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The Art of Rest: How to Find Respite in the Modern Age

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  815 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Today busyness has become a badge of honour. We want to say we're busy, yet at the same time we feel exhausted. Instead we should start taking rest seriously as a method of self-care and this book can help us to work out how.

The Art of Rest draws on ground-breaking research Claudia Hammond collaborated on - 'The Rest Test' - the largest global survey into rest ever underta
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 21st 2019 by Canongate Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, library, non-fiction
I picked this up from the library when the author was one of the guests on Doctor Chatterjee's podcast. She talked a lot about rest and how it's seen as something wrong, something we should feel guilty over, and I was interested enough to check out her book. 

This book is mostly focused around the Restful survey which was carried out where people were asked anonymously to list things they found the most restful. Each chapter of this book is dedicated to one of the top ten things, why it could be
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been poorly for years with ME / CFS (amongst other things), 'rest' is a big part of my treatment and I've never know how to do it?, what 'good' rest is? or how to rest without guilt? so I thought this was the book for me. And, I got a huge amount out of it. There was science bits, psychology stuff, practical aid, common sense and realistic ideas aplenty all in a very readable style.
Now, I've had my fill of self help books but this isn't one of them in the most obvious sense of the term. If
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In an utterly compelling and engaging book, “The Art of Rest”, British author, occasional TV presenter, and frequent radio presenter with the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4, Claudia Hammond, takes head on, the one elephant in the room which has been singularly responsible in stymying creativity and exacerbating stress levels in the modern contemporary professional world. The hustle and bustle of everyday life, the perennial rat race, not just leaves a greater part of the populace disillusione ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
For all the comments saying this provides ways for you to find rest haven't read the book.
There is no insight for how to become restful, it's just a top 10 list with common sense information in each.
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
For those who aren’t a fan of non-fiction books, this was an unthreatening and engaging read. For those who aren’t a fan of self-help books, this book was humble, relatable and unpretentious. For those who are a fan of both but maybe find resting a struggle, it’s simply a relaxed but informative take on the nation’s favourite ways to unwind (mentally, physically, or both), some of the psychology behind it (making clear that unlike other areas of lifestyle such as diet and exercise, rest has not ...more
Reannon Bowen
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the perfect audiobook. The author narrates & she is engaging, relaxing & so easy to listening to. I loved this book. It was full of interesting & useful facts & just made so much sense.
Nino Meladze
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved learning about rest and how to rest when listening to this audio book. I loved the fact that author was reading the book and it was simple to follow and understand. In a nutshell, I learned a lot about how to appreciate and plan for rest. Also this was very timely as I was enjoying my time off.
Odette Lattimer
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks for the advanced copy of this book. I look forward to putting some of this book into practice over the next few months.

Highly recommended
Sara Diane
Jun 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
I got this from NetGalley to preview.

A good, comprehensive look into rest. It wasn't overly novel, but it was a good read. As a student of how to rest, I've done a lot of research, so it wasn't anything new to me, but it was good. If you are looking for ways to decompress and really embrace rest, read this book.
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing list of restful activities.

Scientifically researched. Based on feedback from 18000 people. Hence more reliable I guess. The top ten include mindfulness, day dreaming, going for a walk, listening to music, doing nothing in particular and the topper is, surprise surprise : READING.

Quick read and reinvigorated my passion for reading.

Go for it.

Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book reads like a delightful – and, dare I say, restful – conversation about rest. Each chapter is filled with interesting research, and I particularly enjoyed the fact that the author doesn't settle for quick answers and digs around for different perspectives on why we might find each of the ten presented activities restful. I only wish the same rigor was applied when presenting The Rest Test – the large-scale survey that was used to select people's favorite ways of resting. That said, even ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've always struggled with the idea of rest. It seemed so... recuperating. The thing you do when you're ill, something that's prescribed as an antidote to being unable to cope with the day-to-day ongoings, or as, please no, missing out on something that's going on somewhere, at some point with some people. I'm not staying in. Something is happening!

