The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing
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The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  754 ratings  ·  175 reviews
This is not a book for Bill Gates. Or Hillary Clinton, or Steven Spielberg. Clearly they have no trouble getting stuff done. For the great majority of us, though, what a comfort to discover that we’re not wastrels and slackers, but doers . . . in our own way. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to philosopher John Perry, you can accomplish a lot by putting things...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 13th 2012 by Workman (first published 2012)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is a great little book. I should review it, but I'll probably never get around to it.
Nina
I should've been studying Latin instead of reading this.
Yes, Latin is compulsory in Italy. Now do you see why I procrastinate?

Jokes aside, this was very very interesting. It was a gift from my Dad - he knows me so well - and I'm grateful for that. I don't think I would have ever gotten anywhere near this book on my own - it looked too much some weird brand of that self-help shit that I despise.
However, it was so very cool to see my irrational tendency not to do things when I should do them ratio...more
Annie
I got this book about a year ago, and I finally got around to reading it this morning. This is a quick and insightful read, and I recommend it to all my fellow procrastinators out there.

I thought I was just a procrastinator, but it turns out I am a structured procrastinator (I get a lot of things done, just not the things I'm supposed to be working on (I'm also a horizontal organizer (which is where you tend to spread papers out on horizontal surfaces instead of using vertical filing cabinets) a...more
Michael Burnam-fink
Hi, my name is Michael, and I'm a procrastinator. So when I heard about this book from a friend, I felt a brief flame of hope that this would help me conquer what ails me, finish my dissertation in a timely manner, and ride off into the sunset in a blaze of glory. Or something like that.

This book is mostly an affirmation of the idea that you can be procrastinator and still get things done. Perry introduces the theory of 'structured procrastination', based on Robert Benchley's quip that "Anyone c...more
Rose
Initial reaction: Quick little guide for understanding the structured procrastinator and horizontal organizer, whether you are one or know someone who is. I did like Perry's respective musings and explanations, though I'll admit I didn't really learn much that I didn't already know about procrastination (and I'll admit I'm guilty of it myself). Still, I think this book is worth picking up just to see Perry's thoughts on the matter, and he does give good resources/thoughts about the subject.

Full...more
Troy Blackford
This is a diverting and amusing short piece on the virtues of 'The Art of Procrastination.' Couched among its humorous jests and personal anecdotes are some interesting ruminations and advice on how the procrastinator can channel their natural tendencies towards increased productivity without needing to combat their essential nature as a procrastinator. Amusing stuff, and well worth a read!
Miguel
http://silenciosquefalam.blogspot.pt/...

É professor universitário e filósofo e os artigos que escreveu ao longo das últimas décadas foram publicados nas mais variadas e importantes revistas de cariz filosófico. Alguns desses ensaios foram coligidos em livro, como A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (1978) e Reference and Reflexivity (2001). John Perry é um profícuo pensador e as suas reflexões sobre lógica, filosofia da linguagem e da mente têm sido contributos importantes para quem...more
Emanuela
La traduzione italiana del titolo lascia presagire un contenuto indirizzato alla necessità di staccare dalle incombenze pressanti, per dedicarsi ad attività di norma definite, perditempo. Invece il discorso si dipana su un altro atteggiamento che è quella della procrastinazione, individuata come difetto, ma non sempre. Da cui il titolo originale "The Art of Procrastination".

L'autore è un filosofo dell'università di Standford e come tale cerca giustificazioni al comportamento che, o per indole o...more
Crystal
I loved this little book! It was informative, entertaining and in spots, laugh out loud hilarious. I swear I think this guy is a long, lost relative or he's hiding out in the office next door to mine. It takes one to know one and this guy has me and many of my colleagues pegged for sure. However, he does offer some realistic suggestions in attempting to make better use of "structured procrastination." Of course a philosopher would come up with this idea. I'm going to see if he's written any othe...more
Dale
Published by HighBridge Audio in 2012
Read by Brian Holsopple
Duration: 1 hour, 48 minutes


