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The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  41 reviews
An imaginative, thought-provoking gift book to awaken your senses and attune them to the things that matter in your life.

Welcome to the era of white noise. Our lives are in constant tether to phones, to email, and to social media. In this age of distraction, the ability to experience and be present is often lost: to think and to see and to listen.

Enter Rob Walker's The Art
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  129 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Louise Wilson
This is quite an interesting read though am not sure if I will do the exercises as I'm quite lazy that way. There are 131 exercises designed to get us to notice more of what's going on round about us and get our noses out of the moderne technology we have at our fingertips today.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing and the author Rob Walker for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This might be a useful book for teachers to use with students who need to hone their observational, or mindfulness, skills. Art students, perhaps. For the rest of us, there are some good ideas but I didn’t find anything particularly original. Take time to smell the flowers, listen to birdsong, absorb your surroundings. All good advice, if not groundbreaking.

With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House / Ebury Press for a review copy.
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of Noticing is essentially another mindfulness reference guide but it approaches how we become mindful in relatively innovative new ways and these are compiled in the book as 131 different exercises. Each exercise aims to make the reader more consciously aware and to help them notice more about life that may usually pass them by. They are graded by level of difficulty from easy right through to advanced. Mr Walker emphasises the need to pay attention to the world around us and to firmly ...more
Dimitris Passas
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful as well as educating read focusing on the concepts of attention and concentration. The writer, Rob Walker, offers 131 concentration/observation examples, or as Walker puts it "131 opportunities for joyous exploration in all its dimensions, that one can practice in his everyday life. He writes: "Paying attention is the only thing that guarantees insight, it is the only weapon we have against power"Apart from that, there is an interesting introduction where Walker analyzes th ...more
Adam Fearnall
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a bit of a strange thing to write a review before I've read every word of a book, but in this case I think that it's okay. I think that it's okay because this book is so practical that you'll probably put it down almost immediately (a strange endorsement for a book, admittedly). I started to read it on my morning commute and by the 7th page had already decided to put it away and start "noticing" things. Currently, I'm exploring my city for numbers, taking photographs of numbers as they reve ...more
S.J. Higbee
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So the question is, are those 131 exercises really surprising and innovative? Can I envisage myself taking part in any of them, or a close alternative that would be a better fit for my own lifestyle and personality?

The answer to the first question is – yes. All the exercises are slightly off the wall and unusual, requiring a shift from everyday thinking – to the extent that some of them are used to help art students hone an alternative, original view of the world. Some of my favourites include t
Out of the Bex
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fantastic book for creatives.

Very often I find books promising to inspire the creative mind are more constraining than liberating. I’m pleased to report Rob’s book has surpassed the usual humdrum of fruitless prompts and instead produced something so practical and unique it will be a welcome addition to any artistically-minded reader’s shelf.

Highly recommend!

The book is divided into sections by each of the five senses. It is essentially a compilation of ideas and exercises from various c
Tim Belonax
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
I love art assignments or prompts that encourage tangential looking/thinking, so this book was squarely in my wheelhouse. I love that you can read it straight through or cut to a page and read a passage or two. There are fun, thoughtful prompts that I believe would serve a lot of people some good.
Rachel A.  Dawson
Big fan of this one— already added it to my Amazon cart so I can have a copy on hand whenever I need a creative boost! It’s chock full of exercises (from easy to more advanced) to help you really keep your eyes open, fuel your creative fire, and stay inspired, and I looooved it. I already put a few into action (and felt super validated by some I already do!) and found them so helpful and motivating.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A surprisingly interesting book. Based on the idea that there are too many distractions in our lives, we should practise paying attention and being more curious. With over-stimulation, there is a danger we become indifferent to the people and places around us. This book encourages us to "rediscover our sense of creativity and wonder" and to cultivate an original perspective on life.
Following an interesting introduction, there are 131 exercises for the reader to work through. These are split into
Claire Wilson
I loved the premise of this book and read it in the hope that it would help me be a better writer creatively. It was easy to read it and I finished the book within a relatively short time, but I wouldnt say that I would follow any of the tips within the book. An interesting 3 star read
Nathan Albright
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2019
Admittedly, as a creative person I am someone who is more than usually interested in the quotidian details of ordinary and mundane everyday existence.  As a blogger, I am tempted at times to review the manhole covers I drive over, some of which are more than a little jarring, and I have to admit that this book contains both some challenges I have already profitably taken on my own (like the challenge of standing in front of a piece of artwork for ten minutes or more to build a deep understanding ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite books for this year.
I had been looking for a book like this: instruction manual for a more wakeful meditation, a practical sequel to Ways of Seeing by John Berger, and a sympathetic view of observing the obvious. A companion to Burrough's essay Doing Easy. Something to remind me of William James' focus on attention. Or of:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

