Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

by Oliver Burkeman
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

by Oliver Burkeman


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How would our lives be different if instead of avoiding thoughts of our mortality we embraced them? Would our lives be richer and happier if we were intentional about how we spent our time on earth with that awareness in mind? Four Thousand Weeks is thought provoking and timely.


"Provocative and appealing . . . well worth your extremely limited time." —Barbara Spindel, The Wall Street Journal

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374159122
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 08/10/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 9,818
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Long Run, We're All Dead 3

Part I Choosing to Choose

1 The Limit-Embracing Life 17

2 The Efficiency Trap 37

3 Facing Finitude 57

4 Becoming a Better Procrastinator 71

5 The Watermelon Problem 89

6 The Intimate Interrupter 101

Part II Beyond Control

7 We Never Really Have Time 113

8 You Are Here 125

9 Rediscovering Rest 141

10 The Impatience Spiral 161

11 Staying on the Bus 173

12 The Loneliness of the Digital Nomad 185

13 Cosmic Insignificance Therapy 203

14 The Human Disease 215

Afterword: Beyond Hope 229

Appendix: Ten Tools for Embracing Your Finitude 235

Notes 247

Acknowledgments 261

Index 265

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