Stillness Is the Key

[Amazon Link]

I heard good things! Specifically, a 2019 episode of Russ Roberts' Econtalk podcast with the author, Ryan Holiday. It took awhile for the book to become available at Portsmouth Public Library; apparently it's quite popular in that city. And deservedly so.

Apparently (reader alert) it's the third book in a trilogy, so if you're anal about such things, you'll want to read The Obstacle is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy first. But (frankly) you don't need to: the book stands completely well on its own.

I think an alternate title might be Secular Stoic Sermons. There are over thirty short chapters, each containing a little concentrated advice on how to live your life, heavily influenced by Stoic philosophy. But the sermonizing part… it put me in mind of sitting in the pew as a young 'un, listening to the pastor. But don't get me wrong: Holiday is a very good sermonizer. He relies heavily on anecdotes, with examples ancient and modern. There are good examples (Winston Churchill, Mr. Rogers, Marcus Aurelius) and bad (Johnny Cash, Michael Jordan, Dov Charney).

It's all good advice, as near as I can tell. (Get a decent night's sleep; get a hobby; take walks; be virtuous; be brave; …) Maybe a little too self-helpy in my case. I don't want to brag, but a lot of the book describes how to solve problems I don't have.

I do tend to procrastinate. I didn't see any advice on how to deal with that, Ryan.