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Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing

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The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do noth The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do nothing at all. With this book, learn how to do nothing in the most important areas of your life, such as: AT HOME: Find a comfy nook and sit. No technology or other distractions.  AT WORK: Stare at your computer. Take in the view from your office. Close your eyes. IN PUBLIC: Forget waiting for the bus, enjoy some relaxing niksen time. Backed with advice from the world’s leading experts on happiness and productivity, this book examines the underlying science behind niksen and how doing less can often yield so much more. Perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed, burnt out, or exhausted, NIKSEN does not tell you to work harder. Instead, it shows you how to take a break from all the busyness while giving you sincere, heartfelt permission to do nothing.


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The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do noth The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do nothing at all. With this book, learn how to do nothing in the most important areas of your life, such as: AT HOME: Find a comfy nook and sit. No technology or other distractions.  AT WORK: Stare at your computer. Take in the view from your office. Close your eyes. IN PUBLIC: Forget waiting for the bus, enjoy some relaxing niksen time. Backed with advice from the world’s leading experts on happiness and productivity, this book examines the underlying science behind niksen and how doing less can often yield so much more. Perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed, burnt out, or exhausted, NIKSEN does not tell you to work harder. Instead, it shows you how to take a break from all the busyness while giving you sincere, heartfelt permission to do nothing.

30 review for Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Review from an actual Dutch person: We’ve all seen those trendy lifestyle books based a specific aspect of certain cultures: hygge, ikigai, lagom… and now “niksen”, which is apparently the Dutch art of doing nothing. I picked up an advance reader’s copy of this book because I was curious what it would be like to read about Dutch culture from an outsider’s perspective, and because I'm always looking for new books on being more mindful and staying off my phone. It was certainly interesting and most Review from an actual Dutch person: We’ve all seen those trendy lifestyle books based a specific aspect of certain cultures: hygge, ikigai, lagom… and now “niksen”, which is apparently the Dutch art of doing nothing. I picked up an advance reader’s copy of this book because I was curious what it would be like to read about Dutch culture from an outsider’s perspective, and because I'm always looking for new books on being more mindful and staying off my phone. It was certainly interesting and mostly accurate (we do love us some bitterballen), but as a born-and-raised Dutch person, I can assure you that “niksen” is a concept that was made up to cash in on the current trend of lifestyle books, and is not something that anyone here would consider a vital part of our culture. I felt like the book was more of a celebration of Dutch culture rather than actually being about the concept of doing nothing. (If you want to see peak Dutch culture in action, get yourself invited to a kringverjaardag (a birthday party where all the chairs are set up in a circle) where, after congratulating each and every guest with the birthday of the jarige, you can enjoy blokjes jong belegen kaas (little blocks of cheese, often with tiny paper Dutch flags in them) and plakjes leverworst (sausage slices) while talking to someone's neighbor or relative about God knows what, feeling completely and utterly uncomfortable.) I frequently found myself bored by this book and I really had to force myself to pick it back up every day. I was relieved when it was over. The book was too long and repetitive, and after reading a chapter I felt like I read nothing of substance. This book could have stayed the article it originally was. I liked that the author emphasized that “niksen” isn’t for everyone. It may work for you, it may not. For my ADHD brain, it does not. Brb gonna hand in my Dutch passport. :( I guess I’d recommend it to people who are interested in the Netherlands, but not necessarily to people who are interested in learning to do nothing. Check these out instead: How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life is a good one about reducing your smartphone use, and on my to-read list is How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, about actually doing nothing. Disclaimer: A digital copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for a review. In no way does this affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    Oh how I adore this colorful guide to doing nothing, a practice the Dutch have perfected. The cover and illustrations are lively, the message reassuring and perhaps even lifesaving in this time of high anxiety. To wit: Doing less can make you happier, healthier and even more productive. Backed by scientific evidence and brimming with helpful examples, NIKSEN receives my highest marks! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 12 Jan 2021 Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and NetGalley for the review cop Oh how I adore this colorful guide to doing nothing, a practice the Dutch have perfected. The cover and illustrations are lively, the message reassuring and perhaps even lifesaving in this time of high anxiety. To wit: Doing less can make you happier, healthier and even more productive. Backed by scientific evidence and brimming with helpful examples, NIKSEN receives my highest marks! 5 of 5 Stars Pub Date 12 Jan 2021 Thanks to the author, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #Niksen #NetGalley

