Jane’s Pick: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell
I started reading this book right as the pandemic shut down our lives. To reduce my anxiety, I found myself reading this book outside in the fresh air. This book made me look around and realize that the mindset of productivity above all else is not sustainable or healthy, on a personal or societal level.
Since reading the book, I have been giving it out as a gift to my loved ones. It makes you stop and think about your priorities in life.
This book isn’t really about doing nothing – and, although it addresses our modern addiction with social media – it isn’t about a breakup with technology. Odell recognizes that there is a positive side of technology. Instead, this is a book about redirecting our attention away from the endless newsfeed scrolling and our mindless media consumption without value. Odell proposes that if we collectively shift our attention back to our surroundings – nature, art, people – we would create a resistance movement. From that movement, real political changes can happen.
2020, with its pandemic, extreme weather events, and social and civil unrest, has made me take a good long look at what I value and at what cost. How to Do Nothing serves as another wake-up call to live differently.