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In The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, bestselling author Ryan Holiday made ancient wisdom wildly popular with a new generation of leaders in sports, politics, and technology. In his new book, Stillness Is the Key, Holiday draws on timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy to show why slowing down is the secret weapon for those charging ahead.
All great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness–to be steady while the world spins around you.
In this book, he outlines a path for achieving this ancient, 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 Hanh, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus.
Holiday also examines 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 in balancing his busy public life with time spent laying bricks and painting at his Chartwell estate managed to save the world from annihilation in the process; 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.
More than ever, people are overwhelmed. They face obstacles and egos and competition. Stillness Is the Key offers a simple but inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 news and social media. The stillness that we all seek is the path to meaning, contentment, and excellence in a world that needs more of it than ever.
In the tradition of Janet Malcolm’s The Journalist and the Murderer and Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws Of Power, author Ryan Holiday examines the case that rocked the media world—and the billionaire mastermind behind it
In 2007, a short blogpost on Valleywag, the Silicon Valley-vertical of Gawker Media, outed PayPal founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel as gay. Thiel’s sexuality had been known to close friends and family, but he didn’t consider himself a public figure, and believed the information was private.
This post would be the casus belli for a meticulously plotted conspiracy that would end nearly a decade later with a $140 million dollar judgment against Gawker, its bankruptcy and with Nick Denton, Gawker’s CEO and founder, out of a job. Only later would the world learn that Gawker’s demise was not incidental—it had been masterminded by Thiel.
For years, Thiel had searched endlessly for a solution to what he’d come to call the “Gawker Problem.” When an unmarked envelope delivered an illegally recorded sex tape of Hogan with his best friend’s wife, Gawker had seen the chance for millions of pageviews and to say the things that others were afraid to say. So when Gawker published Hogan’s sex tape in an attempt to expose the former WWF star and release his personal business onto websites such as TubeV, Hogan decided that he wasn’t having any of it. Thiel saw their publication of the tape as the opportunity he was looking for. He would come to pit Hogan against Gawker in a multi-year proxy war through the Florida legal system, while Gawker remained confidently convinced they would prevail as they had over so many other lawsuit–until it was too late.
The verdict would stun the world and so would Peter’s ultimate unmasking as the man who had set it all in motion. Why had he done this? How had no one discovered it? What would this mean—for the First Amendment? For privacy? For culture?
In Holiday’s masterful telling of this nearly unbelievable conspiracy, informed by interviews with all the key players, this case transcends the narrative of how one billionaire took down a media empire or the current state of the free press. It’s a study in power, strategy, and one of the most wildly ambitious—and successful—secret plots in recent memory.
Some will cheer Gawker’s destruction and others will lament it, but after reading these pages—and seeing the access the author was given—no one will deny that there is something ruthless and brilliant about Peter Thiel’s shocking attempt to shake up the world.
The Obstacle is the Way has become a cult classic, beloved by men and women around the world who apply its wisdom to become more successful at whatever they do.
Its many fans include a former governor and movie star (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a hip hop icon (LL Cool J), an Irish tennis pro (James McGee), an NBC sportscaster (Michele Tafoya), and the coaches and players of winning teams like the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Cubs, and University of Texas men’s basketball team.
The book draws its inspiration from stoicism, the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience. Stoics focus on the things they can control, let go of everything else, and turn every new obstacle into an opportunity to get better, stronger, tougher. As Marcus Aurelius put it nearly 2000 years ago: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Ryan Holiday shows us how some of the most successful people in history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—have applied stoicism to overcome difficult or even impossible situations. Their embrace of these principles ultimately mattered more than their natural intelligence, talents, or luck.
If you’re feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book can help you turn your problems into your biggest advantages. And along the way it will inspire you with dozens of true stories of the greats from every age and era.
What Others Say
“Follow these precepts and you will revolutionize your life. Read this book!” — Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Gates of Fire
“A book for the bedside of every future—and current—leader in the world.” — Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery
“While the history books are filled with tales of obsessive visionary geniuses who remade the world in their image with sheer, almost irrational force, I’ve found that history is also made by individuals who fought their egos at every turn, who eschewed the spotlight, and who put their higher goals above their desire for recognition.” —from the prologue
Many of us insist the main impediment to a full, successful life is the outside world. In fact, the most common enemy lies within: our ego. Early in our careers, it impedes learning and the cultivation of talent. With success, it can blind us to our faults and sow future problems. In failure, it magnifies each blow and makes recovery more difficult. At every stage, ego holds us back.
Ego Is the Enemy draws on a vast array of stories and examples, from literature to philosophy to history. We meet fascinating figures such as George Marshall, Jackie Robinson, Katharine Graham, Bill Belichick, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who all reached the highest levels of power and success by conquering their own egos. Their strategies and tactics can be ours as well.
