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 battle 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 fixation on “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. He wrote a long-running weekly column on psychology for The Guardian, "This Column Will Change Your Life," and his work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychologies, and New Philosopher. He lives in New York City.
"I have long loved Oliver Burkeman's wise and witty journalism that both interrogates and elevates the 'self-help' realm—revealing its possibilities for absurdity while honoring the deeper human impulses that it meets. Four Thousand Weeks is a splendid offering in that spirit. This book is at once sobering and refreshing on all that is truly at stake in what we blithely refer to as 'time management.' It invites nothing less than a new relationship with time—and with life itself." —Krista Tippett, host of On Being
"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
“This is the most important book ever written about time management. Oliver Burkeman offers a searing indictment of productivity hacking and profound insights on how to make the best use of our scarcest, most precious resource. His writing will challenge you to rethink many of your beliefs about getting things done—and you’ll be wiser because of it.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of WorkLife
“Four Thousand Weeks is a book to read and re-read, to absorb and reflect on. Compassionate, funny and wise, it has not left my mind since I read it. The modern world teaches us to pretend to be immortal—this book is a dip in the cold, clear waters of reality, returning us refreshed and alive.” —Naomi Alderman, author of The Power
“We all know our time is limited. What we don’t know—but what Oliver Burkeman is here to teach us—is that our control over that time is also limited. This profound (and often hilarious) book will prompt you to rethink your worship of efficiency, reject the cult of busyness, and reconfigure your life around what truly matters.” —Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human
“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