The title of this post is identical to the title of a new important book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. HM wishes he had read this book a very long time ago, as he learned the lessons of this book through personal pain. HM’s original goal was co complete his bachelor’s degree in three years. Unfortunately, he learned that his brain turned to mush trying to learn at that rate. However, he did manage to earn his degree with distinction in psychology in 3.5 years. Later during graduate school he would have liked to put in sixteen hour days working for his doctorate. However, the mush brain problem surfaced again. He could only work effectively for a limited number of hours. The rest of the time he walked, swam, and went to bars.
What HM learned reading “Rest” that there is a limit of about four hours for effective mental work. Moreover, non work time needs to be spent in restorative activities. Part I is titled Stimulating Creativity. The titles of the chapter are Four Hours, Morning Routine, Walk, Nap, Stop, and Sleep. Pang explains the importance of each of these topics to creativity and he documents their effectiveness by discussing the practices of famous scientists, mathematicians, novelists and other creative artists, and successful business people.
Part II is titles Sustaining Creativity and has chapter on Recovery, Exercise, Deep Play, Sabbaticals. He again explains why these activities are restorative and provides interesting examples of the famous people who practiced them.
The book’s conclusion is titled The Restful Life. It begins with the following quote from Thomas Jefferson: “It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.” So the book transcends working. It is providing guidance for leading a fulfilling life.
HM’s primary complaint about the book is that the most effective practices for effective rest and restoration and for a fulfilling life are barely mentioned. These are the practices of meditation and mindfulness. The word “meditation” occurs five times and the word “mindfulness” only once. This is most ironic because Pang’s previous book is “The Distraction Addiction.” Ten healthy memory blog posts were based on this book. The final chapter pf this book is titled “Eight Steps to Contemplative Computing.” Meditation and mindfulness are central to this work. Why they are omitted from this book is baffling. Perhaps he thought that he had adequately covered mindfulness and meditation in that book. Regardless, he should have cited that work in “Rest” and repeated the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.
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