Stillness Is the Key Summary – Ryan Holiday’s Best Book?

Stillness Is the Key is a must-read for wired-minded people like mine. Minds like us never stop; it always stays in the running mood and will never stop until it proves their worth. This mentality has been profusely elaborated in Ryan Holiday’s book, Stillness Is the Key.

The first thing is what is the key to stillness? The author describes this as the power that tames the temper of our mind, it calms the war between who we aspire to be and the work we have to do to achieve that goal.

Stillness Is the Key - Ryan Holiday book

This is not typically the debate between the good and the bad, this is the war between our values and ambitions. In here, stillness lets us step outside and breathe keeping aside the internal war we face every day. Let’s know more about Stillness Is the Key book summary.

Stillness Is the Key Summary

In Stillness Is The Key, Ryan Holiday argues that downshifting the activities and life should be in tight grasp and there should be stillness to everything. He further proves this theory of various perspectives based on ancient wisdom and others that are modern.

All of this is intended towards the stillness and the path required for this. Once it is achieved, happiness, enlightenment, and excellence will follow automatically. Readers of this book will be highly encouraged by the deepness of the author’s methods and they will be satisfied to know that the ways are within the grasp of everyone.

Holiday acknowledges that this coveted and rare calm is already inside of everyone, but it has become old and worn down by the strenuous lives and various distractions. It’s important to recognize the goals required for better personal discipline and to give a better ground the author followed the influences of John F. Kennedy. Then he took inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci, Fred Rogers, Tiger Woods, Buddha, and other intelligent thinkers, scholars, and idealistic texts.

These instances describe how people have evolved past the cacophony of modern lives and stepped into the solitude of positive and productive thoughts. The author splits empowering, accessible narratives into three sections such as soul, body, and the timeless trinity of the mind. He elaborated on the state of the human body, the heart, and the head.

Best ideas from Stillness Is the Key summarized

While reading the book, you have to decide what you need and want from your life. Then, analyze the inputs. You must avoid mindlessly watching news channels, and go through social media. You can try reading Twitter, but ensure that you are reading quotes from the people you respect.

You can watch the news but follow the shows that have a scheduled time. You must say yes to the things you care about. Side by side, you also have to learn to say no, so you can build a life that will be purposeful. Time is a valuable thing, this is also your life and this is your flesh and blood. It’s impossible to get time back.

Before you look for the resources, you need to ask yourself things like,

Do I need it?

  • Why does it matter?
  • If I did this, will I look back at the future and be happy?
  • What are the hidden costs?
  • Do I want it?

When you say no to one thing, it will become yes for some other things. It can always be a yes when you care about a thing and no are similar to that. It’s important to know when to say no and yes in life. Let’s talk about the three main ideas from Stillness is the key.

Tame the tiger in yourself

Many of us have a dangerous beast living inside, and this beast has some pent-up aggression and closeted emotions that tear us open from time to time. The calmness of mind allows us to see the larger picture, to feel the rage without becoming an angry personality. This allows us to tone down the anger and take the best action.

Have a good sleep schedule

If you are not sleeping well enough, then you are abusing yourself. Sleep is one of the best parameters of healthy habits; it helps everything from the mind to the immune system and your muscles. Working hard and exercising are positive stress points on the body and only you can give your system a rest through good sleep schedules. Sleep will let you recharge your body just like the batteries.

When you skip sleeping it will not be regarded as a brave thing, and it will not make you more dedicated or stronger in life. It will simply make you lack foresight. Not enough sleep or lack of it will make you think of the negative things repeatedly, you will start to crave sugar-induced drinks, caffeine and it will lead to a serious sickness.

You have to understand that sleep has been woven into our livelihood for a great reason, thus you need to take care of it diligently. Here, stillness is the key and this will help you cease the self-sabotaging actions. It will assist you to make mature and informed decisions.

Escapism versus leisure

The author of this book will not tell you to watch Netflix, sleep for a long time and eat chocolate. He is saying to become intentional with your decisions and actions so you can note if you are doing this to achieve leisure moments or to escape from something.

You have to about your motivation behind your actions. You need to decide what you like as a treat, the have that platter. Try not to watch TV shows or movies mindlessly. Schedule some time to spend some time with your family, but without skipping work. You have to keep in mind that playing games with family are leisure so is savoring a treat you like.

If you snooze your way through exercise, it will be escapism. Binging shows mindlessly will be the same. This snooze-hitting and binge-watching you will not build the future self that you will be proud of. This is the person who is soothing their inner emotion watching the continuous shows. The snooze button is for the groggy future self. With the help of stillness, you can keep track of your emotions and choose the actions that you will not regret in the future.

On the other hand, escapism comes from restlessness and despair. You will not be able to run away from the choices you made; you can only manage them by making a better selection in life. You can’t run from the things that are in your mind, you can’t escape despair. The main thing here, it’s impossible to run away from yourself. You must respect your choices and face your decisions.

Who should read vs. who shouldn’t read this book?

If you are doubtful of your intentions and actions in life then this is the book for you. If you are doing things mindlessly with no apparent destination in mind, then you need the stillness of mind. Make sure this book guides you through the path of ambition and self values. You have to weigh things as you go, and pay attention to your daily reactions to things. Once you have achieved the stillness you will be able to make better choices and you will not regret them in the future.

This is not the book for the ones who are not ready to accept the stillness of life. This book will not be useful for those who have made work and impulsive things their life. If you doubt this book will not guide you through anything special, then it’s not the read for you.

Review of the book

This is the book that will teach you how to achieve stillness in life and what you will gain once you get it. If I am honest, this book has helped me think of my actions twice and guided me to overcome mindlessness to a huge level. The concept is simple, and it will only tell you about the easiest things in life. This is a cure for busy people like us who don’t have time to think or reflect then let alone enjoy some time with ourselves.

I have also found some negative traits in this book like the cliché self-help ideas, short biographies of famous people, repeating the things twenty times. However, it’s still a great book and anyone can learn so much from it.

Should I read the complete book?

I enjoyed reading this book and finished it in a day. The book is divided into three parts body, spirit, and mind. You will get chapters like build a routine, say no, conquer your anger, choose virtue, limit your inputs, become present, and more. Although, this is not a book based on stoicism a lot of people will get benefits from reading this book.

Marilyn Nissen
Written by Marilyn Nissen

Marilyn Nissen is the founder of, a highly reputable book summary and reviews website. With over a decade of experience in summarizing and reviewing books, Marilyn is a trusted authority in the book industry.