When I lived with my nan, she used to look at me concerned, saying pointedly: "you're burning the candle at both ends, Gary", as I'd work hard and p
Antony Mayfield
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you choose to read this book, then it is probably a good thing for you. It's a light, evidence supported reflection on what rest is. It makes you think about how you frame rest, busy-ness and how you might go about getting more of it. Or better. It won't change your life, but it will help.. That's not a bad deal for the price and the time spent reading.

- - - - - -
This is a fuller review after some reflection. I like the book more and more as I think about it after reading...

A lighthearted b
Katy Chessum-Rice
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to Claudia Hammond discuss this book as part of the Hay Festival 2020 online talks and knew I had to get a copy straightaway. In my other life as a yoga teacher, I start each class inviting students to take rest when they need to - but what does 'rest' actually mean? It is not simply a case of lying in bed staring at the ceiling! Hammond takes us through the results of The Rest Test, counting down from the tenth most restful activity (Mindfulness) to number one... Reading!

Hammond's bo
Karen Mace
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to the audioversion of this book.

I found this to be a really interesting listen exploring the art of 'rest' and how we all interpret it, especially in this modern world where we all expect to be busy 24/7. Rest doesn't mean sitting and doing nothing and this book explores the top 10 ways - the results from a rest test survey- of which we can all take a bit more time to rest and find a way of slowing our mind and bodies down.

I have M.E so am very aware of how rest can help me in my rec
Carla Y
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was another one of those audiobooks I just so happened to download from BorrowBox as it was available and, as someone who is terrible at switching off, sounded interesting!

The book begins with an explanation of The Rest Test and the importance with each chapter detailing one of the top ten most restful “activities”.

I enjoyed this book on the whole, despite there not being anything groundbreaking in it. Claudia Hammond writes with an ease that makes it a very easy listen/read. She has a ve
Ellie Butler Church
Jun 29, 2021 rated it really liked it

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘳𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘵: 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘍𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘈𝘨𝘦 by Claudia Hammond does exactly what it says on the cover. It lists the top ten examples of rest, as found by a massive global study on rest. ⁠

In the capitalist age, where 𝙗𝙪𝙨𝙮𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙗𝙖𝙙𝙜𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙤𝙪𝙧, we often push rest to the bottom of our extensive to-lists.⁠

Crucially, this book undoes the idea that rest is a waste of time, instead, it proves that rest allows us to be𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙚 𝙙𝙤 𝙨𝙞𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠. ⁠

As she says
Simon Howard
Nov 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This was Claudia Hammond’s 2019 book which chatted through each the ‘top ten’ most restful activities as determined by a large survey of members of the public.

This was light and fun, with plenty of humour and personal anecdote. Hammond gave a spirited argument for taking rest more seriously, which felt timely for me given that the pandemic has left me a bit swamped with work! I liked Hammond’s “whatever works for you” approach to writing about the topic, which was refreshing given that so many b
Paul Bard
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Social science review of a survey of 18k people on how they rest.

Structured as a listicle of the top ten ways to rest, the apparently mundane top ten list becomes fascinating when Hammond details social science studies that are directly relevant to the way of resting, and less interesting when the research is trite or tangential to the topic of rest.

At worst it feels like the author is trying to argue us into resting more, but at best it is a reminder of the basics of resting daily that will he
Jun 27, 2021 added it
To deal with the stress of life, you need to find a balance between restfulness and busyness. Some activities, like reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, or doing nothing in particular, are popular sources of restfulness. But since everyone rests differently, you should find one or more restful activities that help you unwind and refresh.

Actionable advice:

Confront stress with 15 minutes of your favorite restful activity.

Whenever you’re feeling stressed, take out your prescription
Helen Hearnden
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I began reading The Art of Rest by Claudia Hammond with a bit of trepidation. I wasn't sure what the book would be like, whether I'd enjoy it or find it boring. Having finished it, I found the book very informative, interesting and a great guide to self identification of what is rest to oneself.

