Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Do Nothing
Cover of Do Nothing
Do Nothing
How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving
“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.
“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.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:


Excerpts-
  • From the cover Introduction

    It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.
    BERTRAND RUSSELL, “In Praise of Idleness,” 1932

    We answer work emails on Sunday night. We read endless articles about how to hack our brains to achieve more productivity. We crop our photos and use filters before we post them on social media to earn approval. We read only the first couple paragraphs of the articles we find interesting because we don’t have time to read them in their entirety. We are overworked and overstressed, constantly dissatisfied, and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. We are members of the cult of efficiency, and we’re killing ourselves with productivity. The passage at the beginning of this Introduction was written in 1932, not long after the stock market crash of 1929, which caused the Great Depression. Russell’s description of the “cult of efficiency” predates World War II, the rise of rock and roll, the civil rights movement, and the dawn of the twenty-first century. More important, in my mind: It was written before the creation of the internet and smartphones and social media.

    In other words, technology didn’t create this cult; it simply added to an existing culture. For generations, we have made ourselves miserable while we’ve worked feverishly. We have driven ourselves for so long that we’ve forgotten where we are going, and have lost our capacity for “light-heartedness and play.”

    Here’s the bottom line: We are lonely, sick, and suicidal. Every year a new survey emerges showing more people are isolated and depressed than the year before. It’s time to stop watching the trend move in the wrong direction while we throw up our hands in despair. It’s time to figure out what’s going wrong.

    All my life, I’ve been driven. That word has been used to describe me since elementary school.

    Driven
    isn’t always a compliment, especially when it’s used to describe a woman. It’s not quite the same as ambitious, and it has a slightly different meaning than aggressive. Honestly, I think driven fits me fairly well. I’ve always viewed all forward progress as inherently virtuous and good.

    Even as a child, I made long to-do lists in my daily planner (I had a daily planner by the ripe old age of twelve) and made sure I finished more tasks than I added every day. When I was dieting, I motivated myself by saying I would weigh less tomorrow than today, even if it was only by a fraction of an ounce. If I spent an afternoon watching monster movies on TV, I felt guilty. I was terrified that someone would see me sitting idly on the couch and call me lazy.

    My drive has helped me succeed in life. It sustained me through single parenthood, layoffs, and physical injury. I’ve pushed myself to accomplish incredible amounts of work both at home and in my career. But at some point, drive became inextricably intertwined with dread: dread that all my work and effort would never be enough.

    Eventually, I got lucky. I achieved much of what I wanted by the...
About the Author-
  • 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.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 11, 2019
    Journalist Headlee (We Need to Talk) joins the crush of authors speaking out against society’s addiction to “efficiency without purpose and productivity without production” in this comforting, convincing work. She begins by locating the origins of “the cult of efficiency”: before the industrial age, people enjoyed a different concept of work, one that did not consider time equal to money. Once “more hours meant more money,” the concept of work shifted, and so, too, did culture. In Headlee’s estimation, society drastically overvalues putting in long hours at the office and pursuing “constant improvement and the most efficient life possible” in hobbies, exercise routines, and even time spent with families. The cost of this, she writes, is high: it not only comes at the expense of true productivity (as opposed to “performative busyness”)
    , but also of happiness. Headlee provides concrete steps to help readers take control of their time, “challenge perceptions,” and “take the long view.” For example, time tracking will help readers gain a clearer vision of their working and leisure hours, which in turn will help them reprioritize. While there is little new advice to be found here, this will resonate with readers who appreciate works in the spirit of Jenny Oddell’s How to Do Nothing.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Books on Tape
  • OverDrive Listen
    Release date:
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
    Burn to CD: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to device: 
    Permitted
    Transfer to Apple® device: 
    Permitted
    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
    File-sharing: 
    Not permitted
    Peer-to-peer usage: 
    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

Device Compatibility Notice

The OverDrive app is required for this format on your current device.

Close

Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Do Nothing
Do Nothing
How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving
Celeste Headlee
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel