December 14, 2022

Book review: Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman

Practise doing nothing. [p. 244]

I planned to write a long and thorough review about the most fascinating book I’ve recently read. But instead, I spent most evenings with my teething baby, reading one or two pages, before being too tired to read and simply falling asleep. But, as the festive season is approaching (and January!), I thought I’ll still write a short review and choose a few quotations to give you a little flavour of this intellectual treat.

Why ‘four thousand weeks’? As we read in the introduction: “[t]he average lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short. […] Assuming you live to be eighty, you’ll have had about four thousand weeks.” [p. 3]

It points out the absurdity of our modern ‘better’ life: “Life, I knew, was supposed to be more joyful than this, more real, more meaningful, and world was supposed to be more beautiful. We were not supposed to hate Mondays and live for the weekends and holidays. We were not supposed to have to raise our hands to be allowed to pee. We were not supposed to be kept indoors on a beautiful day, day after day.” [Charles Eisenstein, p. 12]

“You breathe a sigh of relief, and as you dive into life as it really is, in clear-eyed awareness of your limitations, you begin to acquire what has become the least fashionable but perhaps most consequential of superpowers: patience.” [p. 170-1]

And I also want to mention my two fav words: happenstance and finitude.

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to wish you a joyful and peaceful festive season and a very prosperous 2023. Merry Christmas!