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In Praise of Wasting Time

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Bestselling author and MIT Professor, Alan Lightman, reveals the benefits of wasting time and allowing our minds to freely roam.  

We have apps, smart watches and calendars that constantly remind us to be productive and stop wasting time. We have created a frenzied lifestyle in which time is money, with not a minute to be wasted, and the twenty-four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced down to small units of efficiency.  

Professor Alan Lightman documents the rush and heave of the modern world, and examines the many values of ‘wasting time’ – for replenishing the mind, for creative thought, for finding and solidifying the inner self and letting the mind lie fallow without attempting to accomplish anything and without any assigned tasks.

Carl Jung did his most creative thinking and writing when he took time off from his frenzied practice in Zurich to go to his country house. Gustav Mahler routinely took three or four-hour walks after lunch, stopping to jot down ideas in his notebook. Albert Einstein described letting his mind ‘roam’ to make connections between concepts that were previously unconnected.

In this timely and essential book, Professor Alan Lightman investigates the creativity born from allowing our minds to freely roam. In Praise of Wasting Time teaches us all that sometimes, the best thing to do is to do nothing at all.  
 

TED

Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist, and essayist. He was educated at Princeton University and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a PhD in theoretical physics. Lightman is the author of five novels, including the international bestseller Einstein’s Dreams, two collections of essays, a book-­length narrative poem, and several books on science. His writing has appeared in The AtlanticGranta, The New Yorker, and The New York Review of Books, among other publications. 

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (May 15, 2018)
  • Length: 120 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471168604