I had been doing similar exerci
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Being busy is overrated. Darwin worked only a couple of hours a day and spent a lot of time taking long walks. No matter what line of work you’re in or what kind of life you lead, you will know how easy it is to spend a day getting stuff done…without doing anything meaningful at all. A hypereffective schedule designed to maximize productivity is, in fact, more likely to distract you from what’s important than help you discover it.
Imagine, instead, devoting just one hour a week to consciously di
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: working-smart
3.5 stars. in today's world where presence is a gift and everyone seems distracted by smart phones and busy lives, this book could serve as a tool to get you back on track. it's a reminder that humans have become a bit of a mess and we need a guide on how to notice and observe the world around us. walker proposes some easy to difficult (in terms of time or personal commitment) ideas for honing your observational skills. it's a nice starting point, whether you're trying to spark creativity, build ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The heart of this book lies in how we notice and engage with everything around us. It’s a list of various exercises or ideas concerning noticing the sometimes unseen aspects of our lives and environment. Walker challenges the reader to take another look at your everyday surroundings. It’s a good read to reframe your everyday life, community, and relationships.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I noticed

I thought I noticed a lot already. But this book offers so
many more great ideas! I recommend it to anyone interested in looking at their surroundings in a different way.
John McPhee
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is fun and worth your time

The book says pay attention to stuff that you might not otherwise pay attention to. It has ways to do it and strategies to make it fun and productive. The chapter on StoryCorps was the highlight for me ... “my life matters”, he said.
Emily Hampton Haynes
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
i loved the practical suggestions for ways to slow down and notice. I can see myself returning to some of these exercises and games when I’m creatively blocked, or when I need to entertain a toddler. Funny how those can be similar purposes. :)
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of thought provoking and practical ideas on how to more fully interact with the world around us. It has inspired in me a desire to put some of the ideas into action and, in general, pay more attention to my life!
Larissa Lio
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be an easy read. Very insightful into the thoughts on how to notice
so many tips for noticing and appreciating the world around you.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
pretty much the embodiment of the emoji. They always say "my kid could paint that" but there's a whole genre of "creativity" books that could be classified as "my kid could tell you that."
Jack Baty
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Some great ideas here to help with inspiring creativity. Quite a few also that felt too similar to others. Good skimming, though.
Sarah Bowers
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Filled with brilliant ideas to jumpstart creativity and live a more thoughtful and interesting life. I will be implementing many of these practices in both my personal and professional life.
Brindi Michele
I didn't get as much out of this one as I thought I would. However, there were some unique ideas on how to stop and smell the roses.
Scott Boms
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was everything I hoped it would be and perfect focused plane reading given the subject matter.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Would be a wonderful gift. Great ideas to develop your presence and rekindle appreciation of life.
Lisa Dickson
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clever collection of exercises to stir creativity and break out of your routine ways of experiencing and noticing things. Ingenious, funky, and fun prompts.
Vuk Trifkovic
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! It is like a crash course in applied mindfulness. I loved the playful and quirky angle to it. I was also surprised by how many of those I practiced already, inadvertently or not.

It is the kind of a book I'd like to have a stash of 10 and gift to whoever I happen to believe they would like or benefit from it.
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Rob Walker is a journalist covering design, technology, business, the arts, and other subjects. He writes the Human Resource column for Lifehacker, and has contributed to The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Atlantic, TheNewYorker.Com, Design Observer, The Organist, and many others. His book The Art of Noticing (Knopf) comes out in May 2019. He is on the faculty of the Products of Desig ...more