How To Do Nothing : Resisting the Attention Economy

How To Do Nothing : Resisting the Attention Economy
Author: Jenny Odell
Rating: 3.79
Bestsellers Rate: 5529
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Book Format: Paperback
Binding: None
Pages: 256
Hours of reading: 4.3 hours
Publication Date: 2021
Languages: | English |
Price: 12,34 €

About the book

** A New York Times Bestseller ** A complex, smart and ambitious book that at first reads like a self-help manual, then blossoms into a wide-ranging political manifesto.--Jonah Engel Bromwich, The New York Times Book Review One of President Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2019 NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: Time - The New Yorker - NPR - GQ - Elle - Vulture - Fortune - Boing Boing - The Irish Times - The New York Public Library - The Brooklyn Public Library Porchlight's Personal Development & Human Behavior Book of the Year In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention, and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, it can seem impossible to escape. But in this inspiring field guide to dropping out of the attention economy, artist and critic Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives. Odell sees our attention as the most precious--and overdrawn--resource we have. And we must actively and continuously choose how we use it. We might not spend it on things that capitalism has deemed important ... but once we can start paying a new kind of attention, she writes, we can undertake bolder forms of political action, reimagine humankind's role in the environment, and arrive at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book will change how you see your place in our world.




She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn't felt in a long time.--Jia Tolentino, THE NEW YORKER How to Do Nothing is genuinely instructive, elaborating a practical philosophy to help us slow down and temporarily sidestep the forces aligned against both our mental health and long-term human survival. You can knock the hustle -- and you should.--Akiva Gottlieb, LOS ANGELES TIMES Approachable and incisive. . . . The book is clearly the work of a socially conscious artist and writer who considers careful attention to the rich variety of the world an antidote to the addictive products and platforms that technology provides. . . . [Odell] sails with capable ease between the Scylla and Charybdis of subjectivity and arid theory with the relatable humanity of her vision.--Nicholas Cannariato, THE WASHINGTON POST The sentiment behind How to Do Nothing is one of defiance."--Casey Schwartz, THE NEW YORK TIMES An erudite and thoughtful narrative about the importance of interiority and taking time to pay close attention to the spaces around us.--Annie Vainshtein, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE An eloquent argument against the cult of efficiency, and I felt both consoled and invigorated by it.--Jennifer Szalai, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW The path to freedom lies within the covers of this book.--Lauren Goode, WIRED How to Do Nothing mimics the experience of walking with a perceptive and sensitive friend, the kind of person who makes you feel, in your bones, that it's a miraculous gift to be alive.--Katie Bloom, THE SEATTLE TIMES Odell's great strength as a writer is her ability to convey art's unique power without overestimating or misstating its social impact. . . . Ultimately, what sets her book apart from self-help is not a less quixotic set of demands but a more life-affirming endgame.--Megan Marz, THE BAFFLER Thoughtful, compelling, and practical.--Clay Skipper, GQ "This is a potentially subversive book. Affirming that we should take more time offline for nurturing our own thoughts (and so our own being) does not sound that new, but here it is so gracefully articulated in irresistible arguments."--Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural Jenny Odell's brilliant How to Do Nothing is the book we all need to read now. With wonderful precision, passion, and artfulness, Odell finds the language to meet this cultural moment. She has written a joyful manifesto about resistance that is also an eccentric and practical handbook on how to reclaim your colonized and monetized attention.--Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others "Self-help for the collectively minded, How to Do Nothing is as thoughtful and morally serious as it is fun to read. This book will change how you see the world."--Malcolm Harris, author of Kids These Days "Your chaotic, fraught internal weather isn't an accident, it's a business-model, and while 'thoughtful resistance' isn't 'productive, ' Odell proves that it is utterly necessary."--Cory Doctorow, author of Radicalized and Walkaway "In a media and tech ecosystem simultaneously obsessed with digital detox and building personal brands, How to Do Nothing is a breath of fresh air grounding readers in the complex, interdependent actual ecosystems of the physical world. Jenny Odell writes with remarkable clarity and compassion. Each chapter reads like going on a fascinating walk through a park in conversation with an old friend (who happens to also be able to tell you about every single bird in the park, which is awesome). It's a book I already know I'll be returning to and referencing for a long time."--Ingrid Burrington, author of Networks of New York "In How to do Nothing Jenny Odell breaks through the invisible yoke that binds 21st century first-worlders to our app-driven devices. With a thoughtful look at the attention economy, Odell's book is a self-help guide for re-learning how to look at the world. The book braids threads of ancient philosophy together with contemporary visual and technological culture, and weaves an original route to re-wilding the mind. Wide-ranging and erudite, this book is also entertaining, and brings the reader along with enthusiasm to Odell's philosophy of "manifest dismantling." --Megan Prelinger, author of Inside the Machine: Art and Invention in the Electronic Age Odell introduces the idea that within our world there are endless other worlds; many of the alternatives sound much better. We need only pay attention.--VICE'S Broadly

Jenny Odell Biography

Jenny Odell is an American multidisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in Oakland, California. She has taught Internet art and digital/physical design at Stanford University since 2013. She wrote The New York Times best-selling book, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019).

Early life and education

Odell was born in San Francisco and grew up in Cupertino, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2008 with a degree in English Literature and received her MFA in Design + Technology from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2010.


Odell's work consists of acts of close observations such as bird watching, collecting screenshots, or trying to parse bizarre forms of e-commerce. Many of her artistic projects re-use existing objects or images and put them in context, for example images from Google Earth and Google Maps. Odell has described where this approach comes from,I often say that medium is context [...] Part of the reason I work this way is because I find existing things infinitely more interesting than anything I could possibly make.

The Bureau of Suspended Objects

In 2015, Odell was artist-in-residence at Recology SF, otherwise known as the San Francisco dump. The residency culminated in an exhibition of her work: The Bureau of Suspended Objects, a detailed archive of objects scavenged and selected at the dump. Odell conducted in-depth research into the manufacturing, distribution, popularity, and use of each object. Much of her art exists within and pulls from the internet; this is no exception. The archive is accessible online and much of the content is pulled from the internet, such as Google street views of manufacturing plants and videos of commercials for products. The detailed history is meant to bring attention to resources involved in both the products' production and consumption.


Neo-Surreal is a collection of work completed while Odell was artist-in-residence at the Internet Archive in 2017. While there, she came across a large collection of BYTE, an American computing magazine, from the 1980s. She pulled images from this archive, edited and curated in a way to highlight the surreal nature of the industry, both then and today. In her own words,The reconfiguration of this material highlights the ways in which such imagery, viewed in hindsight, inadvertently portrays some of the stranger and more sinister aspects that technology eventually came to embody. For instance, one finds things like a computer wearing a policeman's hat and wielding a riding crop (evoking surveillance) or a pill opening to reveal a computer chip (evoking biometrics). Similarly to Richard Prince in his Cowboys series, I've done nothing here except to remove the text, restore some backgrounds, and re-title the images.

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Odell's book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019) is about "how to disconnect ... Read full biography

Authors: Jenny Odell
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Languages: | English |
Original Language:
ISBN13: 9781612198552
ISBN10: 1612198554
Reference Edition:
Edition: None
Edition Statement: None
Illustrations: None
Literature Country: None
Literature Period: None
Book Format: Paperback
Book Binding: None
Paper: None
Font: None
Pages: 256
Book Weight: 266
Book Dimensions: 140x209x22.86
Circulation: None
Publication date: Dec. 29, 2020
First Publication Date: None
Publication City/Country: Brooklyn, United States

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