Do Nothing
We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable? This manifesto helps us break free of our unhealthy devotion to efficiency and shows us how to reclaim our time and humanity with a little more leisure.Despite our constant search for new ways to "hack" our bodies and minds for peak performance, human beings are working more instead of less, living harder not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. We strive for the absolute best in every aspect of our lives, ignoring what we do well naturally and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. Why do we measure our time in terms of efficiency instead of meaning? Why can't we just take a break? In Do Nothing, award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee illuminates a new path ahead, seeking to institute a global shift in our thinking so we can stop sabotaging our well-being, put work aside, and start living instead of doing. As it turns out, we're searching for external solutions to an internal problem. We won't find what we're searching for in punishing diets or productivity apps. Celeste's strategies will allow you to regain control over your life and break your addiction to false efficiency. You'll learn how to increase your time perception to determine how your hours are being spent, invest in quality idle time, and focus on end goals instead of mean goals. It's time to reverse the trend that's making us all sadder, sicker, and less productive, and return to a way of life that allows us to thrive.

Do Nothing Details

TitleDo Nothing
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 10th, 2020
PublisherHarmony
ISBN-139781984824738
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Self Help, Leadership, Business

Do Nothing Review

  • Yesenia Juarez
    January 1, 1970
    Quite interesting, I wish I only worked 40 hours a week and I dont even have children. Everyone should listen to this it makes your brains wheels turn. Quite interesting, I wish I only worked 40 hours a week and I don’t even have children. Everyone should listen to this it makes your brains wheels turn.
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  • Truce
    January 1, 1970
    Do Nothing is an excellent, well-researched interrogation on our cultures obsession with overwork and efficiency, and the ways it stifles creativity and actual productivity and leads to a lower quality of life.Headlee gives a great historical foundation and context for how American culture came to be so obsessed work and busyness. She also cites study after study on how working longer hours actually leads to decreased productivity. More importantly, and perhaps more surprising, she cites loads Do Nothing is an excellent, well-researched interrogation on our culture’s obsession with overwork and efficiency, and the ways it stifles creativity and actual productivity and leads to a lower quality of life.Headlee gives a great historical foundation and context for how American culture came to be so obsessed work and busyness. She also cites study after study on how working longer hours actually leads to decreased productivity. More importantly, and perhaps more surprising, she cites loads of research that shows how harmful this can be to our physical and mental health. It’s not just about not having enough time to go to the gym after work — it’s also about simply perceiving that you don’t have enough time to go for a fifteen minute coffee break without your phone. She also gives concrete solutions that are more comprehensive than just taking a technology break, but acknowledges that the real solution is in a cultural shift. It’s kind of depressing, but also she gives us historical precedent: Einstein and many other people we hail as geniuses only worked like four hours a day.Overall an excellent read for 2020.
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  • Susie Stangland
    January 1, 1970
    This was a title that grabbed my attention as Im someone who has to always be doing something, even in my leisure time whether its hiking, reading, cooking or even a puzzle. So I wanted to learn more on the concept of doing nothing. This book brings home the value of down time or leisure time and how it contributes to a healthier way of managing stress. It includes studies to back it up. So instead of feeling guilty about that one more chapter or just chillin, I will actually feel productive. This was a title that grabbed my attention as I’m someone who has to always be doing something, even in my leisure time whether it’s hiking, reading, cooking or even a puzzle. So I wanted to learn more on the concept of “doing nothing”. This book brings home the value of down time or leisure time and how it contributes to a healthier way of managing stress. It includes studies to back it up. So instead of feeling guilty about that “one more chapter” or “just chillin”, I will actually feel productive.
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  • Afton Mortensen
    January 1, 1970
    I read this immediately following Lost Connections by Johann Hari, and it was a perfect complement. This book focuses more on work-life balance but ultimately had the same message: we become void of human decency and instead full of misery when we dont prioritize our human relationships. I am fascinated by the trend of articles and titles focusing on this topic lately, including much of Jia Tolentinos work as well as Jenny Odells How To Do Nothing. Its about time we have a revolution from the I read this immediately following Lost Connections by Johann Hari, and it was a perfect complement. This book focuses more on work-life balance but ultimately had the same message: we become void of human decency and instead full of misery when we don’t prioritize our human relationships. I am fascinated by the trend of articles and titles focusing on this topic lately, including much of Jia Tolentinos work as well as Jenny Odells How To Do Nothing. It’s about time we have a revolution from the perfectionist, “efficiency cult” values. I hope this trend continues!
