How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy - Book Review

I really, really wanted to love How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. I battled stoically through hundreds of pages, every so often finding a small gem or glimmer of what I thought the main narrative was going to be. But I was soon back to reading over long, over complicated sentences and wondering what on earth Jenny Odell was actually trying to say.

I really, wanted to love this book, ok I'd settle to like this book, as it seems to have glowing recommendations from so many people and was even a book choice recommendation from Austin Kleon, someone I read often and joyfully. I wondered "Is it me? Am I missing something here? Is there something that I don't get about this supposed masterpiece?"

I really wanted to be happy that I'd battled though this tome whilst on a week long camping trip and actually, determinedly finished the whole damn book while I resisted the attention economy by reading in a tent, in a field, in Wales with no phone signal.

But in the end, sadly to say, and rarely for me...

I hated this book.

There, I've said it. Line up the rocks to be pelted at me. Tell me how I've missed the point. OK, if you do disagree, feel free to email me, as I am truly flummoxed with this one.

I thought it would be a book about actual, concrete steps that I can take to resist the attention economy. I enjoyed the sections talking about art, about bird watching, the importance of public parks and libraries, talking about internet communities and why Mastadon is nicer than Facebook. But surrounding these little vignettes and musings about why we need to be active about what we give our attention to, there was still very little actual substance around novel, or new, concrete ideas I can put to good use to protect my attention.

It was overlong, over-complicated, over written and I felt cheated when I finished. Not recommended.


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