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Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Smart
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Andrew Smart wants you to sit and do nothing much more often – and he has the science to explain why.
At every turn we’re pushed to do more, faster and more efficiently: that drumbeat resounds throughout our wage-slave society. Multitasking is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity. Books such as Getting Things Done, The One Minute Manager, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People regularly top the bestseller lists, and have spawned a considerable industry.
But Andrew Smart argues that slackers may have the last laugh. The latest neuroscience shows that the “culture of effectiveness” is not only ineffective, it can be harmful to your well-being. He makes a compelling case – backed by science – that filling life with activity at work and at home actually hurts your brain.
A survivor of corporate-mandated “Six Sigma” training to improve efficiency, Smart has channeled a self-described “loathing” of the time-management industry into a witty, informative and wide-ranging book that draws on the most recent research into brain power. Use it to explain to bosses, family, and friends why you need to relax – right now.

Product Details

  • File Size: 393 KB
  • Print Length: 105 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: OR Books (July 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,047 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Firework of a Book October 22, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Andrew Smart may become the Pavlov of doing nothing. The metaphor of his title is that our brains run by themselves and that interfering with them too much - or at all - is the precondition for crashes, for people as individuals, for society and for the world in which we live.

He bases his arguments on experiments in neuroscience which indicate that much of our mental activity takes place when we are doing absolutely nothing. So, if like me, you find some of your most creative ideas occur when you are in the most out of the way places - and not in that all-important meeting or seminar - you will feel vindicated by this book.

Smart draws from philosophy, history, literature and management theory (thanks for explaining the One Minute Manager to me - I had never intended to read it) and at times draws from economics (as sparingly as he can) and even the principle of emergent properties. His is one of the best comparisons of the ant colony with the human brain that I have read; food for thought, as with the rest of his book.

He rails against the distractions which ruin our ability to think creatively and destroy productivity, including multi-tasking, digital media, the inappropriate rolling-out of management systems and the hot-housing of extramural activities for young people. With considerable logic and a fair amount of imagination, he also concludes with some radical measures for dealing with the plane crash that many believe to be our world's imminent plight.

His aims are to produce `bullet-proof scientific excuses for laziness .. possible neuroscientific insights into the relationship between idleness and creativity ... (and) to hammer the first nails into a coffin for the insufferable time management industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idleness is not laziness June 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Idleness is not laziness. In fact, idleness may be an important and necessary condition for processing and synthesizing information to create new ideas and connections. The key observation and premise of the book is that latest experiments in neuroscience indicate that our brain is, in fact, extremely active when we are "idle", and that the involved regions may play an important role in helping with "creativity". As such, perhaps in our quest to fill our calendars we may have inadvertently blocked ourselves from the creative breakthroughs that we all seek?

The book is based on limited studies (and our overall understanding of this space is poor, to say the least), so the conclusions are to be taken with a grain of salt. Similarly, the used language is imprecise and at times simply wrong (e.g., the many comparisons of linear vs. nonlinear systems), but despite all that, still a thought provoking and very interesting read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do- Be- Do .. ??? February 17, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you wonder how you are going to get everything done, be somebody, earn your way, be productive, add value and stay sane .. this book will help put some of the Do Do Do impulse into a different framework.

If you are a day dreamer, one of those people that just need some down time to let "things settle", time to space out, meditate, rest, nap, and take more than 30 minutes for lunch .. this book will put your mind at ease. your not crazy, lazy or unproductive.

Just as there are more ways to skin a cat (I know a bit of a gruesome metaphor mostly known by those of us over the age of 40), there are also more ways than we might imagine for the brain to feed itself, re-nourish and do its best work.

What I got from this book is it doesn't matter whether it is corpse pose, meditation,focusing, open focus, day dreaming, resting and looking at the ceiling .. all of these activities can help us not just do our best work, but also be.

If you need to choose to Do, Be or Do ... Be is better and necessary for our physical and mental health.

Just my two cents. Cheers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Original and Much Needed Conversation Worldwide December 25, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
From a scientific point of view, based on limited studies and profound opinions about work thought to be sacred, Andrew Smart's book is a fast read that will leave long lasting ideas about work, adhd, and a whole host of topics associated with "busyness" in a world that prides itself of how busy can a person be. Working one's self to death is not the pathway of a true warrior. There must certainly be another way to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Thank you Andrew.
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