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

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  2,672 ratings  ·  454 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
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  2,672 ratings  ·  454 reviews


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Jeanette (Again)
This is a great little book. I should review it, but I'll probably never get around to it.
Irina
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
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Netta
Mar 28, 2018 added it
Shelves: read-2018
Hilarious, not utterly useless book which helped me realise I'm not at all a procrastinator.
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
Matt Diephouse
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was short, light-hearted, and interesting. A pretty terrific combo.

A summary of the contents, by chapter:

1. Procrastinators can still get things done. Practice "structured procrastination", where you avoid some large, actually unimportant task by completing other, actually important tasks.

2. Procrastination is often caused by a desire to do something perfectly. Give yourself permission to do merely an adequate job on something and you may find the time to do it.

3. To-do lists are an ef
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Nadja
Feb 11, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: humor-and-satire
I'll read it
tomorrow
Hilary
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
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
Karin
This was a fun read, with some of the essays being better for me than others. This is philosophy light, as in it's easy to understand. Like all of philosophy, there is plenty to argue with if you don't agree. It is impossible to have a world where philosophers all agree, but this is a fun one.

As a procrastinator who is fond of the idea that creative people are usually procrastinators, I thought his ideas about structured procrastination interesting. I related completely to how books on how to o
...more
Jaye
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction
Exellent marketing of this book.
It's small in every way.
I didn't have to put off reading it at all.
And it had me expanding my "to-do" list so I can cross off
more things I've done in order to pat myself on the back more often.
Chiblutis
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good, quick read for when you're procrastinating reading other, bigger books!
Marie-paule
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
not much in this book. ok some people never get anything done and would be real proscratinators ... there are probably a few of them, there is survival instinct that keeps everybody moving and do something to keep alive ! then there are the structured proscratinators, a new concept, for the ones that get things done but not exactly the things they should be doing ...this is so broad now that anybody can feel a bit in this category for posponing doing things they don't want to do ...and yes it's ...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
Troy Blackford
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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!
Robin
Jan 12, 2013 marked it as to-read
I really want to read this, but think I'll wait for a week, or two, or three...
Lpeterso
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
What would you expect to find in a book about procrastination? Well, for starters, you wouldn't expect a tome on the subject; maybe something more along the lines of a pamphlet would be about right. Perhaps a little bit of an explanation of the pros and cons of procrastination. Maybe some tips about how to do it less. Yes?

If you are a person who sometimes feels guilty for procrastinating this is a little gem that may help you find the silver lining, and maybe even make that silver lining bigger.
...more
Ashley Pang
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a structured procrastinator myself, I read this book with the intention of putting off a more important video editing project; additionally, writing this review is yet another lower priority task.

I had originally procrastinated reading this book and found it fitting that a procrastinator’s self help book was concise and thin (the very reason I started the book in the first place) and for that I am incredibly thankful.

John Perry’s book was insightful and a light comedic read. I throughly enjoy
...more
Daniel
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Daniel by: Sebastian Hellmann
I honestly cannot remember when I had that much fun with a book. And on top of that, it gave me a refreshing new perspective on procrastination that I found helpful even though I would not call myself a procrastinator. A quick read that's absolutely worth it!
Hanna
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Pretty fun and interesting, even if I don't think it can help that much. Then again, I don't really expect a book to change things on the way I love my life (or at least not this type of book hahaha), so I'm not disappointed.
Ivan Tchernev
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
A cute, quick little read designed to make procrastinators feel better about life. Appropriately, I'm reviewing this rather than work on something else I should be doing. Better get back to it!
Helen Hnin
A short little book full of light-hearted notes. It's definitely interesting. I love that the author doesn't tell you to change anything about yourself. Which is good because I don't want to change myself.
Vilde
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the book, but I am glad this guy is not a part of my life.
Guang Hao Chong
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
An easy to read book. If it was any thicker, I would surely have procrastinated reading to the end.
John
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
...more
Laura Davis
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick easy read, amusing & some insights. A few ideas on how to manage your worst procrastinator tendencies. Mostly a lighthearted read without serious attempt at reform, meant to make you feel less awful about yourself.

I read it while avoiding looking for work and de-cluttering. Apparently I need a big faux-urgent goal for the top of my to-do list so I can get things done while avoiding the largest task. So... I could write a novel? Learn to fly? Train for a triathlon? So many choices to consi
...more
Gavin
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
structured procrastinator: a person who gets a lot done by [consciously] not doing other [important] things.


This book didn't exactly change my life, but it made me feel better about what I was already doing. (Before, I'd been calling it slingshot akrasia.)

Structured procrastination is that staple from stand-up comedy where the best way to get yourself to tidy your entire house is to sit down to do your taxes.

: All of my reviews, all of my essays were written in the glow and shadow of other thin
...more
Dale
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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
George Bradford
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: truth, america
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
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Play Book Tag: The Art of Procrastination by John Perry 3+ stars 1 8 Dec 28, 2019 09:41AM  

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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

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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.” 5 likes
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