• The Art of Stillness

  • Adventures in Going Nowhere
  • By: Pico Iyer
  • Narrated by: Pico Iyer
  • Length: 1 hr and 20 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (501 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2014 Pico Iyer. All rights reserved. (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Art of Stillness

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

Fine as far as it goes

Basically a long magazine article based on a TED Talk. He’s a fine writer and I liked the book, but he’s just conveying other people’s thoughts on the importance of taking a break from modern busyness. And I wish his anecdotes about Leonard Cohen had more substance. Grade: B

As for the narration, he's also just fine. Soft spoken, could be getter.

2 people found this helpful

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A book everyone should experience

I have listened to this book again and again. I never tire of the very poignant message, or Pico Ayers' words and voice. I recommend it to anyone and everyone for the need to slow down, and be still with oneself is both universal and vital to our health of mind, body, and spirit.

2 people found this helpful

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Nothing Special

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There is nothing unique about this book. There are hundreds of books about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, and presumably if you are buying this you are already aware of those benefits. There is nothing in this that hasn't already been published in hundreds of other books, and no practical advice at all. The only other content in here is basically an album review for Leonard Cohen. Why did I just pay for an album review? Save your money or credits. There's nothing practical in here, just the same old studies about how beneficial mindfulness practice is, and then a huge chunk about how great Leonard Cohen and his new album are.

Has The Art of Stillness turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

What character would you cut from The Art of Stillness?

Leonard Cohen

Any additional comments?

Very Dissapointing

3 people found this helpful

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Staying Still Whilst Listening.

I adored this. 😊 It was like having a relaxing yet stimulating tea session with Pico Iyer.

1 person found this helpful

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Love this book

Enjoy silence. It can be fleeting especially in our world. I love the permission this book gives me to sit still. Especially in a world which wears a frenzied pace like a badge of honor. I recommend this book to patients that suffer from anxiety.

2 people found this helpful

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A must read for personal progress

Pico has such a profound stillness within his voice, his story telling is gripping and to the point. It’s a beautiful book, a must read for ‘self help’, if you want to progress and go beyond the “box.”

Thank you Pico.

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Must read (listen)

For someone looking for more knowledgeable information about the subject.
Short to the point and useful

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Like having a long chat with the author

Let me begin by telling you what this book is not. It's not a guide. It's not a how-to. It won't give you any tips. The author doesn't follow any religion. What it is is simply a long letter to the reader about stillness and the benefits of it. When you're done, you'll feel like you sat next to Pico during a long flight as he filled you in on all his discoveries regarding stillness. It will also leave you thinking of how you too can look for ways to incorporate it into your life.

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Interesting read about stillness

If you want to read a book about how to disconnect and find the balance you’ve always wanted , this is for you . It’s an unusual approach to the subject , not telling you to travel and discover the world and yourself , on the contrary it’s telling you to listen to the voice inside , here and now !

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A must read or listen. As a Mom, a wife and a Professional.

Excellent . Simple, yet powerful. I've traveled the world and am grateful I have. It's nice to learn I can have the same joy and appreciation for life in stillness.

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  • Alev Haddadieh
  • 07-18-18

enjoyable book to read

This was an enjoyable book to read for anyone. there are useful experiences for anyone who is yet to open a new chapter in your life.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. Raj Kumar Banjara
  • 08-30-19

A good to listen travel story

a simple travel story but not as exciting as the title and preview suggest. would have been much better if the author could have gone a bit dipper into looking inside to find joy within inside.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for RHIANNON JENKINS TSANG
  • RHIANNON JENKINS TSANG
  • 02-15-21

quite good

a bit too much on Leonard Cohen and a very American West coast perspective. It was however quite interesting.

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Profile Image for Ann
  • Ann
  • 05-14-17

Great companion in my library garden Thank you

A book to pick up again and again.
Often recommend this to others to enjoy.