The Art of Stillness

The Art of Stillness

Adventures in Going Nowhere

Book - 2014
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"A follow up to Pico Iyer's essay 'The Joy of Quiet, ' The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counterintuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug. Why would a man who seems able to go everywhere and do anything--like the international heartthrob and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen--choose to spend years sitting still and going nowhere? What can Nowhere offer that no Anywhere can match? And why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room and getting to know the seasons and landscapes of Nowhere might be the ultimate adventure? In The Art of Stillness, Iyer draws on the lives of well-known wanderer-monks like Cohen--as well as from his own experiences as a travel writer who chooses to spend most of his time in rural Japan--to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. Iyer reflects that this is perhaps the reason why many people--even those with no religious commitment--seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or tai chi. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. There is even a growing trend toward observing an 'Internet sabbath' every week, turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning and reviving those ancient customs known as family meals and conversation. In this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps staying in one place is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before. The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many have found richness in stillness and what--from Marcel Proust to Blaise Pascal to Phillipe Starck--they've gained there."--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : TED Books/Simon & Schuster, [2014]
Edition: First TED Books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476784724
Branch Call Number: 204.3 IYER
Characteristics: 74 pages : color illustrations ; 19 cm
Additional Contributors: Eydis Einarsdóttir


From Library Staff

Why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room might be the ultimate adventure? Because in our madly accelerating world, our lives are crowded, chaotic and noisy. There’s never been a greater ... Read More »

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Jul 23, 2018

"The Art of Stillness"" by Pico Iyer is a TED book. A TED book is defined as a book long enough to explore a powerful idea but short enough to read in a single setting.Iyer's book is exactly that. I not only finished the book in one sitting but also wanted more.Following the lives of French scientist turned monk, Matthieu Ricard and Leonard Cohen, Iyer makes a strong case for meditation, stillness and going nowhere. The book was full of good advice but my favorite was, "Don't just do something, sit there."(Yes, without and exclamation point.)This is a book to own, read, and reread. The photographs at the end of each chapter are just astounding.

May 13, 2018

A slight book. Interesting ideas.

Aug 28, 2016

Based on the TED talk- a beautiful and simply written book about the fullness of stillness. Full of wisdom on being present in your current life, letting go of anxieties and stressors, and learning to be comfortable with being still.

Oct 18, 2015

This small book is an homage to stillness – to the value of stepping outside the hustle and hassle of daily life to stay, in silence, where you are. A respite of doing nothing and going nowhere clears the mind and clarifies values, improving the quality of the rest of life.

I saw Mr. Iyer’s TED Talk of the same name a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is interesting, is well written and makes its point well but somehow doesn’t live up to the expectation created by the TED Talk. Somehow, the brevity and conciseness of the 15-minute talk, delivered in Mr. Iyer’s soft voice, gentle English accent and relaxed manner, makes the point most effectively.

The lessons taught by both the talk and the book are highly relevant in today’s complex and hectic world.

WVMLlibrarianLynn Jun 09, 2015

As a travel writer, Pico Iyer lives a nomadic life. Despite all the joy he gets from being in the world, he discovers that disconnecting and being still is ultimately more rewarding.

lasmith55 Dec 20, 2014

This very small book, with only 74 pages, offers positive insights to living well in society's relentless technological pursuits.


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