Book Talk: Bored and Brilliant - Carney

Book Talk: Bored and Brilliant

Technology sucks up all the white space in our lives. Look around you the next time you’re waiting in line at the grocery store…or taking a stroll outside…or even stopped at a red light. In most cases, it’s phones up / heads down. I am so guilty of this. With an endless scroll of distraction just a thumb nudge away, who has time to be bored?

But without downtime, imagination can’t breathe.

That’s the basic premise of the book, “Bored and Brilliant: How spacing out can unlock your most productive and creative self.” The author is Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s (brilliant) podcast Note to Self.

Through first-person stories and expert testimony, Manoush lays out the case that people could be better at their jobs if they weren’t always plugged in. Skill building, innovation, and entire economies could be at risk because “fast thought could make for slow growth.”

In other words, we’re too damn distracted to do the important work of imagining, creating, and exploring. Our phones are making us stupid. The future of mankind is at risk.

None of this is new. But Manoush ups the ante with a 7-step program that challenges readers to be more mindful in their interactions with technology.

Taking a hard look at your digital habits will most likely make you blush. The Bored and Brilliant Program guides participants through a series of behavior changes designed to “build your capacity for boredom” – creating more mental space to engage in deep and productive thought, jump-starting your creativity and making way for brilliance.

I enjoyed reading about the science of how technology alters our brains but wished there was more content on conjuring creativity. “Bored and Brilliant” isn’t quite life-changing, but it might give you pause the next time you reach for your tiny vibrating hell rectangle. One small victory for boredom – one step closer to a better world.


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