How to Do Nothing book cover

Jenny Odell spends the first half of this book looking at how to disengage from the attention economy and the second half trying to give us the tools to engage with something worthwhile in our live. I particularly like the idea she presents that social media promotes connectivity, mere likes and shares, while what we need in life is connectivity…that personal conversation with others. Connection is what gives life meaning[1].

Odell also spends a bunch of time talking about how our economy and world is geared towards productivity being the highest form of “good”. Thus we often feel bad if we aren’t being productive.

I also like that she acknowledges that taking a stand and saying goodbye to social media is a privilege[2] that not everyone can use. You first have to have other forms of connecting with your group before you can leave behind the drain of social media. If you’re isolated, social media may be the only thing that gives you anything resembling connection, even if it is far inferior to real life connection.

I enjoyed Odell’s book, but I like Cal Newport’s work more. Specifically Deep Work addresses many of the same concepts as Odell does here. It may be that I’ve read Newport’s book a few times and thus was more familiar with the ideas when I read this book.

If you’re newer to this type of book, this may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Read my longer review of How to Do Nothing.

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