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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Book Review: Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out by Manoush Zomorodi

This book grew out of the podcast, "Notes to Self" from WNYC. T here are essentially two premises: we no longer allow ourselves to be bored which means we are losing our creativity, and a corollary of that, we need to be much more aware of how much we're using our electronic devices. Personally, I found the corollary more interesting than the main point.

Now, that might be because I don't work in a creative job myself (although it is very much creative-adjacent.) Although one crucial aspect of creativity for everyone includes creative problem-solving, which is harder when your brain has no time to rest,

I did find it fascinating that when I started reading this book, my sister commented that her job as a guard at the Cleveland Museum of Art actually is super-boring and that she and her fellow guards (most of whom are artists) all carry notepads because of the great ideas they get at work. (Two chapters after she mentioned this, museum guards were given as an example, in the book! Weird.)

In order to be more bored, we've got to put down our iPhones, laptops, and iPads. Of course, that's a heck of a lot harder to do than say. And Ms. Zomorodi has a series of tactics or exercises which can open your eyes about how much, how often, how long, and how unproductively our phone use might actually be. And knowledge is power as, after doing these exercises, pretty much everyone reduces their screen time (albeit, not by much.) She also points out the inherent irony of parents limiting their kids' screen time while playing Candy Crush all day themselves. The irony isn't the problem of course—it's the behavior modelling.

So if either of these are issues that concern you--the growing lack of creativity in our lives, or the ever-presence of electronic devices, this book is for you. It won't fix the problem, but awareness is the first step.

I got this book for free from the publisher, my employer, Macmillan.

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