Stillness is the Key

By Ryan Holiday
Image of the cover of Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. Wesley Donehue's book reviews and recommendations.

“You’re a human being. Not a human doing.”

I’m not rich but I have more than my parents ever did, more than I thought I would ever have. I have an amazing wife and three adorable boys. I live in a house I always thought was beyond a welfare kid’s grasp. I have multiple successful businesses. Most of all, I have stability. I achieved none of these things through handouts, favors, talent, or genius. It all came through extreme hard work. That’s why I tell you my story here. I’m not bragging. I want to be an example because I think, I know, you too are capable of rising from shit.

But now I face a new problem – fear. Anyone who has ever risen from shit to have gained something, anything, has a deep fear of losing it all, falling back into the shit. So the hard work never stops. We throw gasoline on the fire. We go until there is an explosion. We go until we collapse, literally. Until our blood pressure is so high that it’s the hard work itself, what gained it all, that becomes what could lose it all, maybe even life itself.

This book is the antidote. Holiday lays out in detail what happens to our minds, spirits, and bodies when we don’t seek stillness in our lives. He looks at the lives of stoic philosophers, Jesus, Mr. Rogers, Ann Frank, Winston Churchill, and many others to tell us what we can do right. He gives us tactics to avoid the ever-constant interruption of today’s social world. He tells us how to change our lives, something I desperately need to do right now. Be alone, read, sleep, meditate, walk, seek a higher power, find a hobby, and just stop moving.

If you already have a chill mode and you don’t find your blood pressure rising throughout the day, then maybe this book isn’t for you. But if you are like me, this book is exactly what you need at this exact moment.

Lastly, this book is one of a trilogy from Ryan Holiday which includes “The Obstacle Is The Way” and “Ego Is The Enemy.” I adore all three and highly recommend them to you.

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