A Book of Boredom and Brilliance and Other Related Things

Front Cover of "Bored and Brilliant"

Figure 1: Attribution: By Author [Fair Use], via Author Web Site

I recently finished reading a very interesting book called “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self” by Manoush Zomorodi. While some of the reviews I’ve seen are rather haughtily negative, I enjoyed this book. I already limit how much social media I consume but I don’t spend a lot of time just being “bored” or unoccupied. I think this may be part of the answer to the question of why I don’t seem to be as creative as I think I could be. Of course, I’m generally so busy with work and home duties that I don’t really have time to waste on my phone OR to engage in informal thinking (or “default mode” as it is called, according to the book). I’m certainly not exhibiting the behaviour noted by participants in the “Bored and Brilliant Project” that the author ran via the “Note to Self” podcast/radio show she hosts, where people described having “panic attacks” when they purposely stopped using their smart phones. I do spent some time in this default mode while I run and I have to say I often have small insights or solve problems while I’m just running and listening to music.

I actually found out about the book while listening to a podcast called Zig Zag which was started by Manoush and her friend/former “Note to Self” producer Jen Poyant. I like Zig Zag because it covers technology, journalism, and women in tech. Also, the people running and presenting Zig Zag are women who have been involved firsthand with all of these topics. I found out about Zig Zag while listening to another podcast I enjoy, 99% Invisible. Now that I think about it, I think I may devote a blog post to the podcasts I’m currently listening to and why.

There you are! You now have a book recommemdation and a couple of interesting podcasts you can look into.

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