Throughout history, there's been one indelible quality that great leaders, thinkers, artists, and visionaries have shared. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing.
The Zen Buddhists described it as inner peace, and knew it was essential whether you were a Samurai warrior or a monk. The Stoics and Epicureans called it ataraxia and believed it was a bulwark against the passions of the mob, a requirement of good leadership and a pathway to deep truth. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness--to be steady while the world spins around you.
In this book, he outlines a path for achieving this timeless, but urgently necessary way of living. Drawing on a wide range of history's greatest thinkers, from Confucius to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius to Thich Nhat Hahn, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not merely inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.
To make these ideas concrete, he also shares a wide range of examples from historical and contemporary figures who exemplified the power of stillness: baseball player Sadaharu Oh, whose study of Zen made him the greatest home run hitter of all time; Winston Churchill, who enjoyed the time spent laying bricks at his Chartwell estate as an opportunity to reflect and recharge; Fred Rogers, who taught generations of children to see what was invisible to the eye; Anne Frank, whose journaling and love of nature guided her through unimaginable adversity; and Marina Abramovic, whose performance art tests the limits of human endurance and focus.