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Autopilot Audiobook

Autopilot: The Art & Science of Doing Nothing

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Audible Editor Reviews

For Andrew Smart, idle is ideal. In a society that stresses overachievement, multitasking, and constant stimulus, Smart uses neuroscientific evidence to argue that the human brain needs rest to function properly. So while we may be preoccupied with being busy, it is actually crucial to embrace our inner sloth in order to increase mental health and well-being. Smart's reasonings are compelling, but it's the ingratiating performance of Kevin Free that makes idleness seem like a credible life choice. Free manages an imploring style that is remarkably gentle, and convinces the listener that laziness can be a virtue.

Publisher's Summary

Andrew Smart wants you to sit and do nothing much more often - and he has the science to explain why.

At every turn we’re pushed to do more, faster, and more efficiently: That drumbeat resounds throughout our wage-slave society. Multitasking is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity. Books such as Getting Things Done, The One Minute Manager, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People regularly top the best seller lists, and have spawned a considerable industry.

But Andrew Smart argues that slackers may have the last laugh. The latest neuroscience shows that the “culture of effectiveness” is not only ineffective, it can be harmful to your well-being. He makes a compelling case - backed by science - that filling life with activity at work and at home actually hurts your brain.

A survivor of corporate-mandated “Six Sigma” training to improve efficiency, Smart has channeled a self-described “loathing” of the time-management industry into a witty, informative, and wide-ranging audiobook that draws on the most recent research into brain power. Use it to explain to bosses, family, and friends why you need to relax - right now.

©2013 Andrew Smart (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    B. Auten 04-30-14
    B. Auten 04-30-14
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    "Not worth it."

    Although this is an interesting book giving you a fair amount of scientific data about how the brain thrives on being at rest, the conclusions drawn seem quite week.

    The author suggests that idleness, or not working so much, is needed in order to get into the brain states needed for creativity and mental renewal. This is very interesting, and the science is fascinating about how the brain works.

    However, the overall argument—that because our brains need down-time, then we should not work so hard, be more idle, etc.—is taken too far. His "solution" to the "problem" seems weak, unsupported and underdeveloped. There is no practical advice given (though it could be as easy as taking more rest, reflecting more, meditating, not being in front of digital devices constantly), rather, the author offers more of just criticisms of working too much and living in a work-driven society.

    Overall, not worth it. Though interesting overall.

    What to take away: your brain thrives when you are at rest, idle, and chilled out. So don't think it's a bad thing to chill out—it's good for your brain and helps your creativity. That's all you need to know from this book, basically. The rest is jargon, scientific examples, and other filler.

    48 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver Copenhagen 11-28-13
    Oliver Copenhagen 11-28-13

    I teach WordPress web design online, focusing on the *design* part - and fun:) I love learning new concepts, hence all these audiobooks;)

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    "One of the best books this year"
    What made the experience of listening to Autopilot the most enjoyable?

    I buy quite many audiobooks in the genre of productivity, business, self-improvement and so on. This book is one of those rare few, that really made me listen. It will (already has) changed the way I see, and wanna live, my life.

    In it, the author goes into detail about the neuroscience of ADHD, and introduces some quite novel concepts that were new to me. I've never encountered "stochastic resonance" before. Now I have.

    It's a well-written book, super well narrated, and a book I can't wait to listen to again, from the beginning. It's like the focused version of Goleman's recent book Focus, which is a mishmash of anecdotes. Meanwhile, this book is clearly written by an individual who really thinks (!) about the stuff he writes about. No fluffy Gladwell / Heath brothers crap here.

    In addition, I think the book points out some major problems of our modern society. Everyone should read this book.


    What other book might you compare Autopilot to and why?

    Your Brain at Work, which is another really great book that deserves more attention than most other books in the productivity genre.


    40 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kit Los Altos, CA United States 11-10-14
    Kit Los Altos, CA United States 11-10-14 Member Since 2015

    Kit

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    "More Brain Science, Less Socialism Please"
    Any additional comments?

