Time is our biggest worry: there is too little of it. The acclaimed Guardian writer Oliver Burkeman offers a lively, entertaining philosophical guide to time and time management, setting aside superficial efficiency solutions in favor of reckoning with and finding joy in the finitude of human life.
The average human lifespan is absurdly, insultingly brief. Assuming you live to be eighty, you have just over four thousand weeks.
Nobody needs telling there isn’t enough time. We’re obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, work-life balance, and the ceaseless struggle against distraction; and we’re deluged with advice on becoming more productive and efficient, and “life hacks” to optimize our days. But such techniques often end up making things worse. The sense of anxious hurry grows more intense, and still the most meaningful parts of life seem to lie just beyond the horizon. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the challenge of how best to use our four thousand weeks.
Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman delivers an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management. Rejecting the futile modern obsession with “getting everything done,” Four Thousand Weeks introduces readers to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing finitude, showing how many of the unhelpful ways we’ve come to think about time aren’t inescapable, unchanging truths, but choices we’ve made as individuals and as a society—and that we could do things differently.
About the Author
Oliver Burkeman is the author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking and an award-winning feature writer for The Guardian, where he wrote a long-running weekly column on psychology, “This Column Will Change Your Life.” His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychologies, and New Philosopher. He lives in New York City.
"A wonderfully honest book, Four Thousand Weeks is a much-needed reality check on our culture's crazy assumptions around work, productivity and living a meaningful life." —Mark Manson, bestselling author of Everything is F*cked and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
“Oliver Burkeman provides an important and insightful reassessment of productivity. The drive to get more done can become an excuse to avoid figuring out what we actually want to accomplish. Only by confronting this latter question can we unlock a calmer, more meaningful, more resilient approach to organizing our time.” —Cal Newport, New York Times bestselling author of A World Without Email and Deep Work
"Insightful . . . Burkeman’s thoughtful, reassuring analysis will be a welcome balm to readers feeling overwhelmed by the (perhaps unrealistic) demands of life." —Publishers Weekly