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  • Claudia Greening
    January 1, 1970
    I always take notes in longhand now, but since I love trees, I dont use paper. (pg. 84) This quote sums up the book for me. It felt so deeply out of touch with the lives of working class people (who make up a majority of the economy, including me). Headlee seemed to think she was offering something new to us when she wrote of setting aside time for leisure, investing in relationships outside of work, and analyzing our schedules to force freedom. But in reality, she is offering an age old “I always take notes in longhand now, but since I love trees, I don’t use paper.” (pg. 84) This quote sums up the book for me. It felt so deeply out of touch with the lives of working class people (who make up a majority of the economy, including me). Headlee seemed to think she was offering something new to us when she wrote of setting aside time for leisure, investing in relationships outside of work, and analyzing our schedules to force freedom. But in reality, she is offering an age old argument against capitalism. Which she FAILS TO MENTION UNTIL THE CONCLUSION. How can one write an entire book about the cultural phenomenon of being to busy working to enjoy life without mentioning the essential predatory nature of capitalism? No wonder people don’t have time to take walks in nature, or get bogged down in email throughout the day—most of us are thinking about how to pay bills and stay afloat! Beyond this fundamental flaw in Headlee‘s argument, the book also has structural issues. What is a “life back,” which is how Headlee labels chapters in the second half of the book? Why do we have to be introduced to the same expert multiple times (yes, Jared Yates Sexton is a professor at Georgia Southern, I remember from the last chapter!!)? Why do we have to be reminded that Headlee realized she worked less than she thought dozens of times?? It is intensely agitating to read a book that insists that the reader doesn’t know what is occurring in their own life. I would appreciate this book more if it took a more developed stand for or against something.
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  • Kristine
    January 1, 1970
    Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January.A treatise on not working so hard, against the fear of not getting enough done, the assumption that wealth means ease, feeling guilty for the times that were not busy or overbooked, wasting our profitable time doing tasks that surround a goal before actually completing it, and advancing too far forward as a society that its too difficult to look back. Instead, Headlee highlights the need to ration time in order Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January.A treatise on not working so hard, against the fear of not getting enough done, the assumption that wealth means ease, feeling guilty for the times that we’re not busy or overbooked, wasting our profitable time doing tasks that surround a goal before actually completing it, and advancing too far forward as a society that it’s too difficult to look back. Instead, Headlee highlights the need to ration time in order to slow down, engage in verbal communication, and dial back on the tendency for perfectionism. She is incredibly easy to empathize with, chiefly due to a viewpoint that explains complaint in a way that doesn’t lean overtly into self-help (i.e. wanting to point you in the direction towards improvement, rather than pull you to it).
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  • Kayla Mckinney
    January 1, 1970
    It isn't often you find a truly likable narrator in nonfiction - so likable that they can challenge truths you've held and still maintain your respect. Celeste Headlee is just such a narrator. In "Do Nothing," she guides the reader first through a history of work, revealing that even through the nineteenth century people spent as much time at rest as they did laboring. She looks at language, play, overparenting, our tendency to give up our sick or vacation days in the name of being seen as It isn't often you find a truly likable narrator in nonfiction - so likable that they can challenge truths you've held and still maintain your respect. Celeste Headlee is just such a narrator. In "Do Nothing," she guides the reader first through a history of work, revealing that even through the nineteenth century people spent as much time at rest as they did laboring. She looks at language, play, overparenting, our tendency to give up our sick or vacation days in the name of being seen as better or more worthwhile employees and ultimately asks the reader if this is the culture he or she wants to exist in and perpetuate. If the answer is "No!" (it certainly was for me), she dedicates the second half of the book to finding ways we can work better, take a break from work, bring play back into our lives, and stop being tormented by the drive to be productive and on all of the time. Her understanding of and translation of history is entertaining without ever becoming patronizing or oversimplified. Spread the word about this one (especially to your boss!)
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I got this book from goodreads first reads and Im very glad for that fact. Make no mistake, this is a book with an axe to grind. It shines the light in a dark corner that most of us dont want to acknowledge. It was equal parts fascinating, sickening, and exhausting for flaying bare the cult of business and what it does to our lives. It was nice that it included some ideas to help get off the hamster wheel and although none of them are revelatory they all ring true. It is a good reminder to I got this book from goodreads first reads and I’m very glad for that fact. Make no mistake, this is a book with an axe to grind. It shines the light in a dark corner that most of us don’t want to acknowledge. It was equal parts fascinating, sickening, and exhausting for flaying bare the cult of business and what it does to our lives. It was nice that it included some ideas to help get off the hamster wheel and although none of them are revelatory they all ring true. It is a good reminder to appreciate the slow pursuits and build awareness of yourself.
