My March pick for our Read Like an Artist book club is Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks. To join our discussion next month, sign up now.
Unboxing the latest for our @literati book club… pic.twitter.com/JD0oQFnPdw
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) March 1, 2022
Here’s my intro:
What will you do with the rest of your time?
What sounds like a straightforward self-help book is actually a deep reflection on the nature of time and how humans have historically dealt with it. “The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief,” Burkeman writes. “Assuming you live to be 80, you have just over four thousand weeks.”
Burkeman gives us permission to be imperfect, to forget about little tweaks and life hacks, and focus on the big things that matter. Freelancers, or creative people with weird schedules, might find comfort, as I did, in how difficult it is to make time off count when that time off isn’t shared by others.
I love how Burkeman is able to pull off the magic trick of writing self-help books that are, at their core, deeply suspicious of their own genre.
Four Thousand Weeks was one of my very favorite books I read in 2021. (His previous book, The Antidote, one of my favorite reads of 2013, was a big influence on my book Show Your Work!, which is the first book I consciously wrote knowing it’d be shelved in self-help.)
Here are some notes I took on the “The Principles of Patience” section of the book.
Oliver has agreed to chat with me online about the book in late March, so stay tuned for that!
To join our discussion, sign up for the club.