Jenny Odell, bestselling author of How to Do Nothing, returns to Point Reyes for a conversation about her highly anticipated new book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock (Random House).
“This fiercely generous new book by Jenny Odell invites us to exit the superhighways and explore the scenic detours, byways, rebel camps, the other visions of who we can be while reminding us that slowness can yield more than speed.”—Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me
“At this pivotal historical moment, when so many of us are struggling with burnout, anxiety about the future, and a gnawing dissatisfaction that things don’t have to be like this, in strides Jenny Odell with the exact book that we needed. Odell masterfully dissects the origins of our many destructive beliefs around work, leisure, and self-improvement, while also offering a way for us to be free of them. Saving Time is an exposé of our past, an antidote to our present, and a manifesto for the future. It is rigorous, compassionate, profound, and hopeful. It is one of the most important books I’ve read in my life.”—Ed Yong, author of An Immense World
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About Saving Time
We are living on the wrong clock, and it is destroying us. The New York Times bestselling author of How to Do Nothing offers us different ways to experience time in this dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book.
In How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell wrote about the importance of disconnecting from the “attention economy” to spend time in quiet contemplation. But what if you don’t have time to spend?
In order to answer this seemingly simple question, Odell took a deep dive into the fundamental structure of our society and found that the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. This is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. Odell shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.
Inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological cues, and geological timescales, Saving Time brings within reach a more humane, responsive way of living. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding; the stretchy quality of waiting and desire; the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory; the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy; the time it takes to heal from injuries. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life in which time is not reducible to standardized units and instead forms the very medium of possibility.
Saving Time tugs at the seams of reality as we know it—the way we experience time itself—and rearranges it, imagining a world not centered on work, the office clock, or the profit motive. If we can “save” time by imagining a life, identity, and source of meaning outside these things, time might also save us.
About Jenny Odell
Jenny Odell is a multi-disciplinary artist and author. Her first book was the New York Times Bestseller, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Sierra Magazine, and more. She lives in Oakland, California.