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  • Cat W
    January 1, 1970
    The author is a speaker of a popular TEDTalk on ways to have a better conversation. Oftentimes when a TEDTalk goes viral, the speaker is encouraged to write a book to explore the topic further. Her target audience is the 40-hour salaried office worker in the US. The book begins on the history of work hours and time off. This was the most interesting part of the book for me; the remainder fell short. In the last half of the book, the author placed excessive emphasis on her personal journey, which The author is a speaker of a popular TEDTalk on ways to have a better conversation. Oftentimes when a TEDTalk goes viral, the speaker is encouraged to write a book to explore the topic further. Her target audience is the 40-hour salaried office worker in the US. The book begins on the history of work hours and time off. This was the most interesting part of the book for me; the remainder fell short. In the last half of the book, the author placed excessive emphasis on her personal journey, which increasingly becomes difficult to relate to. Her thesis are based on these “solutions all designed to break your addiction to efficiency without purpose and productivity without production1. Increase time perception2. Create your ideal schedule3. Stop comparing at a distance4. Work fewer hours5. Schedule leisure6. Schedule social time7. Work in teams8. Commit small selfless acts9. Focus on ends not means”These points are not new. They've been known but continue to not be supported by many executives and managers who set the tone in the workplace.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Is the daily grind getting you down? Is the constant search for new "Life Hacks" taking more time than it is giving back? When was the last time you put down your phone?Why I started this book: Overwhelm. It's a feeling I know well.Why I finished it: Fascinating to consider the historical forces shaping our society's worship of efficiency, peak performance and the 70 hour work week. And a good reminder that taking breaks is a necessary part of being human and not a sign of weakness or moral Is the daily grind getting you down? Is the constant search for new "Life Hacks" taking more time than it is giving back? When was the last time you put down your phone?Why I started this book: Overwhelm. It's a feeling I know well.Why I finished it: Fascinating to consider the historical forces shaping our society's worship of efficiency, peak performance and the 70 hour work week. And a good reminder that taking breaks is a necessary part of being human and not a sign of weakness or moral failing. Read along with: Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self and Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.
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  • Sarah Davalt
    January 1, 1970
    Not at all what I expected, it was more or of a history of how we became so focused on productivity and multi-tasking than about how to do nothing. I dont know now that I have read it that it is self-help, I feel like it is more encouraging the reader to self-evaluate, to remember to breathe and take moments to enjoy the life they built. That it isnt a competition of who is busiest, that family and work can and should be separate spheres. Not at all what I expected, it was more or of a history of how we became so focused on productivity and multi-tasking than about how to do nothing. I don’t know now that I have read it that it is self-help, I feel like it is more encouraging the reader to self-evaluate, to remember to breathe and take moments to enjoy the life they built. That it isn’t a competition of who is busiest, that family and work can and should be separate spheres.
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  • Samantha Hines
    January 1, 1970
    Relevant in these times.
  • Ziv
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of history and context and little actionable advice. The book spends less than 20% of its content answering what the title and sub title promise. The advice isnt bad, but it feels like it could have been a blog post (or a set of them). A lot of history and context and little actionable advice. The book spends less than 20% of its content answering what the title and sub title promise. The advice isn’t bad, but it feels like it could have been a blog post (or a set of them).
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    i really appreciated reading this at home in quarantine during the corona pandemic. lots to think about. I have lots of free time now just to think...
  • Malligal
    January 1, 1970
    Ive never considered myself to be obsessed with work or to be somebody who snubs idle time. However, I can also admit that I have absolutely used my busy-ness and lack of free time as a sort of humble brag. Look at me! Im important enough to have every moment of my life spoken for. Should have asked me to hangout months ago! Do Nothing takes a deep dive into humankinds relationship with work and our developed obsession with being busy. Headlee covers everything from the history of the 8 hour I’ve never considered myself to be obsessed with work or to be somebody who snubs idle time. However, I can also admit that I have absolutely used my busy-ness and lack of free time as a sort of humble brag. ‘Look at me! I’m important enough to have every moment of my life spoken for. Should have asked me to hangout months ago!’ Do Nothing takes a deep dive into humankind’s relationship with work and our developed obsession with being busy. Headlee covers everything from the history of the 8 hour work day to how technology and social media are affecting our work and home lives. Which she backs up with an insane amount of science and research! Do Nothing is thoughtful, extremely well researched and eye-opening af! The best part was that Headlee is never preachy! She presents her findings in a very straightforward and clinical way. She acknowledges that the changes she suggests making are tough, like not checking email every second, but she offers insight on how she went about tackling some of the changes and admits when she had trouble sticking to her goals. It made it all seem relatable and doable. Do Nothing inspired me to delete my work email from my phone, to delete any apps that I hadn’t used in the last month, to stop notifications on all but my essential apps and to take some more leisure time. I would highly recommend Do Nothing for anybody, but especially if you're one of the following: if you’ve claimed to be ‘too busy’ more times than you can count, if you work more than 50 hours a week, if you have any sort of anxiety revolving around your productivity (or lack thereof), or if you’re just a rebel looking for a cause (fight that 12 hour work day). In fact, I’ve already told my (workaholic) boss that he’ll be getting a copy as soon as it’s released! I received a free e-copy of Do Nothing from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Jenny Javier
    January 1, 1970
    Insightful and worth reading again.
  • Kelly Gutzmer
    January 1, 1970
    If you find yourself over worked and exhausted its a must. Some great tips but it was dry in Part 1 although the facts were very interesting If you find yourself over worked and exhausted it’s a must. Some great tips but it was dry in Part 1 although the facts were very interesting
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    This is OK. The first half is a history of work, which has some interesting info, most of which most people don't know. The second half has a few suggestions. I skimmed some of it. The author's high intelligence shines thru her writing, and I hope she writes more. Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a topic Im interested in and for which I follow the research. There were some new tidbits, and its great to have this info pulled together in one place. This is a topic I’m interested in and for which I follow the research. There were some new tidbits, and it’s great to have this info pulled together in one place.
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