In an era that glorifies social media, reality TV, and other forms of shameless self-promotion, the battle against ego must be fought on many fronts. Armed with the lessons in this book, as Holiday writes, “you will be less invested in the story you tell about your own specialness, and as a result, you will be liberated to accomplish the world-changing work you’ve set out to achieve.”
What Others Say
“It’s rare that I finish a book then immediately reread it, this time with a yellow marker in hand…I can’t recommend this book highly enough.” — Kevin Rose, entrepreneur and technology investor
“I see the toxic vanity of ego at play every day and it never ceases to amaze me how often it wrecks promising creative endeavors. Read this book before it wrecks you or the projects and people you love. Consider it as urgently as you do a proper workout regimen and eating right. Ryan’s insights are priceless.” — Marc Ecko, founder of Ecko Unltd and Complex
Why have history’s greatest minds—from George Washington to Frederick the Great to Ralph Waldo Emerson, along with today’s top performers from Super Bowl-winning football coaches to CEOs and celebrities—embraced the wisdom of the ancient Stoics? Because they realize that the most valuable wisdom is timeless and that philosophy is for living a better life, not a classroom exercise.
The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year you’ll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations, as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms.
By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come) you’ll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well.
P.S. You are also invited to sign up for the free Daily Stoic 7-day introduction course to Stoicism—from resources to the best exercises, we have you covered.
What Others Say
“A generous gift of guidance on modern living culled from a canon of wisdom hatched long ago.” — Maria Popova, editor of Brain Pickings
“A richly rewarding spring of practical wisdom to help you focus on what’s in your control, eliminate false and limiting beliefs, and take more effective action. Make The Daily Stoic your guide and you will grow in clarity, effectiveness, and serenity each day!” — Jack Canfield, co-author of The Success Principles™ and the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series
The book that Inc. says “every entrepreneur should read” and an FT Book of the Month selection…
How did the movie The Shawshank Redemption fail at the box office but go on to gross more than $100 million as a cult classic? How did The 48 Laws of Power miss the bestseller lists for more than a decade and still sell more than a million copies? How is Iron Maiden still filling stadiums worldwide without radio or TV exposure forty years after the band was founded? Bestselling author and marketer Ryan Holiday calls such works and artists perennial sellers. How do they endure and thrive while most books, movies, songs, video games, and pieces of art disappear quickly after initial success? How can we create and market creative works that achieve longevity? Holiday explores this mystery by drawing on his extensive experience working with businesses and creators such as Google, American Apparel, and the author John Grisham, as well as his interviews with the minds behind some of the greatest perennial sellers of our time.
What Others Say
“I said this about Ryan Holiday’s last book, but I’ll say this now about this book. This is his best book. This will be a perennial seller. Everything in here is so true and it is a guide to creativity in the real world.” —James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself
“Ryan Holiday is more than a marketing genius—he is an extraordinary thinker whose instincts deliver him deep into the human condition. I’ve been lucky to work with Ryan, and his goal is unwavering—to help creators make work that lasts. Perennial Seller is the perfect distillation of his ideas, and that rarest of gifts—a road map to success and an insight into life.” —Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers
You’ve seen it all before. A malicious online rumor costs a company millions. A political sideshow derails the national news cycle and destroys a candidate. Some product or celebrity zooms from total obscurity to viral sensation. What you don’t know is that someone is responsible for all this. Usually, someone like me.
I’m a media manipulator. In a world where blogs control and distort the news, my job is to control blogs—as much as any one person can.
In today’s culture…
1) Blogs like Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post drive the media agenda.
2) Bloggers are slaves to money, technology, and deadlines.
3) Manipulators wield these levers to shape everything you read, see and watch-online and off.
Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it. I’m pulling back the curtain because I don’t want anyone else to get blindsided.
I’m going to explain exactly how the media really works. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.
What Others Say
“Holiday is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results…this whiz kid is the secret weapon you’ve never heard of.” — Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek
“Ryan Holiday’s brilliant expose of the unreality of the Internet should be required reading for every thinker in America.” — Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Big Picture
A new generation of megabrands like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and Twitter haven’t spent a dime on traditional marketing. No press releases, no TV commercials, no billboards. Instead, they rely on a new strategy—growth hacking—to reach many more people despite modest marketing budgets. Growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with tools that are testable, trackable, and scalable. They believe that products and businesses should be modified repeatedly until they’re primed to generate explosive reactions.
Bestselling author Ryan Holiday, the acclaimed marketing guru for American Apparel and many bestselling authors and multiplatinum musicians, explains the new rules and provides valuable examples and case studies for aspiring growth hackers. Whether you work for a tiny start-up or a Fortune 500 giant, if you’re responsible for building awareness and buzz for a product or service, this is your road map.
What Others Say
“Growth hackers are the new VPs of marketing, and this book tells you how to make the transformation.” — Andrew Chen, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, essayist and advisor
“This book is a wake up call for every marketing exec in the business. And a tutorial for engineers, IT, founders and designers. Read it.” — Porter Gale, Former VP of Marketing at Virgin America and author of Your Network is Your Net Worth