How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

4.0 out of 5 stars 193 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1612197494
ISBN-10: 1612197493
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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

"She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn’t felt in a long time."—Jia Tolentino, THE NEW YORKER

"
How to Do Nothing is genuinely instructive, elaborating a practical philosophy to help us slow down and temporarily sidestep the forces aligned against both our mental health and long-term human survival. You can knock the hustle — and you should."—Akiva Gottlieb, LOS ANGELES TIMES

"Approachable and incisive. . . . The book is clearly the work of a socially conscious artist and writer who considers careful attention to the rich variety of the world an antidote to the addictive products and platforms that technology provides. . . . [Odell] sails with capable ease between the Scylla and Charybdis of subjectivity and arid theory with the relatable humanity of her vision."—Nicholas Cannariato, THE WASHINGTON POST

"The sentiment behind How to Do Nothing is one of defiance.”—Casey Schwartz, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"An erudite and thoughtful narrative about the importance of interiority and taking time to pay close attention to the spaces around us."—Annie Vainshtein, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

"An eloquent argument against the cult of efficiency, and I felt both consoled and invigorated by it."—Jennifer Szalai, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"The path to freedom lies within the covers of this book."—Lauren Goode, WIRED

"How to Do Nothing mimics the experience of walking with a perceptive and sensitive friend, the kind of person who makes you feel, in your bones, that it’s a miraculous gift to be alive."—Katie Bloom, THE SEATTLE TIMES

"Odell’s great strength as a writer is her ability to convey art’s unique power without overestimating or misstating its social impact. . . . Ultimately, what sets her book apart from self-help is not a less quixotic set of demands but a more life-affirming endgame."—Megan Marz, THE BAFFLER

"Thoughtful, compelling, and practical."—Clay Skipper, GQ

"Jenny Odell’s brilliant How to Do Nothing is the book we all need to read now. With wonderful precision, passion, and artfulness, Odell finds the language to meet this cultural moment. She has written a joyful manifesto about resistance that is also an eccentric and practical handbook on how to reclaim your colonized and monetized attention."—Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

“Self-help for the collectively minded, How to Do Nothing is as thoughtful and morally serious as it is fun to read. This book will change how you see the world.”—Malcolm Harris, author of Kids These Days
 
“Your chaotic, fraught internal weather isn't an accident, it's a business-model, and while 'thoughtful resistance' isn't 'productive,' Odell proves that it is utterly necessary.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Radicalized and Walkaway

“In a media and tech ecosystem simultaneously obsessed with "digital detox" and building personal brands, How to Do Nothing is a breath of fresh air grounding readers in the complex, interdependent actual ecosystems of the physical world. Jenny Odell writes with remarkable clarity and compassion. Each chapter reads like going on a fascinating walk through a park in conversation with an old friend (who happens to also be able to tell you about every single bird in the park, which is awesome). It's a book I already know I'll be returning to and referencing for a long time.”—Ingrid Burrington, author of Networks of New York    
 
“In How to do Nothing Jenny Odell breaks through the invisible yoke that binds 21st century first-worlders to our app-driven devices. With a thoughtful look at the attention economy, Odell’s book is a self-help guide for re-learning how to look at the world. The book braids threads of ancient philosophy together with contemporary visual and technological culture, and weaves an original route to re-wilding the mind. Wide-ranging and erudite, this book is also entertaining, and brings the reader along with enthusiasm to Odell's philosophy of “manifest dismantling.” —Megan Prelinger, author of Inside the Machine: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age

"Odell introduces the idea that within our world there are endless other worlds; many of the alternatives sound much better. We need only pay attention."—VICE'S Broadly

About the Author

Jenny Odell is an artist and writer who teaches at Stanford, has been an artist-in-residence at places like the San Francisco dump, Facebook, the Internet Archive, and the San Francisco Planning Department, and has exhibited her art all over the world. She lives in Oakland.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (April 9, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612197493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612197494
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Customer Reviews:
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5
193 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2019
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
203 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 24, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2019
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Top international reviews

Imogen
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air in a confusing world.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 22, 2019
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23 people found this helpful
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TheDude
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking - but ultimately futile?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2019
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12 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful ode to the value of just watching
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2020
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Stein Claudia Dr
2.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disorganized ramble
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 21, 2019
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Autumn
4.0 out of 5 stars Mindfulness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 29, 2019
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julie
5.0 out of 5 stars Most relevant and impactful book at the time of technology advancement and human progress
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2019
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Susan
5.0 out of 5 stars A philosophy to live by
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 4, 2020
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Karina Borges Thibault
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart and profound
Reviewed in Canada on February 21, 2020
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Maureen Terese Lancaster
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Reviewed in Italy on August 7, 2019
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Giovanni
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelente
Reviewed in Mexico on January 9, 2020
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M. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift
Reviewed in Canada on January 15, 2020
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Harry Hatch
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Reviewed in Canada on January 19, 2020
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