Lessons From Ryan Holiday’s Book “Stillness is the Key”

Especially helpful during these uncertain times — and full of stories followed by practical advice you can utilize today.

Tim Denning
Mind Cafe
Published in
14 min readApr 9, 2020


Image Credit: mattlange.net

I started reading Ryan Holiday’s latest book “Stillness Is The Key” right before the world transitioned into temporary darkness caused by a pandemic.

It’s funny how the book that changes your life often comes to you, accidentally, at exactly the right time. Before you fall asleep, let me say this is not a book about meditation or one based solely on ancient stoic wisdom.

The secret to this book is stories — and not just any stories. You can tell after reading it that Ryan has painstakingly searched all over the internet and through endless books to curate the short list of stories he shares.

Many of these stories related to stillness are not ones you would have heard before. He doesn’t take the lazy approach and retell the same Abraham Lincoln stories everybody else has already shared, over and over.

The brilliance of this book is the highly-edited stories Ryan tells and the simple lessons he shares with the reader after each story. During uncertain times, this book is a must-read.

Stillness will help you master these five practices that are essential to dealing with the current state of the world:

  1. Cultivate quietness
  2. Suppress the turmoil inside
  3. Slow the mind down
  4. Understand your emotions
  5. Conquer your body

These are the key lessons you can take away from the book.

Take Up Voiceless Hobbies

In Ryan’s book, he references a man named Randall Stutman. Randall took the time to understand what high-profile leaders did in their spare time. Their activities included:

  • Listening to classical music
  • Riding bikes
  • Scuba diving
  • Fly fishing

What became abundantly clear was that all the activities that came up were absent of human voices. Without human voices, they could hear…



Tim Denning
Mind Cafe

Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship — timdenning.com/mb