The Art of Stillness

The Art of Stillness

Adventures in Going Nowhere

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : TED Books/Simon & Schuster, [2014]
Edition: First TED Books hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ♭2014
ISBN: 9781476784724
Characteristics: 74 pages :,color illustrations ;,19 cm.
Additional Contributors: Einarsdóttir, Eydis


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

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.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top