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In Praise of Wasting Time
In Praise of Wasting Time | Alan Lightman
3 posts | 3 read | 3 to read
In this timely and essential book that offers a fresh take on the qualms of modern day life, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam, without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks. We are all worried about wasting time. Especially in the West, we have created a frenzied lifestyle in which the twenty-four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced down to ten minute units of efficiency. We take our iPhones and laptops with us on vacation. We check email at restaurants or our brokerage accounts while walking in the park. When the school day ends, our children are overloaded with extras. Our university curricula are so crammed our young people dont have time to reflect on the material they are supposed to be learning. Yet in the face of our time-driven existence, a great deal of evidence suggests there is great value in wasting time, of letting the mind lie fallow for some periods, of letting minutes and even hours go by without scheduled activities or intended tasks. Gustav Mahler routinely took three or four-hour walks after lunch, stopping to jot down ideas in his notebook. Carl Jung did his most creative thinking and writing when he visited his country house. In his 1949 autobiography, Albert Einstein described how his thinking involved letting his mind roam over many possibilities and making connections between concepts that were previously unconnected. With In Praise of Wasting Time, Professor Alan Lightman documents the rush and heave of the modern world, suggests the technological and cultural origins of our time-driven lives, and examines the many values of wasting timefor replenishing the mind, for creative thought, and for finding and solidifying the inner self. Break free from the idea that we must not waste a single second, and discover how sometimes the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.
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catiewithac
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Alan Lightman is a talented writer who also happens to be a physicist. Here he defends idleness as a necessary element of human creativity. He encourages readers to disconnect from the wired world every once in a while to experience silence. Wasting time, it turns out, is essential to life.

Eggs Hah! I knew it!! Tis true tho 3mo
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Thndrstd
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In this book based on his TED talk, Alan Lightman extols the the virtues of downtime, time devoted to letting the mind wander and be at its most creative. In a culture that practically worships speed and productivity, it's a bit sad that this book is even necessary, but Lightman, a scientist, does his research on both our culture and the virtue of slowing down to think. A short, quick and worthwhile read.

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lauralovesbooks1
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Lightman looks at the increased pace of our daily lives, driven by our increased speed of communication. While I do think that there are some benefits to our increased access to information and to each other, there is no denying that we are giving up downtime and time for reflection and processing, with substantial negative consequences. Well written with concrete strategies on finding time to "waste."