How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy Audiobook, by Jenny Odell Play Audiobook Sample

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy Audiobook

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy Audiobook, by Jenny Odell Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Rebecca Gibel Publisher: Highbridge Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 5.50 hours at 1.5x Speed 4.13 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: May 2019 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781684573929

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

43:35 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

30:29 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

35:02 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Jenny Odell: > View All...

Publisher Description

A galvanizing critique of the forces vying for our attention—and our personal information—that redefines what we think of as productivity, reconnects us with the environment, and reveals all that we've been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world

Nothing is harder to do these days than nothing. But in a world where our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity . . . doing nothing may be our most important form of resistance.

So argues artist and critic Jenny Odell in this field guide to doing nothing (at least as capitalism defines it). Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. 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 hear 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 is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent.

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"Jenny Odell's soulful manifesto on the threat the digital world poses is spot-on. She shows how the modern digital economy commodifies and monetizes — buys and sells — our very attention span (to say nothing about our privacy). Facebook, Twitter make money on every click of the internet and their “gift” in return, in addition to making us addicts, is choosing and redirecting that attention to issues and products geared to our online profiles, further enriching the technocrats. Sure, newspapers & ads even 100 years ago tried to manipulate our opinions and purchases, but the digital world is moment-to-moment invasive and around us in several mediums 24/7. There are some interesting concepts such as “context collapse” which comes from the narrow focus and quick-hit impact of online information & social media and wreaks havoc on a deliberate, slower digestion of news/information with its relevant backstories. All very enlightening, but the key value is in her exquisite understanding of how One-Pointed Attention and Slowing Down are necessary for real relationships, compassion, etc., in a sense the inner workings of self-will. Her focus on the healing power of the natural world is impressive. The only weakness of the audio presentation is the narrator, whose voice doesn't match the clarity & sincerity of the writing. "

— Tom C. (4 out of 5 stars)


  • “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, New York Times bestselling author
  • “An eloquent argument against the cult of efficiency, and I felt both consoled and invigorated by it.”

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn’t felt in a long time.”

    — New Yorker
  • “An erudite and thoughtful narrative about the importance of interiority and taking time to pay close attention to the spaces around us.”

    — San Francisco Chronicle
  • “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.”

    — Los Angeles Times
  • "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.”

    — Seattle Times


  • A Barack Obama Reading List Pick of Favorite Books of 2019
  • A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year selection
  • A GQ Pick of the Year's Best Books
  • An Elle Magazine Pick of 2019's Best Books
  • An NPR Best Book of 2019
  • One of the New Yorker’s Best Books of the Year
  • A Pick of the Year
  • A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year selection
  • New York Times bestseller
  • Winner of the Porchlight Best Business Book of 2019 in Personal Development & Human Behavior
  • A Midwest Indie Bestseller in Hardcover Nonfiction
  • A BookPage Top Pick of Audiobooks

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About Jenny Odell

Jenny Odell is a multidisciplinary artist and author. Her first two books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Sierra magazine, and other publications.

About Rebecca Gibel

Rebecca Gibel is an award-winning stage, television, and voice actress. The narrator of over fifty audiobooks, Rebecca is facile in a wide variety of genres. Rebecca has worked across the country at theaters such as Trinity Rep, Cleveland Play House, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Intiman Theatre, and the Arden Theatre Company. She holds a BA from the College of William & Mary and an MFA in acting from Brown University/Trinity Rep.