read by a professional voice talent

I was excited to get this title, but quickly disappointed. The author, who undoubtedly is talented at writing, decided that he's also a professional voice talent. He is not. The pace and cadence, along with his tone, made it unlistenable. Within a half hour I knew I wouldn't be able to listen to the rest, and returned the title. Will have to get the book and do it the old fashioned way.

37 of 44 people found this review helpful

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so much yes

I've been struggling to find a framework to pull myself out of a rut. As an atheist, a lot of advice or guidance comes from various religious texts, which just don't jive for me. But this book probably gave me exactly what I needed, and a new path of self exploration through study of stoicism and philosophy. well done book and a good narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Very similar to the other books of him

This is not a waist of time you will learn and enjoy it, the only thing is that is somehow repetitive about the stories and teaching of the other books of him (Ego is the enemy and the obstacle is the way)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I can’t handle the narration

Author/narrator’s speaking cadence is annoying and it sounds like he’s wearing a retainer. You have to be in the mood to listen to a long history story after story.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Be still and listen

Fresh off of my first listen and I can attest it’s worth the money and time. I rarely, if ever, listen to an audiobook from start to finish in one day but I could not stop listening to this one. I love how the author weaves interesting historical stories in and out of the teachings in this book. And calls back to them over multiple chapters. It builds the book as a real-life reference to how stillness can/should be used.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Incredibly disappointing

I am extremely disappointed by this latest work of Ryan Holiday, the material is disjointed, his performance seems forced and disingenuous. The “stillness” is a rant against some and a praise of others. It has no continuity and after enjoying his other work, this is felt like a betrayal to his loyal fans. Just a collection of poorly written verbiage bound together in a book to be sold

15 of 20 people found this review helpful