Book Rec: “How to Do Nothing” by Jenny Odell


Ben Kafoglis, Math Teacher

Jenny Odell is a writer and artist, and in this book she calls for people to resist what she calls the “Attention Economy.” The Attention Economy is made up of all those businesses that live off our attention: think social media and others. These are capitalist entities that, instead of our dollars, eat our time to survive.

Odell goes on to extol the values of maintenance work and observing nature, and articulates the problems that stem from nonstop productivity and ‘optimization’.

For anyone starting to feel like their phone is using them, and not the other way around, I highly recommend this book. I felt like it spoke to so many frustrations I have on a daily basis: that I have no time, that there’s too much news, and if my day wasn’t spent productively, it was a waste.

It’s a ‘stop and smell the roses’ guide for living. Odell shows us how to get off the daily treadmill so we can look at the birds.