Thursday, December 14, 2017

Nonfiction Review: Bored and Brilliant

I devoted November to nonfiction books on audio, too. At the end of the month, I listened to Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, a book I was eager to read after watching Manoush's TED Talk on the same topic (included below). I was fascinated by this book, and it was right up my alley, since I haven't been bored since the '90's and have been feeling very overwhelmed lately.

Manoush is the host of a popular radio show/podcast called Note to Self about living in the modern digital world. In 2015, she led her listeners in a week-long quest to shed some of their bad habits with respect to phones and other devices and see if they could all spend a little less time glued to their phones and a little more time to let their minds wander and be more creative. This book goes through that challenge, with 7 days of mini challenges, supported by lots of research and feedback from her listeners who tried it. Keeping in mind that I listened on audio, so these might not be verbatim, her challenges include:
  1. Observe Yourself
  2. Put Your Phone Away While In Transit
  3. Have a Photo Free Day
  4. Delete That App
  5. Take a Tech Break
  6. Observe Something Else
  7. Get Bored - Really Bored

I really enjoyed this audio book and found it very motivating. I don't actually own a smart phone (I know - gasp!), but I spend a LOT of time every day on my laptop (as I am at this moment) and can relate to how every moment is now filled...though, of course, I do take time to read every day! Ironically, since I'd been listening to her book obsessively (I finished it in just a few days), she inspired me to turn off her own book and leave my iPod in my pocket during one of my walks - and it was very nice. I didn't have any earth-shattering new ideas, but I enjoyed the rare bit of quiet time. I would like to try some of her challenges, and I also plan to try her podcast (uh-oh, that's yet another podcast taking up my quiet time!). If you struggle with being a bit too attached to your phone or feel like you haven't had a quiet moment in decades, this is the book for you. And, as a bonus, it is very entertaining, too.

208 pages, St. Martin's Press

P.S. This would make a really fun book group pick, especially if the members all agreed to try the 7-day challenge prior to the discussion!

For a sneak peek at Manoush's book, you can watch her interesting and entertaining TED Talk:

And you can listen to a sample of the author reading her book at this link.

Order Bored and Brilliant from a local independent bookstore:

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Or order Bored and Brilliant from Book Depository, with free shipping worldwide.


  1. I heard about this one on a recent podcast. (Is there some word for learning about her book about quiet while listening to something?!?) I added it to my tbr list, but maybe I will look out for the audiobook instead of the paper copy.

    1. Yes, irony! Same here - I heard about it on several podcasts, actually.

      I enjoyed the audio, though I did have to take some notes to remember the challenges.

  2. Sounds good. I think I'll start with the TED talk.

    1. The TED Talk was great - enjoy it!

  3. There are a number of studies that have come out recently saying that 30 minutes in nature will do wonders for people. But you can't just be in nature, you have to experience it--listen, smell, look, etc.

    1. Yes, Helen! I just wrote an article about that research!

      And I said exactly that about leaving the electronics inside and tuning in.