Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman [7/10]

A battle-scarred veteran of to-do lists and relentless planning, I came to “Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It” with both hope and skepticism. How could journalist Oliver Burkeman add to all those authors I’ve absorbed and followed? It turns out that Burkeman is a superbly read, wise debunker of much of my wisdoms. Essentially (and here I interpret, possibly superficially) his advice is that attempting to master time, and to achieve everything we think we need to, are flawed goals and lead to stress and failure. Only by bending in the wind and accepting our finiteness can we find grounded peace, while at the same time accomplishing much. In coming to his subtle, Buddhist-infused conclusions, the author draws from a compendious range of sources from philosophy and modern self-help, both ancient and right up to the minute. Written during the pandemic, Four Thousand Weeks derives extra insights from it. The author is a wonderful stylist, cogent and rhythmic, often slyly humorous. Ever since Four Thousand Weeks, I have been reinventing my own relationship with time, including my daily systems. I recommend it.

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