Sent To Me By Harper360 In Exchange For An Honest Review
19.04.2018 / Dey Street Books / Non Fiction / Hardback / 208pp / 978-0062491589
Target Audience: NF Lovers and those efficient in the art of procrastination (or those who want to take it up)
In the vein of Quiet, a thought-provoking exploration of procrastination and its notable successes throughout history.
In an age where it has never been easier to fritter away time with a steady stream of distractions, we still feel the oppressive tick of the almighty clock. But what if instead of scolding ourselves from indulging in distraction, we rebelled against deadlines and indulged in dawdling in order to achieve greater creative success? In Soon, writer and self-proclaimed procrastinator Andrew Santella explores the universal habit of procrastination and gives it, at last, a vigorous defense. As Santella argues, procrastination is not pure sloth, nor is it even bad at its core. It can be, as a matter of fact, pleasurable and enriching. By putting ourselves in charge of our limited time-be it choosing to sweep the stairs before finishing a painting, or reading a novel instead of doing our taxes-we find ourselves unlocking new creative potential and success.
Through the lessons of history, philosophy, psychology and science, and the stories of notable procrastinators like Charles Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright and Moses, Santella makes a compelling case for the power of procrastination.
Andrew Santella’s Soon is a self-reflective investigation into the positives and negatives surrounding the (often) misunderstood art of procrastination. Andrew is a consistent procrastinator and instead of turning Soon into a self-help book Santella has set out to discover whether or not a bit of procrastination is good actually for us as human beings. Santella searches for connections between procrastination and success, happiness, achievement and fulfilment. AS also provides an eager and honest account of his own tendency to procrastinate whilst the exploring the sociological, historical, mythological and psychological traits of this supposedly negative process across time. Sharing his own experiences with putting off or avoiding work to bathe in (usually helpful) distraction instead. Soon is truly a long overdue book and I am glad Andrew Santella finally got round to writing it.
I thought AS’s insights both for and against procrastination were evocative and fascinating. There is a surprisingly rich history of procrastination to be found if you look hard enough and AS has certainly done his research. I was surprised how much he managed to get done despite the fact that procrastination is alarmingly present in his everyday life. There is a clear benefit to putting off immediate rewards for success down the line. AS discusses the psychological pros and cons when it comes to procrastination and some of his insights surprised me. I definitely learned plenty about our minds during my time reading Soon and how we organise our thoughts when approaching our next tasks.
I would say I procrastinate more than the average due to a lack of self confidence and how easy it is to distract me. This is mostly obvious to me when it comes to blogging. There have been many occasions where I have been writing a review and then checking emails, Instagram, Twitter and Co get in the way. It was important to me to hear how misunderstood procrastination really is and the many reasons why we as a species do put off the inevitable just for one more day. On some levels it does have to do with laziness but there are many more explanations that I hadn’t really considered until now which includes pressure, adrenaline, protection from failure, anxiety and lack of confidence. AS sets out to justify, not excuse, procrastination in several areas of life where our humanity does naturally get in the way of our attention.
Andrew Santella highlights some key historical figures who happen to be known procrastinators. Innovators and visionaries such as Charles Darwin, who made one of the most important observations of our time and sat on this information for two decades while he intimately studied barnacles. Or Leornardo Da Vinci who was a workaholic who had trouble finishing a project. AS looks into so many aspects of this psychological trait and it truly was fascinating. I was especially interesting in seeing how procrastination caused changes in the workplace that are still echoed in our jobs a century later. Procrastination has been practiced for millennia and though it has a stigma as being a problem that inhibits progress, it does do a lot of good too. There are whole groups dedicated to the practice and procrastination is present in religion, war and art.
To procrastinate is to savour, to maintain purpose and keep thinking/planning. What one person would consider lazy, another would consider endurance and attention to detail. There is no one real explanation or reason for procrastination as it can manifest in comfort, distraction, stress, complications and necessity among other things. The scientific community has come along way in taking procrastination seriously and plenty of meaningful research is taking place as we speak. AS’s writing is addictively insightful. He draws from a vast array of source material, ideas, concepts and theories to give us a comprehensive overview of the subject matter. I do think it is more personal than objective but AS does go out of his way to give us both sides of the story and the contradictions that exist within our decision making skills.
Soon is a relatively short and sweet experience. In just over 180 pages (8 chapters) Santella takes us on a tour of historical evidence of our human nature to delay and how in our modern time, procrastination may become a tool to distract us from distractions like all of our devices and wait until later to get to those emails and notifications. As he reflects on the mechanics of procrastination he manages to unite our species with ease. No matter who we are, we all love a chance to slack off, to avert controlling forces who want to us to follow them. There have been attempts to abolish procrastination and its effect on productivity all together but it is always eventually been rebelled against in many ways. There are a lot of issues in the world that need our immediate attention and time is our most valuable resource but, on a personal level, procrastination can be helpful in small amounts. Order is a fine thing but a little bit of chaos is good for our minds too. Soon is refreshing non-fiction read that I highly recommend to you all.
About Andrew Santella
Andrew Santella is an author and journalist in Brooklyn. His book Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, from Leonardo to Darwin to You and Me is forthcoming from Dey St./HarperCollins. His essays have been honored by the editors of the Best American Essays series and by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He writes for such publications as GQ, the New York Times Book Review, Slate, the Atlantic.com, and Commonweal. His piece on the science of happiness was named one of the year’s notable essays by the editors of the Best American Essays series. His story “No Time For You,” about careerism and marriage, won a Best Article of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 2006. His piece on Chicago’s softball sub-culture, “Diamonds in the Rough,” was a finalist for a Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he is assistant varsity baseball coach at Millennium High School. He is likely at this very moment putting off doing something important.