It's not a one solution fits all, rather you can look at the ten most popular rest method, chosen by a group in what is know as The Rest Test. I liked the way the book is set out. In chapters, one for eac
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe this book isn't more popular. The audiobook was fantastic, Hammond has a very clear, wonderful voice. My favorite part of this book is how deeply rooted in research and facts it is. I'm so used to self-help books by women being all about personal experience and personal struggles, leaving me feeling alienated for not having the same upper class mom life. Hammond references her personal life at completely appropriate times, and mostly just sites really interesting studies to back ...more
l Green
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was ok
The first, immediate flaw of this book is that it is based on a classic Top Ten list (i.e. what things do people find most relaxing) and then uses this list as its basis for discussing rest. Of course, as the author immediately points out, it doesn't include things that she (and millions of others) find enormously restful, e.g. gardening. And the reason for this - like all Top Tens - is that people only include things they know about. They won't include gardening if they haven't tried it, even i ...more
Lesya Kostiv
It was nice. But that was it. It’s basically some list of activities you can do for rest and science explanations why it’s useful. But I don’t see “the art of rest” here. It may sounds silly, but the book didn’t persuaded me or inspired to have more rest, there was nothing I didn’t know and didn’t do before. I think this book can be useful for people who already have enough rest, but mostly doing it by watching tv and looking fir some new ideas. But it’s not very useful if you’re trying to convi ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Claudia Hammond calls this book a call to rest - she says we need to value and validate rest and it is a necessity for our lives. A survey which informs this book found that two thirds of respondents felt they were not getting enough rest, this book investigates the top 10 activities which those who took part in the survey considered restful. These activities include mindfulness, day dreaming and watching TV. Hammond looks at the importance of rest, the science behind rest and offers us a way to ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 restful, shiny stars, rounded up

Hammond’s book is a call to rest in our over busy world. To be healthier and more productive we need to both value rest and validate it. “Meaningful rest comes not from abandoning our busy lives but through making adjustments and achieving a better balance between work, rest and play.” With clear writing and details, Hammond summarizes the research on ten restful activities.

Some of the restful activities from scientific studies and polls are: mindfulness, wa
Anne Janzer
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It says something that we need this book today—and we do! In a culture that worships busy-ness, it’s easy to forget how to truly appreciate, and make time for, rest and restoration.

Hammond shares the results of a huge survey of people’s restful activities, from daydreaming and listening to music to getting out in nature. I love that reading is the most popular one! She cites plenty of research to back up the survey results. It’s all tremendously affirming.

Since reading this book,, I’ve been more
May 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Should be called “The Science of Rest”

The book is based off a study on the top 10 most restful activities with a chapter dedicated to each. Each chapter then explores at least 4 or 5 (sometimes *many* more) other studies that supports the restfulness of each activity. I feel like the title is a bit misleading and the book taps more in to the logic of rest than the emotion of it. I feel like I would have gotten just as much out of the book by reading the initial and final chapters (which did elu
Aaron Gwynn-Thomas
Mar 06, 2021 rated it liked it
A well written, factual book on recognising and incorporating rest into our lives.

Scientifically, I enjoyed seeing all of the citations of real studies produced about rest, giving the book a great factual grounding. Hammond also personally relates to the reader by revealing her personal faults and preferences and how she fits, or forgets to fit, rest into her own life.

A vital book for workaholics, this will help people understand what rest actually is and how we can get the right amount of rest
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this look at what seems to be a taboo subject in current society. Obviously the lock down due to Covid created forced rest periods for many which, as the author points out, doesn't really do any of us any good, but I enjoyed reading about the various things people do find restful, and the tips on how to incorporate more rest times into our daily lives. A good read that I would highly recommend for those who struggle to give themselves permission to rest and take time to care for ...more
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Claudia is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer. She is the presenter of All in the Mind & Mind Changers on BBC Radio 4 and Health Check on BBC World Service Radio and BBC World News TV. She is a columnist for and regularly appears on Impact on BBC World News to discuss research in psychology. Claudia is on the part-time faculty at Boston University's London base wh ...more

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