Sample
  • Do Nothing

  • How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving
  • By: Celeste Headlee
  • Narrated by: Celeste Headlee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (868 ratings)

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Do Nothing

By: Celeste Headlee
Narrated by: Celeste Headlee
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Publisher's summary

“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.

©2020 Celeste Headlee (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Do Nothing is a welcome antidote to our toxic hustle culture of burnout. Through deep research and evocative storytelling, Celeste Headlee shows us how to break free from constant pressure and live the life we truly want." (Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global)

"This book is so important and could truly save lives. Despite working harder than ever, people have never been more depressed, anxious, and unhappy. Without a doubt, our modern way of life is not working. In fact, it’s killing us. But what is to be done? With intelligence and compassion, Headlee presents realistic solutions for how we can reclaim our health and our humanity from a technological revolution that seems hell-bent on destroying both. I'm so grateful to have read this book. It delivers on its promise of a better life." (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic and Eat Pray Love)

"Celeste Headlee makes a powerful case that productivity is not an inherent virtue - if you're not careful, it can become a vice. If you've ever felt compelled to work harder, this book is a clarion call to work smarter instead. Sometimes you accomplish more by doing less." (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife)