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Extra-curricular activities. Honors classes. 60-hour work weeks. Side hustles.
Like many Americans, Dr. Devon Price believed that productivity was the best way to measure self-worth. Price was an overachiever from the start, graduating from both college and graduate school early, but that success came at a cost. After Price was diagnosed with a severe case of anemia and heart complications from overexertion, they were forced to examine the darker side of all this productivity.
Laziness Does Not Exist explores the psychological underpinnings of the “laziness lie,” including its origins from the Puritans and how it has continued to proliferate as digital work tools have blurred the boundaries between work and life. Using in-depth research, Price explains that people today do far more work than nearly any other humans in history yet most of us often still feel we are not doing enough.
Filled with practical and accessible advice for overcoming society’s pressure to do more, and featuring interviews with researchers, consultants, and experiences from real people drowning in too much work, Laziness Does Not Exist “is the book we all need right now” (Caroline Dooner, author of The F*ck It Diet).
“Price examines the main tenets of the “Laziness Lie,” seamlessly weaves vignettes into their narrative, and offers tips to help mitigate the pressure we all feel to push ourselves beyond what is healthy or necessary. The ultimate goal is letting go of guilt and increasing happiness. With particular impact for those in managerial positions, Price's important and eye-opening book will benefit every reader.”—Booklist
"Overload should be a sign that you have a problem, not a source of pride. Devon Price offers hope to the chronically busy: there's a better, more human way to live." — Cal Newport, New York Times bestselling author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work
"If learning how to be more productive in the new year is part of your resolution, this is not the book for you. But if understanding why you think you need to aspire to that goal and how to learn “to be more comfortable with being less productive than society” says you ought to be, it is definitely worth a read."—Financial Times
" Using examples from social psychology research, interviews, and their own life, Price argues that there's real value in quiet time, and that working less can actually make you more creative, effective, and content.”—SHAPE
"Price takes a cleareyed look at the science and psychology behind the concepts of laziness and productivity...With tips on setting boundaries and integrating beneficial techniques like expressive writing into your daily routine, Price’s book will give you a fresh perspective on the meaning of success—and the confidence to schedule more “me-time” this year."—Bookpage
"Price's first book. Laziness Does Not Exist (Atria Books) is a science-based self-help manual for those run roughshod by capitalism... It's an accessible read..."—Chicago Reader
"With a clarion call tailor-made for new work-at-homers who can no longer leave work at work, the author gives readers plenty of reason to kick back and put their feet up sometimes, showing that doing so can actually enhance productivity. Not just for the overachiever, this book should sit on the desk next to every home printer and cubicle keyboard. Find “Laziness Does No Exist,” stretch, take a comfortable seat and you’re in a good position to enjoy."—Nashville Ledger
"While the exploration in the book is nuanced and thorough...Price’s book does not argue that hard work isn’t good or that we are without flaw. Instead, it asks us to go deeper to understand what a world oriented around helping people thrive, rather than dismissing them as lazy, may look like."—Chicago Tribune
"In their conversational and engaging first book... Social psychologist Devon Price makes the thoughtful and science-backed case for why laziness is not only acceptable but necessary."—SHELF AWARENESS
“Laziness Does Not Exist is the rare self-help book that understands the basic truth that the majority of our problems are not of our individual making, and therefore cannot be solved individually. Accordingly, Price does not promise tools for salvation, but tools for survival, and permission to forgive oneself for not being able to change the world alone.” —Jacobin
About the Author
- ASIN : B08BZXM734
- Publisher : Atria Books (January 5, 2021)
- Publication date : January 5, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 3028 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 253 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #70,011 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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I have never preordered a book before. Once I received this book and began reading it, I had ZERO regrets. This is a book that is perfect for anyone who is high achieving and think they are lazy. It is a perfect book for anyone trying to live a more fulfilling life.
I hope other people get the same out of it as I have. (The book also uses a lot of minority voices and stories)
It is written for an academic or white-collar office job worker. It would be worse than irrelevant to read as a blue-collar worker. It contains almost no actionable advice for either.
I investigated an organization repeatedly mentioned in the book as if it were an active community, but found only a long abandoned website that seems to have never been popular. The studies cited are often not from the same population that the author is trying to draw concussions about. Despite this, I still found that the book had thorough citations and made a compelling argument.
The content, style and perspective are reminiscent of popular feminist blogs.
I would not recommend this as a self-help book.
So yes, if you’re like the author who can work from an office (or more likely - their living room) then by all means, this book is for you if you’re looking to dial back your productivity and watch others pass you by.
But if you have a volatile job, work environment, or can’t simply sip coffee whilst writing a book in between teaching a class virtually - skip it.
Her words still echo through my life. Even now, though I know that world will go on even if I watch a whole night’s worth of “Downtown Abbey” episodes, I remember what my mother said and I turn off the T.V.
Now, after reading “Laziness Does Not Exist" (Atria 2020; $27) by Devon Price, PhD, a Clinical Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago, I may reconsider that long ago lesson.
““Laziness does not exist means there is no slothful, shameful feeling inside of us called laziness that is to blame when we fail or disappoint someone or simply lack motivation,” says Price after I asked him to define his book title. “There are always structural, external factors as well as inner personal struggles that explain why someone is not meeting goals.”
Instead, Price says that often when someone is written off as lazy, the problem is actually that they’ve been asked to do far too much, and not given credit for the immense work that they are doing.
“Fighting depression is a full time job,” he says. “Raising children in a global pandemic is a full-time job. Taking a full course load while working a job is too much to deal with flawlessly. So many people are overwhelmed and overworked, yet because they have been asked to do more than they can handle, these incredibly ambitious people are branded as lazy.”
So how do we deal with these feelings?
Price recommends first observing the situation neutrally while trying to determine where the feeling is coming from and what do you have to learn from it.
“Sometimes, we lack motivation to do something because the task just does not matter to us -- so ask yourself, do I really have to do this task? Does it matter to me, or have I just been told that I should do it? When someone is feeling lazy and beating themselves up for it, that is almost always a sign they need to cut a bunch of obligations out of their life, so they have time to rest and reorient themselves, to focus on their true priorities. “
Self-efficacy, a confidence in one’s own ability to get things done, also comes into play.
Price describes this as a very grounded form of confidence -- the confidence in one's own capabilities.
“When a person has high self-efficacy for a particular skill or task, they trust their instincts, and know how to break a large task down into smaller parts, so they're way less likely to get stuck in doubt, perfectionism, or inhibition,” he says. “A lot of times when someone is struggling or procrastinating such as failing to write a paper for class, for example, it's because they don't trust themselves to do it well enough, or they don't know how to take the big project and divide it into tiny bites. Unfortunately, we live in a very perfectionistic culture where lots of teachers and managers micro-manage and nitpick the people they are supposed to be mentoring, so we actually destroy a lot of people's self-efficacy in the process. “
Price believes that we also need to act like all human lives have equal value and deserve equal support with no proof needed.
“On a more personal level, we need to approach other people with generosity and trust,” he says. “I don't need proof that a person on the corner asking for change deserves my money. I can trust that if he's in that spot, he clearly needs it, and I don't get to decide what his needs at that moment look like or how he lives his life. In general, we need to stop policing one another and viewing all needs and limitations as suspicious.”
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 23, 2021
Clearly a topic for an open discussion with plenty of instances I believe most of us could personally directly relate and understand one of the biggest Lies of the Age.
Congratulations to Dr. Devon Price for conceptualizing this fabulous work.