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Synopses & Reviews
A radical argument that we are living on the wrong clock--one that tells us time is money--and that there are other ways of experiencing time that offer bold, hopeful possibilities for ourselves and the planet from the New York Times bestselling author of How to Do Nothing.
Our daily experience, dominated by the corporate clock that so many of us contort ourselves to fit inside, is destroying us. It wasn't built for people, it was built for profit. This is a book that tears open the seams of reality as we know it — the way we experience time itself — and rearranges it, reimagining a world not centered around work, the office clock, or the profit motive. Explaining how we got to the point where time became money, Odell offers us new models to live by — inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological, and geological time — that make a more humane, more hopeful way of living seem possible.
In this dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful reframing of time, Jenny Odell takes us on a journey through other temporal habitats. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days, alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding. The stretchy quality of waiting and desire, the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory, the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy, or the time it takes to heal from injuries — physical or emotional. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life, to imagine a life, identity, and source of meaning outside of the world of work and profit, and to understand that the trajectory of our lives — or the life of the planet — is not a foregone conclusion. In that sense, "saving" time — recovering its fundamentally irreducible and inventive nature — could also mean that time saves us.
"This is a moving and provocative game changer." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"At this pivotal historical moment, when so many of us are struggling with burnout, anxiety about the future, and a gnawing dissatisfaction that things don't have to be like this, in strides Jenny Odell with the exact book that we needed. Odell masterfully dissects the origins of our many destructive beliefs around work, leisure, and self-improvement, while also offering a way for us to be free of them. Saving Time is an exposé of our past, an antidote to our present, and a manifesto for the future. It is rigorous, compassionate, profound, and hopeful. It is one of the most important books I've read in my life." Ed Yong, author of An Immense World
"I experience Jenny Odell's work as the rarest kind of intervention: It alters you immediately, and then it lasts. She is alive to the bleakest aspects of contemporary existence — the brute-force instrumentalization of our time, our planet, our humanity — and yet finds a way to transubstantiate grief into vision....Saving Time is an inimitable gift." Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror
"Odell has gifted us a way to move through this intertidal moment by reclaiming our more intuitive, felt experience of the passage of time. She puts words to our shared disorientation and models a way to navigate a present dominated by its uncertain future. It's a beautiful, clarifying, and surprisingly reassuring literary triumph." Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock
"Saving Time is about what it means to be on the clock, personally, politically, and existentially. Odell's writing glows. Reading this book is like being in the company of a particularly thoughtful friend: Odell shows you the truths of the structures you inhabit and then, warmly, attempts to protect you from your own nihilism." Alissa Quart, author of Bootstrapped
"This important book is a revealing exploration of the forces that keep us locked in a shallow, commodified, and adversarial relationship with time. But it is also a portal to a far richer alternative. To read it is to slip through the bars of our modern temporal prison and experience how freedom might feel." Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
"This fiercely generous new book by Jenny Odell invites us to exit the superhighways and explore the scenic detours, byways, rebel camps, the other visions of who we can be while reminding us that slowness can yield more than speed." Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me and A Field Guide to Getting Lost
About the Author
Jenny Odell is a multi-disciplinary artist and author. Her first book was the New York Times Bestseller, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Times, Sierra Magazine, and more. She lives in Oakland, California.