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The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing [Kindle Edition]

John Perry
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is not a book for Bill Gates. Or Hillary Clinton, or Steven Spielberg. Clearly they have no trouble getting stuff done. For the great majority of us, though, what a comfort to discover that we’re not wastrels and slackers, but doers . . . in our own way. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to philosopher John Perry, you can accomplish a lot by putting things off. He calls it “structured procrastination”:

In 1995, while not working on some project I should have been working on, I began to feel rotten about myself. But then I noticed something. On the whole, I had a reputation as a person who got a lot done and made a reasonable contribution. . . . A paradox. Rather than getting to work on my important projects, I began to think about this conundrum. I realized that
I was what I call a structured procrastinator: a person who gets a lot done by not doing other things.


Celebrating a nearly universal character flaw, The Art of Procrastination is a wise, charming, compulsively readable book—really, a tongue-in-cheek argument of ideas. Perry offers ingenious strategies, like the defensive to-do list (“1. Learn Chinese . . .”) and task triage. He discusses the double-edged relationship between the computer and procrastination—on the one hand, it allows the procrastinator to fire off a letter or paper at the last possible minute; on the other, it’s a dangerous time suck (Perry counters this by never surfing until he’s already hungry for lunch). Or what may be procrastination’s greatest gift: the chance to accomplish surprising, wonderful things by not sticking to a rigid schedule. For example, Perry wrote this book by avoiding the work he was supposed to be doing—grading papers and evaluating dissertation ideas. How lucky for us.

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Review

A splendid way to avoid one s work. Ben Schott, author of "Schott s Original Miscellany" Do not put off reading this charming guide to more effective procrastination. Dr. Perry is the Fabius Cunctator in our war against the Hannibal of the undone. Be gone, elephants of nagging duty. P. J. O Rourke, author of "Holidays in Hell" Insightful, sensible, and amusing. Harry G. Frankfurt, author of "On Bullshit" John Perry is the wittiest philosopher since Marx (Groucho), and he brings to this book a delightful combination of wisdom and humor. Thomas Cathcart, coauthor of "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar . . ." "The Art of Procrastination" is a gem its practical wisdom as spot-on as its humor. Now that I ve devoured this hilarious and insightful tome, I not only know that I m a structured procrastinator, but I ve also picked up some invaluable tips on how to fool myself into being more productive, which to put to use someday. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of "36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction" What are you waiting for? Read this book! Patricia Marx, author of "Starting from Happy" John Perry s book is lively, funny, engaging and wise. And fortunately for procrastinators short. It s just the thing for a moment or two away from the task at hand! Timothy A. Pychyl, PhD, author of "The Procrastinator s Digest" I intend to write a rave about "The Art of Procrastination" just as soon as I ve cleared my desk this afternoon or at least by first thing tomorrow because reading this straight-talking, badly needed book has changed my life. Bruce McCall, writer and illustrator for "The New Yorker" There are lessons both deep and funny to be found in our capacity to put things off, and Perry is the ideal guide a writer of superlative wisdom and wit. Forget whatever you were supposed to do next, and read this book. Mark Kingwell, PhD, coauthor of The "I

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 559 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (28 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091YL5KK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different viewpoint on procrastination 30 Jan. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those of us 'afflicted' with procrastination to a lesser or greater degree. This book gives guidance on how to turn procrastination into a strength rather than a weakness - I particularly liked the point that a known procrastinator should take on as many responsibilities as possible, as that makes it easier to become a productive procrastinator - I had always tried the opposite approach, and was constantly frustrated that I still didn't get what I wanted done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Lucy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The most entertaining book I've read in a long time. And yes I'm currently procrastinating by writing this review. How constructive it is depends on the readers need!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of the Steven Wright observation that I selected for the title of this review. There are practical as well as philosophical advantages to avoiding hasty actions. That is one of several core principles of what John Perry characterizes as "structured procrastination," first in his essay that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education (February 1996), "How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done," and then in his recently published book, The Art of Procrastination (Workman 2012). As Perry explains,

"All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this negative trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastination does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things such as gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it...The procrastinator can be motivated to difficult, timely, and important tasks, however, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.

"Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. In your mind, or perhaps written down somewhere, you have a list if things you want to accomplish, ordered by importance. You might even call this your priority list. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower on the list. Doing those tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure the procrastinator be comes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best enjoyed while procrastinating 9 Nov. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The perfect read whilst procrastinating on another project. It's witty, insightful and makes you feel a whole lot better about those nagging tasks you never quite get around to ... and all of the other wonderful things you DO get done in the meantime. Recommended reading for everyone on an impossible deadline.
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