Are you the kind of person who has the best of intentions but continually puts important projects aside to do other things? Is your work environment organized horizontally (stuff spread all over the desk, open chairs and any other flat surface) rather than vertically (in a filing cabinet)? Do you find that even though you put things off you still get a whole lot of stuff done - just not the stuff that you wer...more
Shannon
Jul 23, 2012 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: procrastinators and people otherwise pressed for time
Recommended to Shannon by: Workman Publishing
I received an ARC of this book via Twitter contest, then promptly put it on my shelf of owned TBR material. The book kept gnawing at the back of my head - of course I should read it, they were nice enough to send it to me, they'd love the feedback, it's a short enough little tome... So FINALLY I read it and saw myself in nearly every page - which is a bit embarrassing. I did find quite a few useful tips for actually accomplishing things that I'd heretofore put off: I very much enjoyed the bird-b...more
Remo
Breve ensayo sobre cómo la procrastinación (el "arte" de dejar sistemáticamente las cosas importantes e incómodas para más tarde), aun siendo un problema con el que hay que lidiar, puede utilizarse en nuestro propio beneficio. El primer capítulo, que es el que le otorgó a su autor el premio Ig®Nobel de literatura en 2011, está disponible en la red en Structured Procrastination y es altamente recomedable para los que tenemos la manía de hacer listas de 10 elementos y hacer los tres últimos y otro...more
George Bradford
John Perry is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Stanford University and co-host of the syndicated public radio program "Philosophy Talk". He is the author and editor of several books and countless articles that can be accurately described as 'hard core academic philosophy'.

Professor Perry achieved an esteemed academic career (industriously teaching, writing and publishing) in spite of being what can accurately be described as a 'hard core procrastinator'.

How? "The Art of Procrastination" expl...more
John
Aug 26, 2012 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: procrastinators, lollygaggers, dawdlers
This reader must admit that the word "mañana," Spanish for "tomorrow," is a beautiful term. It even has a nice ring to it.

Yet I must agree with author John Perry. As he says in his book The Art of Procrastination , and subtitled A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing, there is a fine art to this. In fact, most good dawdlers at least aspire to be structured procrastinators, and Dr. Perry does a good job of explaining this in his book.

The title to this book may sound funny, and...more
Kristi
Reading this made me feel like the author had followed me around and studied me for quite a while. It's a fun little book about why we procrastinate and gives a little help on the subject. Is it life changing? No. Am I suddenly the most organized and efficient person in the whole world? No. I liked the book and especially love the suggestion to set an alarm in my phone that was called "Stop dinking around and get to work!" and have it go off periodically throughout the day.
Minnie
"The structured procrastinator may not be the world's most effective human being, but by letting her ideas and energy wander spontaneously, she may accomplish all sorts of things that she would have missed out on by adhering to a more structured regimen. Pat yourself on the back for what you get done."

This is a MUST read for anyone with procrastinate tendencies. It made me realize that I'm not necessarily a freak or lazy or too self-important to fit in with other people's schedules, i am merely...more
Rebecca Johnson
This was a delightful quick audio "read". I laughed so hard as I learned that I am a structured procrastinator. What is a structured procrastinator? Someone who gets things done by doing things to avoid doing something else. Boom! There were other gems written in a delightful way to help the reader feel good about their procrastination and both embrace it and leverage it for success! Witty and funny...I would recommend this to anyone...eventually.
Hilary
Looking for a self help book to help you become less of a procrastinator? Don't look here! Inside you will find, instead, a short quick read that will assure you that it's okay to procrastinate, because while putting off one task you are usually completing another task, and really isn't that what being productive is all about? Perry does give one tip for helping the procrastinator manage life more easily - to do lists. Guess who's got a to do list right in front of her that was made before this...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Perry wrote a short and sweet little book about structured procrastination. It reminded me of my professor's essay on gossip in college--kind of an ethics of everyday life mixed with a little humor. I think he starts out strong, by the middle i felt like he made procrastinators out to be a bit shallow/manipulative, and then finished ok. Quick read, accessible, and I felt like most of it was thoughtfully written. Like I said, in the middle or so, he kind of comes off, maybe, a little smug, which...more
Jason
I always liked John Perry's Dialogue on Personal Identity; I used it many times when teaching philosophy. So I have a soft spot for him. But this book it dumb; there is nothing to it. The first chapter, which was the spark for the book and a long-time stand-alone essay, is perhaps worth reading online. The rest of the book is transparently just filling out pages. I concede that the tone is (very) mildly amusing, and you get to like John Perry a bit, but it's not really worth the time, even if yo...more
Alan
May 04, 2014 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People whose to-read lists aren't long enough already
Recommended to Alan by: Kim
Philosophers are a pretty flaky crowd, I'm afraid.
—p.27
Sometimes I'm pretty flaky too, though—the review you're reading now is revised and expanded from my original, because I found some notes I'd written and forgotten to include in my original version...


