The Beauty of What We’ll Never Know (VIDEO)

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Pico Iyer has spent more than 30 years tracking movement and stillness — and the way criss-crossing cultures have changed the world, our imagination and all our relationships.


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Pico Ayer / June 2016

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Almost 30 years ago, Pico Iyer took a trip to Japan, fell in love with the country and moved there. A keen observer of the human spirit, Iyer professes that he now feels he knows far less about Japan — or, indeed, about anything — than he thought he knew three decades ago. In this lyrical meditation on wisdom, Iyer expands on this curious insight about knowledge gained with age: that the more we know, the more we see how little we know.

Why you should listen

In twelve books, covering everything from Revolutionary Cuba to the XIVth Dalai Lama, Islamic mysticism to our lives in airports, Pico Iyer has worked to chronicle the accelerating changes in our outer world, which sometimes make steadiness and rootedness in our inner world more urgent than ever. In his TED Book, The Art of Stillness, he draws upon travels from North Korea to Iran to remind us how to remain focused and sane in an age of frenzied distraction. As he writes in the book, “Almost everybody I know has this sense of overdosing on information and getting dizzy living at post-human speeds … All of us instinctively feel that something inside us is crying out for more spaciousness and stillness to offset the exhilarations of this movement and the fun and diversion of the modern world.”

What others say

“As a guide to far-flung places, Pico Iyer can hardly be surpassed.” — The New Yorker

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