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Download The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, by Pico Iyer Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Pico Iyer Narrator: Pico Iye Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] cool drink of water, in book form.”


  • “In lesser hands this tiny volume might be a throwaway of glib, “new age” comfort-speak, but like Henry David Thoreau’s equally brief classic on another seemingly mundane exercise—walking—Iyer’s thoughtful nature leads him to peel back layer upon layer, nodding toward the infinite…. Plunging effortlessly beneath platitudes, this wafer-thin volume reminds us of what might just be the greatest paradox of travel—after all our road running, after all our flights of fancy to the farthest corners of the globe, after all our touring, our seeking, and questing, perhaps, just perhaps, fellow travelers, there really is no place like home.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A bustling paean to the stationary life…Iyer’s argument is an engaging amalgam of memoir, reportage, and literary essay…Iyer uses a fluid blend of argument and anecdote to make a persuasive and eloquent case that contemplating internal landscapes can be just as rich an experience as traveling through external ones. The fact that he has traveled to some of the world’s most obscure corners only strengthens his credibility as a defender of stillness.”

    Boston Globe

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

    Los Angeles Review of Books

  • “A heartfelt manifesto to the benefits of ditching the cellphone and snipping up the frequent flier card.”

    Associated Press

  • “This book isn’t a meditation guide or a New-Age tract but rather a celebration of the age-old practice of sitting with no goal in mind and no destination in sight…Rather than reading it quickly and filing it, readers will likely slow down to meet its pace and might continue carrying it around as a reminder.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Offering stillness as a way to find clarity, sanity, and the joys that endure, an essayist reads his thoughtful book with spellbinding emotional presence. His cadence and vocal tone sound so connected to the core of his message that it’s hard to imagine any listener not being touched by the experience of hearing him. With soft and spare writing, he makes the point that our schedules and electronic devices allow us no time off, no relief from the external and ephemeral joys of modern life. These are ideas that seem broader than those promoting any religious or psychological approach to living fully. And as a two-hour listening experience, the author’s commitment and immersion in these ideas will move many listeners to consider the stillness he describes.”


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