How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

Jenny Odell     Recommended by Anne    

self-development / technology

For a book about the creeping, unhindered involvement that social media has in our lives, this is an oddly soothing and optimistic read. Jenny Odell is an artist, writer and professor at Stanford, and advocates for a different style of engagement with our environment. How to Do Nothing discusses the disconnect with bioregion and the implications of distraction for our relationships, as well as our sense of self. She argues we are driven to involve ourselves constantly with apps, uploading content among a ceaseless roar of information – and that this destabilizes any attempt at activism as well as eroding our relationship to nature and ecosystem. I liked this book’s intersecting ideas, with art and data mining, disaster, mindfulness and birdwatching being mentioned. It is nearly impossible to choose a completely offline existence, but there are ways to withdraw and ground oneself in the neighbourhood, and the community, alongside otherwise networked lives. Opting out, or as Odell puts it, replacing #FOMO with #NOMO (the necessity of missing out) is a radical act, but an essential one.

BlackInc Books, 2019

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