  3. 5 out of 5

    Milou

    Many an off-day my (not-Dutch) friend would text me asking what I was up to, to which my answer would be ‘nothing’. And almost every time he would tell me to get of my lazy ass (after which I would inform him there is absolutely nothing wrong with my ass). And then I saw this book on Netgalley and I just Had to read it. Because 1) I liked confirmation that I am not lazy, 2) I like to read/hear/see how other countries see us Dutchies, 3) how can one write 250 pages about doing nothing, and 4) if t Many an off-day my (not-Dutch) friend would text me asking what I was up to, to which my answer would be ‘nothing’. And almost every time he would tell me to get of my lazy ass (after which I would inform him there is absolutely nothing wrong with my ass). And then I saw this book on Netgalley and I just Had to read it. Because 1) I liked confirmation that I am not lazy, 2) I like to read/hear/see how other countries see us Dutchies, 3) how can one write 250 pages about doing nothing, and 4) if this doing nothing could make me happy, I needed to more about it. And so I started this book. And foremost, Olga can definitely write. She has a very pleasant ‘voice’, making this an incredibly easy, accessible and just fun book. And sure, there were parts I couldn’t relate to. I don’t have kids, I don’t work in an office, … and still she managed to make even those paragraphs interesting. However, I couldn’t quite connect to it. I spend a lot of the book thinking ‘yes, but…’. And that but was answered about 70% into the book. Because, the main reason I do nothing isn’t because I am taking a break. It is because I cannot motivate myself to get out of bed, so am just staring at the ceiling counting down the time till it is acceptable to go back to sleep. Until I inevitably have to go and take a piss. Niksen is ‘doing something without a purpose’, allowing your mind to wander. It isn’t watching a movie, scrolling on Facebook, procrastinating, mindfulness or emotional labor. And guess what, the last thing I want on those days is for my mind to go wandering about. And luckily Olga says: ‘Just like any other trend, niksen may not work for everyone. [It] is simply not a good idea in some circumstances.’ One of those circumstances is being depressed, burnt-out, down, unmotivated (to get out of bed). So, did I just read a book that book for nothing? Well, no… For one, I really liked the chapter about Dutch culture and send so many screenshots of it to my (not-Dutch) husband. Two, I won’t be down forever. I hope. So even though this book isn’t applicable to me now, it still made me aware of a ‘tool’ I could use in future. Three, the cheats. Not everyone can just go and do nothing. So Olga showed us some things we can do whilst doing nothing, things that don’t take much thinking capacity, cheating our brain. Like listening to music, creating something (colouring, puzzling, knitting), and going for a walk. And guess what, I already do the later two… whilst listening to my audiobooks. So maybe there is hope yet for this Dutchie to one day master the Art of Doing Nothing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Like many other readers, I really enjoyed Meik Wiking's book on the Danish wellness concepts/ practices of Hygge and Lykke. So when I saw a book purporting to be about a Dutch lifestyle/ wellness practice, I was intrigued. And then I was delighted to be approved for an advanced digital copy from #NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The artistic layout of the book is attractive, and the concept of purposefully doing nothing sounded not only good in general, but especially good for the nonsto Like many other readers, I really enjoyed Meik Wiking's book on the Danish wellness concepts/ practices of Hygge and Lykke. So when I saw a book purporting to be about a Dutch lifestyle/ wellness practice, I was intrigued. And then I was delighted to be approved for an advanced digital copy from #NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The artistic layout of the book is attractive, and the concept of purposefully doing nothing sounded not only good in general, but especially good for the nonstop, ever growing stressors of life in 2020. Here's the thing, though. Not only did readers like myself enjoy Wiking's books and similar, but publishers and authors presumably enjoyed the hype and sales that went along with those books. And so marketing another book as similar to those books became an increasing likelihood. Which would be fine, if that's what the book was actually about. But I realized early on in the book, actually still in the foreword by the author, that this book is not like those previous popular books. Why? Because those books were about recognized Danish concepts and practices. Whereas Niksen is a concept made up by an author who is not Dutch, and who has admittedly only lived in the Netherlands for ten years. Regardless of her argument that being an outsider allows her to observe more objectively observe what the Dutch DO, not what they think they do, I still feel there's a basic level of disingenuousness in presenting and marketing a book as being about a Dutch practice when Mecking herself says in the introduction, "Critics, most of them Dutch, have accused me of pulling a trend out of thin air." If the people you are writing about tell you it isn't a practice in their culture, then maybe you should listen to them. Does this make the concept of doing nothing a bad one? No, and I'm sure that the rest of the book lays out a lot of useful tips on how the practice of doing nothing can contribute to our overall well-being. However, that makes it a book about a wellness principle and practice, not a specifically Dutch cultural practice. Mecking goes on to say in the introduction "As you will find out, many cultures have some concept of doing nothing." If this is a general concept common to many cultures, why not write it and market it as such? Was this merely a decision by cynical publishers? Or a good faith but questionable approach originating with the author? Either way, I found I had lost interest in the book, and did not read further than the introduction. I will probably try to find writing on the actual subject--the benefit of spending time specifically doing nothing, or as Mecking says, a practice that "does not mean to work, to perform emotional labor, or to be mindful." Mecking cites another author in the introduction, Jenny Odell, who wrote "How to do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy," and I may go look that book up instead, as I know what to expect with a title like that, and won't be receiving something misleadingly marketed as a cultural practice of a specific country. Thanks anyway to #NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for this temporary digital advanced readers' copy of #Niksen by Olga Mecking. This is my honest opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kerry (lines i underline)

