Autopilot

  • by Andrew Smart
  • Narrated by Kevin Free
  • 3 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Andrew Smart wants you to sit and do nothing much more often - and he has the science to explain why.
At every turn we’re pushed to do more, faster, and more efficiently: That drumbeat resounds throughout our wage-slave society. Multitasking is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity. Books such as Getting Things Done, The One Minute Manager, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People regularly top the best seller lists, and have spawned a considerable industry.
But Andrew Smart argues that slackers may have the last laugh. The latest neuroscience shows that the “culture of effectiveness” is not only ineffective, it can be harmful to your well-being. He makes a compelling case - backed by science - that filling life with activity at work and at home actually hurts your brain.
A survivor of corporate-mandated “Six Sigma” training to improve efficiency, Smart has channeled a self-described “loathing” of the time-management industry into a witty, informative, and wide-ranging audiobook that draws on the most recent research into brain power. Use it to explain to bosses, family, and friends why you need to relax - right now.

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Audible Editor Reviews

For Andrew Smart, idle is ideal. In a society that stresses overachievement, multitasking, and constant stimulus, Smart uses neuroscientific evidence to argue that the human brain needs rest to function properly. So while we may be preoccupied with being busy, it is actually crucial to embrace our inner sloth in order to increase mental health and well-being. Smart's reasonings are compelling, but it's the ingratiating performance of Kevin Free that makes idleness seem like a credible life choice. Free manages an imploring style that is remarkably gentle, and convinces the listener that laziness can be a virtue.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not worth it.

Although this is an interesting book giving you a fair amount of scientific data about how the brain thrives on being at rest, the conclusions drawn seem quite week.

The author suggests that idleness, or not working so much, is needed in order to get into the brain states needed for creativity and mental renewal. This is very interesting, and the science is fascinating about how the brain works.

However, the overall argument—that because our brains need down-time, then we should not work so hard, be more idle, etc.—is taken too far. His "solution" to the "problem" seems weak, unsupported and underdeveloped. There is no practical advice given (though it could be as easy as taking more rest, reflecting more, meditating, not being in front of digital devices constantly), rather, the author offers more of just criticisms of working too much and living in a work-driven society.

Overall, not worth it. Though interesting overall.

What to take away: your brain thrives when you are at rest, idle, and chilled out. So don't think it's a bad thing to chill out—it's good for your brain and helps your creativity. That's all you need to know from this book, basically. The rest is jargon, scientific examples, and other filler.
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- Brian Lee

One of the best books this year

What made the experience of listening to Autopilot the most enjoyable?

I buy quite many audiobooks in the genre of productivity, business, self-improvement and so on. This book is one of those rare few, that really made me listen. It will (already has) changed the way I see, and wanna live, my life.

In it, the author goes into detail about the neuroscience of ADHD, and introduces some quite novel concepts that were new to me. I've never encountered "stochastic resonance" before. Now I have.

It's a well-written book, super well narrated, and a book I can't wait to listen to again, from the beginning. It's like the focused version of Goleman's recent book Focus, which is a mishmash of anecdotes. Meanwhile, this book is clearly written by an individual who really thinks (!) about the stuff he writes about. No fluffy Gladwell / Heath brothers crap here.

In addition, I think the book points out some major problems of our modern society. Everyone should read this book.


What other book might you compare Autopilot to and why?

Your Brain at Work, which is another really great book that deserves more attention than most other books in the productivity genre.


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- Oliver Nielsen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-25-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios