Go to content

I am standing in a large hall, waiting the 15 minutes it takes that my antigen test for Corona shows the result and I am one of just a few people who does not constantly look at their phone. It is surprisingly hard to stand here and to do nothing. Several times I have to resist the urge to pull out my phone. I have nothing to do on it: I'm no longer on social media, I've read all my feeds earlier that day, I didn't receive any new messages. Still, it's hard to not look on my phone.

How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell on a wood table with a notebook and pen

In How to do Nothing Jenny Odell investigates the attention economy, how phones, social media and the media in general require more of our attention every year and how we stop noticing anything around us. Odell combines personal experience with history, art, and nature to argue that we need to be more conscious with our attention. In essence, forgetting how to do nothing will lead us into a future with less community and less nature in return for more capitalism and more waves of hysteria and fear.

As the attention economy profits from keeping us trapped in a fearful present, we risk blindness to historical context at the same time that our attention is ripped from the physical reality of our surroundings.

Nothing in this book is really ground-breaking, instead this book is a nice reminder to be more mindful with our attention and our surroundings.