    I preface this by saying that I have read and very much enjoyed all of Meik Wieking's books and my experience with those books is what drew me to request a copy of Niksen. Perhaps I went in with the wrong expectations, but in any case, I was disappointed. I had difficulty completing this book. While Mecking can certainly write capably, I do not think there was enough here to constitute a book. I know she wrote a popular article on this topic, and I'm sure there was more to say than could be conta I preface this by saying that I have read and very much enjoyed all of Meik Wieking's books and my experience with those books is what drew me to request a copy of Niksen. Perhaps I went in with the wrong expectations, but in any case, I was disappointed. I had difficulty completing this book. While Mecking can certainly write capably, I do not think there was enough here to constitute a book. I know she wrote a popular article on this topic, and I'm sure there was more to say than could be contained in an article, but this book felt padded. While Wieking is skilled at weaving research into personal observations and insights about his topic, I did not find the same here. It did not feel integrated, rather choppy and at at times rather disjointed. But most surprising for me is the fact that this concept of Niksen turns out to be one that the author herself invented, inspired by the Dutch culture, rather than one that has existed within the culture for years (like hygge in Denmark for example). I mean, the author is transparent about it, which is important, but it left me with a definite, "What?" reaction when it was revealed. It was disappointing and inspired a double take on my part. I almost set the book down at that point. Fair enough, you can notice that the Dutch in general seem to be good at "doing nothing" but there is something about creating a term and running with it that felt perhaps that the author was trying to jump on the very successful Nordic lifestyle book bandwagon. If framed differently, perhaps as a deeper look at how people in different cultures around the world practice "doing nothing", this book might have come off more successfully. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    This is a sweet little book about the supposed Dutch habit of Niksen, which the author says is the art of doing nothing and which she admits is a concept that many Dutch people have accused her of making up. It has come at a time when there are lots of similar books being written, all designed to convince us there's a happy magic to be found in just slowing down and not doing so much. I agree with this, but I don't think I'm the target audience as I already live this sort of life. Despite workin This is a sweet little book about the supposed Dutch habit of Niksen, which the author says is the art of doing nothing and which she admits is a concept that many Dutch people have accused her of making up. It has come at a time when there are lots of similar books being written, all designed to convince us there's a happy magic to be found in just slowing down and not doing so much. I agree with this, but I don't think I'm the target audience as I already live this sort of life. Despite working from home and homeschooling 5 kids (2 graduated now) and living a pretty busy old fashioned life (foraging, gardening, canning, cooking from scratch and the like), I am remarkably capable at doing very little on a regular basis. :) I lie in hot baths reading books on my iPad, sit in the sun in the back yard with my 17 y/o getting sunshine, spend the afternoon at the lake with the kids and so on. Reading this book seemed like as much a primer on Dutch life (and to some extent, why it's all better over there) as concrete ideas for "niksing." It has cute illustrations and is interesting, but I found it rather forgettable, unfortunately. It would be a great fit for someone who needs to be convinced to put down their iPhone, start saying no to extra commitments (which I suspect the pandemic has helped many do anyway) and just slow down. If you need someone to tell you why this might be a good idea or point you in some good directions to start, this will be a handy and encouraging little book. I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    This was such an interesting book to read! I hadn't expected to fly through