The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico IyerThe Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere by Pico Iyersticker-burst

The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

byPico Iyer

Hardcover | November 4, 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 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 need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.

In The Art of Stillness—a TED Books release—Iyer investigate the lives of people who have made a life seeking stillness: from Matthieu Ricard, a Frenchman with a PhD in molecular biology who left a promising scientific career to become a Tibetan monk, to revered singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who traded the pleasures of the senses for several years of living the near-silent life of meditation as a Zen monk. Iyer also draws on his own experiences as a travel writer to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. He 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 seeking silent retreats. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. Growing trends like observing an “Internet Sabbath”—turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning—highlight how increasingly desperate many of us are to unplug and bring stillness into our lives.

The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many—from Marcel Proust to Mahatma Gandhi to Emily Dickinson—have found richness in stillness. Ultimately, Iyer shows that, 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.

In 2013, Pico Iyer gave a blockbuster TED Talk. This lyrical and inspiring book expands on a new idea, offering a way forward for all those feeling affected by the frenetic pace of our modern world.

Heather's Review

We are always moving forward. We rush to hundreds of little destinations every day, drive our cars and get enraged by traffic, and constantly push our careers to the next promotion. We can't look at where we are, or even who we are, because our eyes are always on the finish line, and when we get there we don't rest, because suddenly ...

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Pico Iyer was born in Oxford, England to Indian parents, who immigrated to California in 1957. He received a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University and a second masters degree from Harvard University. From 1982 to 1985, he was a writer for Time magazine. Following a leave of absence to visit Asia, Iyer wrote Video Nights in Katmandu: And...
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Title:The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going NowhereFormat:HardcoverDimensions:96 pages, 7 × 5 × 0.5 inPublished:November 4, 2014Publisher:Simon & Schuster/ TEDLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476784728

ISBN - 13:9781476784724

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this book! This book is a great gift to anyone, even yourself. It is a simple read, poetic, insightful read with beautiful imagery.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Meh I was so excited about this book, however it was a let down. I felt like the author was going on and on more often about how he takes such wonderful adventures because of his line of work than actually talking about being still.
Date published: 2016-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Let a little "nowhere" into your life! We are always moving forward. We rush to hundreds of little destinations every day, drive our cars and get enraged by traffic, and constantly push our careers to the next promotion. We can't look at where we are, or even who we are, because our eyes are always on the finish line, and when we get there we don't rest, because suddenly there's a new finish line on the horizon. It's not healthy, and we know it's not healthy, but sometimes when you're on a treadmill it's difficult to see how to get off. And then The Art of Stillness arrives. Like a moment of silence after you exhale, travel writer Pico Iyer's book – part philosophy, part encouragement, part poetry – doesn't just advocate for tranquility, it delivers. Iyer draws on the writings of Emily Dickinson, the wisdom of Leonard Cohen, and the life of Gandhi to remind us what we already instinctively know, that taking a pause can be an adventure in itself. The full title is The Art of Stillness, Adventures in Going Nowhere, and Iyer takes his time guiding us through what “nowhere” really means. Nowhere recharges our emotional and creative batteries, allows us to reflect on our lives and make better decisions, and even makes us physically healthier. Instead of vacations that are increasingly competitive, with friends trying to outdo friends with exotic destinations and extreme selfies, Iyer argues that if we take a vacation to nowhere, whether it's a week long retreat or a half hour meditation, we might just find our selves in the stillness. The Art of Stillness might be a book that simply helps you relax, or it might be a book that profoundly changes how you live. Either way, I guarantee that letting a little “nowhere” into your life is a wonderful thing.
Date published: 2015-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT LOVED THE BOOK SO MUCH
Date published: 2015-09-23

Editorial Reviews

“[A] beautiful little book. . . fills an important niche. . . Iyer wants to make the conscious practice of stillness palatable to everyone.”