Perversely, albeit predictably, reading The Art of Procrastination left me with the urge to put off reviewing it—although obviously I did eventually overcome that impulse. Please accept the relative absence of jokes about procrastination in this...more
Kasandra
A funny look at procrastination and some of its pluses (surprise!), as well as some tips to deal with it. I particularly like the one about putting "do nots" on your lists of to-dos (i.e. do not start surfing the web, do not sit on the couch, sit at your desk, etc.) Also like the tips about giving yourself permission to do a less than perfect job, and using music to help you get going.
John Wood
Instead of doing other things, I am writing this review. The book tells us about structured procrastination. When we procrastinate, we usually are doing something, just not the task we are avoiding. The art is to structure our to do list with tasks at the top that seem to be important enough to avoid so that you accomplish the next task. The author also tells us that we need to accept less than perfect results, enabling us to get things done, doing a completely acceptable job. The author makes m...more
John Martindale
Perry shows how productivity and procrastination are not antithetical, being a productive procrastinator himself, he explains the phenomenon in an entertaining and light-hearted way. Writing this little book was Perry's way to procrastinate on the more important jobs that were on his must-do-list :)

Some fun ideas from the book :)
*Some people try to swipe everything else off the table, so they can merely focus on what they must do. This means when they procrastinate, they just do nothing, sleep...more
Pam
I started reading this book frustrated by my own procrastination and I finished this small 92-page book almost in the same sitting. This book "got me", it made me feel better about myself and gave me several things to think about. I will read again!
Julie
I listened to the audiobook, which was read by the author. While I didn't agree with everything said, there were definitely some good points. I don't know how much they'll help me with my procrastinating (which I definitely do), but I can hope. When he first spoke about structured procrastination I was skeptical. The more I think about it, though, the more I can see what he was talking about. I found myself earlier today doing something "very important as a way of not doing something else more i...more
Milka
This is a funny book on procrastination, written by a philosopher who happens to be a procrastinator. Full of quirky anecdotes and real-life examples, this book won't tell you how to solve your procrastinating habit, but it will at least help you admit you may have a problem, and point out a few tricks. These include breaking things down the Kaisen way (many small steps), and making a list of everything you need to do and NOT do (e.g. not browse the internet when you're supposed to be working on...more
Robin
Jan 12, 2013 Robin marked it as to-read
I really want to read this, but think I'll wait for a week, or two, or three...
Nathan Marchand
After putting off reading for a few days I decided to read this.
This is not a how to stop procrastinating but how to feel good about yourself, which I think it accomplishes. If you saddened by the fact you procrastinate this book will help you realize it's not that bad and you are actually still productive.
I found myself relating to the structured procrastinator examples. Author refers to an essay he wrote but it isn't included.
It short so if you find yourself frustrated at not being productive...more
Hui Fang
Perhaps the anticipation of the book heightened my expectation for the book, I was very disappointed with the book.

Several months ago, I read the award winning essay on "Structured Procrastination" by John Perry, and I thought it is pretty insightful. It's about one getting a lot of other things done by procrastinating to do what they are supposed to do. I thought I might be one myself, so I am all excited to get my hands on this book "The Art of Procrastination" (the first chapter is the essay...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John R. Perry (born 1943) is Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside. He has made significant contributions to areas of philosophy, including logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philoso...more
More about John R. Perry...
A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality Personal Identity Dialogue on Good, Evil, and the Existence of God Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness

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“When I was a young philosopher, I asked a senior colleague, Pat Suppes (then and now a famous philosopher of science and an astute student of human nature), what the secret of happiness was. Instead of giving me advice, he made a rather droll observation about what a lot of people who were happy with themselves seem to have done, namely:
1. Take a careful inventory of their shortcomings and flaws
2. Adopt a code of values that treats these things as virtues
3. Admire themselves for living up to it
Brutal people admire themselves for being manly; compulsive pedants admire themselves for their attention to detail; naturally selfish and mean people admire themselves for their dedication to helping the market reward talent and punish failure, and so on.”
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“All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this negative trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, such as gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important. If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him to do it. The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely, and important tasks, however, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.” 2 likes
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