“A welcome antidote to our toxic hustle culture of burnout.”—Arianna Huffington
“This book is so important and could truly save lives.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
“A clarion call to work smarter [and] accomplish more by doing less.”—Adam Grant
We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable?
Despite our constant search for new ways to optimize 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, productivity apps, or the latest self-improvement schemes. Yet all is not lost—we just need to learn how to take time for ourselves, without agenda or profit, and redefine what is truly worthwhile.
Pulling together threads from history, neuroscience, social science, and even paleontology, Headlee examines long-held assumptions about time use, idleness, hard work, and even our ultimate goals. Her research reveals that the habits we cling to are doing us harm; they developed recently in human history, which means they are habits that can, and must, be broken. 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.
Celeste Headlee is an award-winning journalist and professional speaker, and is the bestselling author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. She is cohost of the new weekly series Retro Report on PBS and season three of the Scene on Radio podcast—MEN. Celeste serves as an advisory board member for Procon and the Listen First Project. In her twenty-year career in public radio, Celeste has been the executive producer of On Second Thought at Georgia Public Radio and has anchored programs including, Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. She also cohosted of the national morning news show The Takeaway for PRI and WNYC, anchored World Channel’s presidential coverage in 2012, and received the 2019 Media Changemaker Award. Celeste lives in Washington, DC.