Burnout Book Summary - Burnout Book explained in key points
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Burnout summary

Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

4 (269 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

"Burnout" by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski explains the impact of chronic stress on women's lives and offers practical tools to overcome burnout. The book emphasizes the importance of rest, connection, and authenticity to achieve well-being.

Table of Contents

    Burnout
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Emotional exhaustion is a component of burnout, and it can happen when we get emotionally stuck.

    Do you know that feeling when you’re completely and utterly exhausted, yet there’s something in the back of your mind saying you still haven’t done enough? If you’re a woman, chances are you’re all too familiar with this sense of being overwhelmed by life.

    When it feels like you’re constantly trying to meet your own demands and expectations and those of your job, family and friends, you can easily slip from benign tiredness to stress, anxiety and emotional exhaustion.

    Emotional exhaustion happens after you’ve spent too much time caring too much. It is the first of three components identified by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger in 1975 in his clinical definition of burnout.

    Second is depersonalization, which is when you find your capacity for compassion, empathy and caring dwindles.

    The third component of burnout is a decreased sense of accomplishment. In other words, that feeling of “nothing I do matters.”

    All of these symptoms may sound familiar to you, but you may not know how they come about. For starters, how exactly can one exhaust one’s emotions? The answer? It happens when we get stuck.

    You can think of an emotional experience like a tunnel: it starts, then you’re in the middle of it, and then it ends. However, when you’re experiencing the same emotion all day and every day, there is no satisfactory end to that feeling. You’re stuck in the emotional tunnel with no relief.

    So it’s no wonder that people in jobs that require caring and helping, such as teaching and the medical profession, report very high levels of burnout. Some 20 to 30 percent of teachers admit to it, and for the medical profession, it’s upward of 52 percent. It may come as no surprise to hear that parental burnout is a fast-growing phenomenon.

    Fortunately, there are strategies to keep burnout at bay. And no, we’re not talking about bath bombs and coloring books; we’re talking about real, scientifically sound strategies to make sure you don’t get stuck in your emotions.

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    What is Burnout about?

    Burnout (2019) offers women an honest and practical look at the causes of their everyday stress and anxiety and the different ways in which science can help. Since women continue to face a very different set of expectations to men, it stands to reason that women also deal with a different form of burnout. Authors Emily and Amelia Nagoski offer scientific, as well as personal, insight into what’s really going on and what women can do to not only persist but thrive in the modern world.

    Burnout Review

    Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle (2019) is an illuminating book that explores the hidden causes of stress and offers practical strategies for managing and overcoming burnout. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With its well-researched insights and evidence-based approach, it provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complex nature of burnout.
    • The book offers practical tools and techniques for recognizing and addressing burnout, empowering individuals to take control of their well-being.
    • Through engaging personal stories and relatable anecdotes, it creates an emotional connection that keeps readers engaged and helps them relate to the subject matter.

    Best quote from Burnout

    No wonder parenting is so exhausting – once youre a parent, youre never not a parent. Youre always going through the tunnel.

    —Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
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    Who should read Burnout?

    • Women facing daily burnout
    • Anyone tired of living up to impossible expectations
    • People in need of stress management tips

    About the Author

    Emily Nagoski holds a PhD in health behavior from Indiana University and currently works at Smith College in Massachusetts as the director of wellness education. She has over two decades’ experience as a sex educator and is the author of the book Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life (2015).

    Amelia Nagoski is a professor of music who works extensively in communications science and explores the connections between art and science. She teaches at Western New England University where she conducts music as well as educational seminars such as “Beyond Burnout Prevention: Embodied Wellness for Conductors.” She is also the identical twin sister of Emily Nagoski.

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    Burnout FAQs 

    What is the main message of Burnout?

    The main message of Burnout is that women can overcome burnout by understanding and addressing the underlying stressors.

    How long does it take to read Burnout?

    The reading time for Burnout varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Burnout a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Burnout is a valuable read for anyone experiencing burnout. It provides helpful insights and practical strategies to reclaim your energy and cultivate resilience.

    Who is the author of Burnout?

    Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski are the authors of Burnout.

    What to read after Burnout?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Burnout, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Burnout Fix by Jacinta M. Jiménez
    • Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin
    • Pause by Rachael O’Meara
    • Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
    • The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
    • Can't Even by Anne Helen Petersen
    • Come Together by Emily Nagoski
    • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • Slow Productivity by Cal Newport
    • When the Body Says No by Gabor Maté