Essays

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20 May Manchester United Embraces Pseudo-Productivity

Earlier this month, Jim Ratcliffe, part owner and operations head for the storied English football club Manchester United, announced an end to the flexible work-from-home policy that the club’s approximately 1,000 employees had enjoyed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. “If you don’t like it,” he said in a recent all staff meeting, “please…

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04 April Two Chances to See Me Next Week

I really enjoyed meeting so many of you at my Politics and Prose event a couple weeks ago. It was meaningful for me to be talking about my books in person again after having to launch my last title during a pandemic. It was also a great opportunity to thank people for their support of…

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29 March Can You Tweet Your Way to Impact?

Earlier this month, a group of scientists from universities around the world published the results of an ingeniously simple experiment in the journal PLoS ONE. Every month, for ten months, they randomly selected an article from a journal in their field to promote on their Twitter accounts, which, collectively, added up to around 230,000 followers.…

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22 March ChatGPT Can’t Plan. This Matters.

A brief book update: I wanted to share that Slow Productivity debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list last week! Which is all to say: thank you for helping this book make such a splash.If you still haven’t purchased a copy, here are two nudges to consider: (1) due to the rush…

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13 March Come See Me Saturday in DC + TikTok Falters

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve published one of my normal essays. I’ll be returning to these soon as the chaos of the Slow Productivity launch dissipates. In the meantime, I wanted to share two quick notes: one about the book, and one about something interesting (but completely unrelated) that several of you…

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15 February How the Acquired Podcast Became a Sensation

My podcast producer recently turned me onto a show called Acquired, which features its co-hosts, Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal, diving deep into the backstories of well-known brands and companies, from Porsche and Nike, to Amazon and Nintendo. It turns out I was late to this party. In the eight years since Acquired was originally…

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02 February Heschel on the Joys of Slowness

In 1951, Abraham Joshua Heschel published a monograph titled simply, The Sabbath. It consisted of ten short chapters, comprising of less than a hundred total pages, illustrated with original wood engravings by Ilya Schor. Early in the book, Heschel establishes the unique importance the Bible places on rest: “It is, indeed, a unique occasion at…

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22 January My new book: Slow Productivity

It’s hard to believe that we’re less than two months away from the publication of my new book, ​Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment without Burnout​, which comes out on March 5th. As promised by the subtitle, this book describes a groundbreaking new philosophy for pursuing meaningful accomplishment while avoiding overload, based around three…

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18 January On Slow Writing

Someone recently forwarded me an essay from a blogger named Henrik Karlsson. It opens with an admission: “When I started writing online, the advice I got was to publish frequently and not overthink any single piece.” Karlsson was not alone in receiving this suggestion. As social media erupted into cultural dominance over the past decade,…

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31 December On Metrics and Resolve

One of the least understood components of my time-block planner is the “daily metrics” box that tops every pair of planning pages. Given that we’ve recently arrived at the beginning of a new year, an event that inevitably suffuses our culture with talk of reinvention and self-improvement, it seems an opportune time to look a…

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18 December Standing Up to Technology

In the fall of 2016, I wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that pushed back against the conventional wisdom that social media was important for your career. “In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable,” I wrote. “Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable.” Aided in large…

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27 November Neil Gaiman’s Radical Vision for the Future of the Internet

Earlier this week, Neil Gaiman was interviewed on Icelandic television. Around the twenty-five minute mark of the program, the topic turned to the author’s thoughts about the internet. “I love blogging. I blog less now in the era of microblogging,” Gaiman explained, referring to his famously long-running online journal hosted at neilgaiman.com. “I miss the…

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