    I was excited to read this book because its premise was one that I intuitively feel is true. I got the validation I wanted in the many examples of scientific findings the author provides on how the brain works optimally when allowed some "white space" from thinking and doing. But, the last couple of chapters the focus was on how awful capitalism is, blaming modern society's focus on productivity and profit for the detriment of humankind's creativity. I wish that the author had offset some of his socialistic idealism with practical examples of how we could apply his findings in our everyday life. It was a missed opportunity.

    54 of 76 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Poulson 11-30-14 Member Since 2016
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    "The reason the book was in the dollar bin"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The first part of the book contained interesting research but later devolved into a defense of Karl Marx and the evils of capitalism (work and exploitation) and the virtues of socialism (doing nothing). His argument that capitalism stifles creativity and socialist utopianism is the way to go is undercut by my not being able to think of any great art or innovation coming from the worker's paradise nations.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Andrew Smart again?

    Maybe. Parts of the book were good but going from why inactivity is good to political discussions rarely make for great books. For this books the price was right and I can listen to it at high speed.


    What about Kevin Free’s performance did you like?

    It was good.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No, but this isn't the type of book that could be made into a movie.


    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Mendez 05-23-15 Member Since 2014

    melobites

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    "Self-serving, unsubstantiated and superficial"
    Would you try another book from Andrew Smart and/or Kevin Free?

    Not from this author; yes from the Narrator


    Would you ever listen to anything by Andrew Smart again?

    No


    What about Kevin Free’s performance did you like?

    He did well given the poor material he had to work with


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Self-serving, unsubstantiated, superficial and pandering piece of pseudo literature.


    Any additional comments?

    More of a guideline how to become, raise and promote mediocrity; author pretends to divert the attention of the reader by choking him with medical terms and technical lingo without once, validating his claims against research or proven scientific work.

    Three hours of my life I would have rather spent doing nothing [sarcastic] and would have gotten more out of that than reading this horrifically boring, biased attempt of writing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan Diehl 03-13-15
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    "Just awful"

    Great idea for a topic. Awful execution. Make no mistake about it, this is a book that draws very dubious conclusions from scientific research in an attempt to support a political viewpoint that has nothing to do with the science. Skip it. You won't learn anything that 30 minutes spent with google couldn't teach you. There is a reason this is a short book; it lacks substance.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francesca Fiore 05-08-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Don't Waste Your Time"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the author had actually stayed on subject, been clear and concise instead of using grandiose and verbose turns of phrase to pad the subject matter.


    What could Andrew Smart have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Sticking to the subject matter instead of veering off constantly. The entire book sounds like a smug know-it-all who says a lot without actually saying anything.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performance was alright, the writing was just awful.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The premise is great, but the execution is terrible.


    Any additional comments?

    Watch a TED video on a similar topic. It'll be more engaging and informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-29-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Insightful!"
    What does Kevin Free bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I believe that Kevin Free narrated the book with the emotions as author intended them to be received.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an insightful listen! Listening to the author talk about how our brains are structured actually helped me with some prior books that I have listened to. If you are looking for a book that explains to you why you should relax...I recommend you read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    dragonflymorning 12-22-15 Listener Since 2010
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    "Interesting science punctuated by hyperbole"

    While I found the neuroscience fascinating the author fell into hyperbole of the worst sort for what I'd hoped to be a purely scientific look at the brain's workings. As the book progressed the author's political and social leanings became the focus instead of the brain. I'd still recommend it, as long as one is aware that it all starts to devolve at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Khaled ElSherbini Cairo, Egypt 09-13-15
    Khaled ElSherbini Cairo, Egypt 09-13-15 Member Since 2014

    Kelsherb

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    "Good message, fair execution"

    I totally agree with the message of the book. I have been to some extent championing this for quotes a while.
    Yet the content, organization, and depth of the book need reassessment and rearranging.
    It wasn't clear to me what type of background the author was assuming in the reader. Their was also no suggestion as to how the goals of the book may be achieved.
    A very good starting effort, but still lacking much depth and organization.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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