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How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

de Jenny Odell

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7302623,215 (3.64)9
"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 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 is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent"--"When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as . . . doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of productivity and techno-determinism, and to become more meaningfully connected in the process"--… (més)
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» Mira també 9 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 26 (següent | mostra-les totes)
shelved in HT Green Library - by Reception - Monograph Library (R)
  HT.LibraryBooks | Jul 21, 2021 |
I read this book in bits and pieces over a 7 month period and in a way I think that was entirely appropriate. The secondary title of the book is “Resisting the Attention Economy” and that is what drew me in to read it. I hope I’m taking a lot away from reading it, the things that I’m thinking about right now are making sure that my choices are willful and not just habit, trying to be mindful of place instead of living in the placeless society we have created online and in a city (so many of them look exactly alike these days), and making sure to try and connect directly with people. I have found in the last year that I’m less and less inclined to check my social media feeds (yes I know this is being written for my online feeds, irony noted). Mainly I try to make it a willful choice for a purpose instead of a time wasting reflex. As I’m reading on the subway each day on my commute (some of my happiest time of the week) I find myself amazed at the attention drawing power of people’s phones. Sometimes I’ll surreptitiously watch them and it all seems so directionless. I know I have a long way to go in mindfulness but just trying to make sure you spending of your attention is your choice is a pretty good place to start. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
I'm really not completely sure how I felt about this book, which came highly recommended by people I trust. Part of it was reading it during the Covid-19 pandemic; I initially put it on hold in January, but between demand and library closure, I didn't get it till the end of July. If I had read it before March, I might be kinder to it.

The book's title isn't entirely accurate. This isn't a how to book, and it's not really dedicated to technology or even being anti-technology. It's a meandering philosophical treatise on the meaning of attention to time and space. There's a lot of research and sources packed in to a book of only 204 pages, and between that and the loose structure, there's a very breadth over depth feel to it. My other problem is that I didn't particularly like the author as she presented herself in this book. She started off on the wrong foot by writing her introduction in the style of a PhD dissertation and used jargon and buzzwords unnecessarily. I enjoyed the book far more when she stepped back and let her stories speak for themselves.

I'm one of those people who uses social media too much since I'm a news hound, and I try not to take critiques too personally, but even so, I found her approach somewhat condescending and in places contradictory. She criticizes the idea of "ethical persuasion," but part of her issue is that she feels it rejects her personal agency and responsibility. Without turning people into mindless automatons, I wish she would have engaged with the idea of power imbalance in tech. We are not powerless to delete the Facebook app, but the playing field is not level--we are drawn in and in some cases compelled to use social media to some extent (and that ignores the behind the scenes activity that makes it near-impossible to avoid Facebook, Amazon, and Google completely). At times I felt she lacked empathy: it may seem silly to her that a man would choose only to eat at chain restaurants, but it would have been more interesting if she had explored his fear of loss of control and why someone wouldn't be open to new experiences, rather than simply judging them or, in the case of gentrifying residents, simply ascribing it to an individualistic culture.

I have mixed feelings about social media myself, but she focuses too much on its negatives without seeing the ways in which social media's positive and negative sides can be mirror images of each other. My teenage daughter is far better informed about social and political issues than I was at her age, when I had to rely on print media. The flip side, of course, is that teens can also wind up on alt-right sites. Social media can enable genuine friendships and exchange of information, especially amongst far flung groups or people with disabilities. On the other hand, curated social media personalities can lead to the worst kind of competition.

A great deal of her ideas rely on physical space, which makes the timing unfortunate--it's very nice to suggest in person action but at the moment, putting that into place is impossible! Obviously I can't entirely fault her for that. Despite her railing against our economy and lack of time earlier, she didn't make as many connections at the end to why people don't choose to take that step into concrete action. Based on her earlier chapters I can't believe she doesn't know why, so pinning it onto personal choices here seems to miss part of the big picture.

Despite all this criticism, I don't think I regret reading the book. There's a germ of something here; I just don't agree with where she takes it. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
2021 book #30. This looks like a book on how to break your obsession with your phone and the internet. Not quite. More like a book about what you could be paying attention to (like birds, nature, history of place) instead of FaceBook. It was an OK read.
  capewood | Jun 3, 2021 |
Attention -> Observation -> Relationship/Care -> Commitment -> Action
I love this book and need to read it again. ( )
  GwenRino | May 23, 2021 |
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"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 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 is a four-course meal in the age of Soylent"--"When the technologies we use every day collapse our experiences into 24/7 availability, platforms for personal branding, and products to be monetized, nothing can be quite so radical as . . . doing nothing. Here, Jenny Odell sends up a flare from the heart of Silicon Valley, delivering an action plan to resist capitalist narratives of productivity and techno-determinism, and to become more meaningfully connected in the process"--

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