An erudite investigation of our culture’s understanding of time.



Odell’s follow-up to her 2019 hit, How To Do Nothing.

In this rigorous, wide-ranging examination of time, the author touches on the pandemic, the climate crisis, and many other pertinent topics. Odell begins by introducing the concept of “fungible time, which “is consistent and can be endlessly subdivided. Measuring fungible time is like envisioning standardized containers that can potentially be filled with work.” The author then segues into a section on the clash between the European colonial clock hour and the understanding of time held by “task-oriented” Indigenous communities that organize their activities based on natural phenomena, such as “the flowering or fruiting of a certain plant.” Odell works assiduously to explain how our culture arrived at the commonly held belief that “time is money,” and she makes her way through an impressive array of historical documents, including the writings of Frederick Winslow Taylor, who worked on “the systematic management of other people’s time,” and ledgers recording slave labor hours in the West Indies. Ultimately, writes the author, “the origins of the clock, calendar, and spreadsheet are inseparable from the history of extraction, whether of resources from the earth or of labor time from people.” In another chapter, Odell asks what happens when this obsession with increased efficiency is turned toward the self, a point she illustrates with an entertaining discussion of “productivity bros” and their “unhealthy fixation on morning routines.” The author also considers leisure time (including its relationship to social media) and her personal experience of the pandemic, when the world experienced an “estrangement from common forms of marking time.” Odell found comfort in watching a live webcam of a nesting eagle in Iowa. This book, featuring denser prose and more academic subject matter, is not as approachable as How To Do Nothing, but it will reward readers who pay close attention.

An erudite investigation of our culture’s understanding of time.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593242704

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

Did you like this book?

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?