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The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  550 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Notice more, and notice more joy in the everyday.

Distracted? Overwhelmed? Feel like your attention is constantly being pulled in different directions? Learn how to steal it back.

Accessible and inspiring, this book features 131 surprising and innovative exercises to help you tune out white noise, get unstuck from your screen and manage daily distractions.

Make small yet
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 9th 2019 by Ebury Press (first published 2019)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Louise Wilson
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
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 ...more
Adam Fearnall
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Elizabeth A
In this hi-tech, smart phone world, it's easy to not notice things around us. To look but not actually see. This book is a collection of 131 ways to change that. Some of the ideas take minutes and can be done immediately, while others take planning and more time. I dipped in and out, and while I didn't "perform" all these ideas, this is an interesting look at switching out of the regular brain patterns and noticing what is around us. I expect to dip into this one again in the future.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
"What is art but a way of seeing?" John Berger tells us.

To make art, then, we need to see freshly, in different ways.

This book is all about shifting your focus and looking at the world from a different angle, looking at things with a different focus. It's an ideal book for someone wanting to see the world anew.
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
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book of affirmation.
Being a painfully shy, introverted child, I think I grew up already doing these things- noticing, going out of my way to look at different things-- or look at things differently. Challenging my oddly curious mind to make games out of things. To be learning something new, even if my surroundings seemingly didn't change much. (hint: they did, it just takes practice to quiet oneself and notice the changes.)

As we get older it's easier to be busy, distracted, exhausted.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not for me. I’m not sure how this made it on my “to read” list, but maybe it is Squam related. I disliked it, but recognize that I’m probably not the intended audience, hence the three stars. If this is your sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy it.

The author writes, “Art is everywhere, if you say so.” Although I get it, my core strongly disagrees with this statement. I know artists and this theory really undermines their talent.

One nice thing, actually stopped reading this at 20%,
Val Robson
Apr 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
There are 131 exercises in The Art of Noticing designed to get us to notice more, think more, listen more or just get us outside out comfort zone a little and explore new places and things.. They are ranked 1-4 in terms of difficulties in doing that exercise as some may require forward planning. This is really another 'mindfulness type book. I was left frequently asking myself 'why would I want to waste my life doing this' after reading some of the exercises. Do I have better things to do with ...more
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.
Tim Belonax
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting concept but I was slightly disappointed. This book is basically just a collection of exercises to learn how to pay attention. However, a lot of the excercises are very art oriented and some are just plain odd. Talk to a rock? Smell flowers? Write inventory? Surely there are other ways how to learn to pay attention withou looking or feeling like a crazy person. I also thought book of this kind would work better as a workbook with sections to fill in rather than a plain collection of ...more
Out of the Bex
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cynthia Nicola
I'm not an observant person and this was a neat read. I'm going to become more observant just maybe not in the normal way!
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not really a "sit down and read cover to cover" book - lots of good ideas about being more "in the moment", grouped by subject, sort of - ("looking", "listening", etc.) - contains some worthwhile ideas and a few genuinely profound ones, but overall just OK.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The whole concept of this book is awesome. Getting you to notice do much out of your day makes it that much of a richer intentional experience. This book is loaded with simple things you can do each day to strengthen you awareness. Stay curious.
Ruth Saville
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Such a simple concept with simple ideas, beautifully laid out, illustrated and succinctly written. I will definitely be reading it again and making more notes. It has certainly positively changed the way I look at things in an everyday light. I enjoyed the simple, abstract illustrations and feel they added to the book overall.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Caring *is* at the heart of it all.

So happy I decided to read this one. It is well worthy of a revisit from time to time.
Nathan Albright
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elaine Aldred
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We often seek out new experiences and will travel great distances, striving to make great efforts to find that spark for our creativity. Yet the exercises in The Art of Noticing will make it possible for you to discover that the most mundane environment can be your creative muse.

Because of this, as well as the lively and interesting way in which it’s written, The Art of Noticing is a book that should be on the compulsory list for any creative course be it writing, art, film making and so on. The
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite book of the year. I loved that I learned new things as well as better understood my own love of the unseen in plain sight. My photography is mostly of unseen or ignored details.
It's changed the way I see things, challenged me, excited me surprised me and brought joy! I love this book I can't recommend it enough it's worth every moment of your time.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Although seeing the words "spark" and "joy" in the title may make some folks cringe, this book is a fun gallop through a myriad of ways in which people can learn to observe with intention and thus, become more present in their environment and to others, which unavoidably leads to finding new connections and ways of thinking about problems or situations.

And it's not all about recording weird things you see on your way to work every day (although that sounds really fun!), or drawing instead of
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This caught my eye in a bookstore a few months ago, and I picked it up because, as a writer, I figure it’s a good idea to become a better noticer, so to speak. This is an odd book to review because it’s exactly what the title says it is - it’s a collection of exercises designed to help one pay better attention. And it spans the gamut from exercises that take a little more time and effort to do that ones that can be done easily every day. The book is also broken up into four categories: Looking, ...more
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the book, mostly. If you are in any sort of creative pursuit, and in this context "creative pursuit" can be anything that has the least bit of a creative element at all in it from fine art painter to garbage collector, you can benefit from exercising and improving your ability to look at things differently and notice things that others don't. OK. Fair enough. The book is a collection of exercises that you can do without spending to much time or money. A lot of them are mode up out of ...more
Instead of being constantly distracted by countless things, try noticing what is around you. This book has 131 exercises with 4 levels of difficulty. Some of which you can do there and then, others that need a bit of time or preparation. You may not want to do all but there's bound to be something you'll want to try.
Some examples are to draw something instead of taking a photo, spend a long time looking at one thing, or go back and see it many times until you see something different. Try to look
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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 ...more