Bored and Brilliant Book Summary - Bored and Brilliant Book explained in key points
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Bored and Brilliant summary

Manoush Zomorodi

How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self

4.4 (69 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi is a guide to reclaiming creativity and productivity by unplugging and embracing boredom. Through thoughtful exercises, readers are encouraged to examine how technology is affecting their lives and to find balance in the digital age.

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    Bored and Brilliant
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Our avoidance of boredom might be hurting our creativity.

    It’s Sunday afternoon and you’ve got nothing to do. Truly nothing – the internet is down, you’re all alone, your phone is dead and there aren’t any books. You get the picture.

    Does this sound like the most mind-numbingly boring and awful thing ever?

    To give you a sense of the level of dislike we have of boredom, consider a study conducted at the University of Virginia. In the experiment, participants were exposed to three types of stimuli: music, images and mild electric shocks. After some time, the participants were asked whether they’d be willing to pay to stop the shocks, and 75 percent of them said they would.

    The participants were then given 15 minutes to think things over. They were left alone and given a button that, if pressed, would shock them. Here’s the weird part: one-third of the participants who’d said they’d pay a fee to make the shocks stop decided to press the button in an attempt to keep the boredom at bay.

    So we prefer the pain of minor electrocution to the agony of boredom. This is a shame, because boredom is a boon.

    For starters, it can boost creativity.

    Think back to the last argument you had. Did you manage to deliver quip after biting quip, utterly vanquishing your opponent? Or was it later, when you were alone, that you came up with those perfect comebacks?

    When we’re engaged in the moment, our executive attention network kicks into action. Although this makes us more ready and alert, it inhibits and controls our attention, making it harder to cook up great ideas. It’s only in moments of boredom that this network switches off, and our brains shift toward creative thinking.

    You see, our brains don’t just shut off when we’re bored. They’re still very active, using about 95 percent of the energy that an engaged brain requires. The difference is this: when bored, we become less focused and our mind starts drifting, shuffling through old memories and reflecting on the present and the future. We create unexpected connections, which lend themselves to creativity.

    So boredom isn’t all bad – but it sure is rare these days.

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    What is Bored and Brilliant about?

    Bored and Brilliant (2017) posits that the constant distractions of modern life – from smartphones to advertisements to email – are depriving us of a crucial resource: boredom. When we’re constantly busy or being entertained, we have no time to process information or let our minds wander. This not only makes life more stressful; it harms our creativity, making it harder for us to come up with brilliant ideas.

    Bored and Brilliant Review

    Bored and Brilliant (2017) explores the impact of constantly being connected and offers practical solutions to reclaim our creativity and focus. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a fascinating exploration of the effects of digital distractions on our ability to think and be creative.
    • The book offers practical challenges that help readers disconnect from their devices and unlock their creative potential.
    • With its thought-provoking insights and personal anecdotes, it challenges conventional wisdom and encourages readers to rethink their relationship with technology.

    Best quote from Bored and Brilliant

    The currency of information is attention.

    —Manoush Zomorodi
    example alt text

    Who should read Bored and Brilliant?

    • People feeling overwhelmed by the pace of the modern world
    • Smartphone addicts
    • Aspiring creatives

    About the Author

    Manoush Zomorodi is a journalist, radio host and author. She’s best known for her award-winning podcast, Note to Self, which is about technology and people’s relationship to it.

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    Bored and Brilliant FAQs 

    What is the main message of Bored and Brilliant?

    The main message of Bored and Brilliant is to embrace boredom and harness the power of boredom to boost creativity and overall well-being.

    How long does it take to read Bored and Brilliant?

    The reading time for Bored and Brilliant varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in approximately 15 minutes.

    Is Bored and Brilliant a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Bored and Brilliant is a thought-provoking book that offers valuable insights into our relationship with technology. It's definitely worth a read for those seeking a healthier digital lifestyle.

    Who is the author of Bored and Brilliant?

    The author of Bored and Brilliant is Manoush Zomorodi.

    What to read after Bored and Brilliant?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Bored and Brilliant, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
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    • The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • Do Hard Things by Steve Magness
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
    • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Beginners by Tom Vanderbilt
    • The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim