Americans live in a strung-out, always-on, overstimulated culture—but this isn’t the way to get good work done, says business consultant Pang (The Distraction Addiction). He recommends seeing work and rest as partners, not polar opposites, and allowing for more rest and downtime. “Over the course of a life,” he coaches, “deliberate rest restores your energy, gives you more time, helps you do more, and helps you focus on doing the things that matter most while avoiding those that don’t.” Sound familiar? To most business and leadership readers, it probably will; Pang’s earnest take on the essential function of rest in a hyper-connected society doesn’t break much new ground. He presents lessons from a sabbatical he took with his wife, and backs up his prescriptions (structured days, walks, naps, sleep, and “deep play”) with tales of how the great minds of history approached the work-rest balance. It’s undeniable that modern office workers are overworked and overstimulated, doing more commuting and housework than ever before while checking email until midnight, but this is a problem whose solution has been sought in dozens of books before this one, and Pang’s approach is far from novel. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (Dec.)
"I recommend Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang...The title says it all-if you're prone to burnout or still believe that overwork actually works, this book will set you straight."—Arianna Huffington in an interview with Lifehacker.com
"[Pang] writes with an admirable focus on balance, on pleasure as well as success; in the end, it's difficult to argue with his conclusions."—Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe
"Consider this a much-needed guide for the overworked: a credible, factual case for chilling out and getting rest, by a well-known Silicon Valley consultant."
"Whether by making space for daily naps, as Winston Churchill did during World War II; going on hours-long strolls like Charles Darwin; or spending a week alone in a cabin like Bill Gates, pursuing what Pang calls 'deliberate rest' is the true key to fulfillment and creative success."—BizTimes
"Blending scientific research with examples of writers, painters and thinkers, from Darwin to Stephen King, the author exposes how we have underestimated the power of rest for our success."
—Daily Examiner (Australia)
"Finally, a full-throated, exhaustively researched argument for why we should all work less and rest more-not just because we'll feel better (no small thing) but because we'll actually be more creative and productive as a result."—Mason Currey, author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
"Alex Pang wants us to treat work and rest as equals. In his fascinating, well-researched and highly readable new book Rest, he makes an excellent case for the critical importance of rest in our lives, drawing from the rest habits of some of our most famous scientists, writers and creatives from history, from neuroscience research as well as examples from some of the most productive people working today. You will consider how and why you rest in a completely new light after reading this book."—Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D. professor of neural science and psychology at New York University and author of Healthy Brain Happy Life
"Finally, indisputable proof that to raise happy, healthy, and productive adults, parents and educators must teach the next generation how to practice intentional rest...how to partner work with play, exercise, and sleep."—Nanci Kauffman, head of Castilleja School
"I love this book. Rest weaves fascinating research and captivating stories into a wise prescription for a healthier, more creative, and more fulfilling life in a technology saturated world. At heart, it is rest, in the many ways Pang describes, that contributes to our ability to be the best of what we can be."—Linda Stone, former executive, Apple and Microsoft
"You're holding some terrific advice in your hands on the virtues of walking, napping, and playing. Pang has written a delightful and thought-provoking book on the science of restful living."—Clive Thompson, columnist for Wired magazine and the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better
"It's high noon for the global economy's thinking class, who are locked in a losing battle for clarity in a crowded, clickable world. This book is a science-packed call to arms: it's time to claim rest as a right and pay close attention to the needs of our beleaguered brains."—Anthony Townsend, author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia
"In his important new book, Pang calmly and meticulously shows us how the best, most creative work, and the most meaningful and joyful lives, are built on the skills, not of mindless busyness, but of deliberate rest, deep play, and taking time to think. A game-changing book for the weary modern world."—Brigid Schulte, award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
Why being a workaholic is not the key to greater productivity.When we stop and rest properly, were not paying a tax on creativity. Were investing in it, writes Pang (The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul, 2013, etc.). While he is by no means the first to recognize this, the workaholic ethos is still dominant in our culture, to the detriment of our health and personal well-being. Here, the author integrates the latest findings from neuropsychologye.g., a Dutch study that showed how allowing the mind to wander while performing a demanding task actually improved student performance. Pang suggests that Malcolm Gladwells influential thesis in his often cited book Outliers is incomplete. While not disagreeing with Gladwells contention that world-class performers will have clocked at least 10,000 practice hours, Pang contends that 12,500 hours of deliberate rest and 30,000 hours of sleep were also necessary. This is not only because rest and sleep are vital to our health, but they also give the mind the opportunity to work on problems offline. While we sleep, memory consolidation takes place. As brain scans have demonstrated, taking a break from a demanding task frees the mind to wander productively. Many creative people accomplish this by walking or napping. Surprisingly, for Winston Churchill, a midafternoon nap was an inflexible part of his routine, even at the height of World War II. Pang decries the modern tendency of people in high-powered jobs to work 24/7, taking work home with them and delaying or foregoing vacations. Not only is this detrimental to family relationships, it actually decreases productivity. Pang also warns that while child-rearing or volunteering are important activities, we also need personal time and space. A useful holiday gift at a time when New Years resolutions will be on the agenda.