a non fiction book as I did with this one. The subjects touched upon in this book were all very interesting and insightful. It really IS important to take some time off for 'Niksening'. Mecking doesn't portray 'Niksen' as THE solution for peace and calmness in your life, and also clearly makes sure that it doesn't always work for everyone. I really liked that, as some self help books tend to portray their methods as THE This was such an interesting book to read! I hadn't expected to fly through a non fiction book as I did with this one. The subjects touched upon in this book were all very interesting and insightful. It really IS important to take some time off for 'Niksening'. Mecking doesn't portray 'Niksen' as THE solution for peace and calmness in your life, and also clearly makes sure that it doesn't always work for everyone. I really liked that, as some self help books tend to portray their methods as THE perfect solution. This wasn't the case for Niksen! As a person living in a neighboring country of the Netherlands, and as a Dutch speaking person as well, I think I liked this book even more. I loved reading some more about the beautiful Netherlands. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be very interesting! If you're interested in how to implement 'niksen' into your own life, I would definitely recommend reading this book. Thank you Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    Sheds a light on what Niksen is and what it isn't. This is crucial because it's hard to think about another movement that competes with mindfulness, self-care, meditation etc. Particularly useful are some Dutch ideas and cultural markers that give the art of Niksen plenty of context and to see how it can work for the reader. Thanks to the publisher for letting me read early. Sheds a light on what Niksen is and what it isn't. This is crucial because it's hard to think about another movement that competes with mindfulness, self-care, meditation etc. Particularly useful are some Dutch ideas and cultural markers that give the art of Niksen plenty of context and to see how it can work for the reader. Thanks to the publisher for letting me read early.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a book about doing nothing, but I felt the text said nothing. It was redundant and poorly written without making a point beyond we should all do nothing sometimes. I read half before I gave up. Goodreads rating: 2 stars (it was ok) I received an ARC from NetGalley. The book will be released on January 21, 2021.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I liked the format a lot. The illustrations were beautiful and the sections of the book were organized in a friendly, easy to read way. I love the voice of the book as well. It felt more like a conversation the author was having with you as the reader, instead of most “self-help” books, where it feels like the author is talking at you or telling you what to do. The vibes of this book I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I liked the format a lot. The illustrations were beautiful and the sections of the book were organized in a friendly, easy to read way. I love the voice of the book as well. It felt more like a conversation the author was having with you as the reader, instead of most “self-help” books, where it feels like the author is talking at you or telling you what to do. The vibes of this book were very chill and comforting. I enjoyed how the book taught me about Dutch culture and practical ways to savor my time spent truly relaxing and doing nothing. It’s very easy to fall into the workaholism trap of today’s capitalist societies and hustle cultures, and she makes it easy to take advantage of a few minutes here and there to clear your mind throughout the day. I also appreciated that she acknowledged how niksen may not be for everyone. It was a breath of fresh air. The only inconsistency I noticed was that the author said Niksen is not mindfulness, but towards the end she suggests practicing grounding techniques and noticing your surrounding as a way to practice niksen; but this is a way to practice mindfulness as well. All in all, the benefits of “niksen-ing” presented in this book made me notice how I spend my time more, and I will try to consciously “do nothing” more often.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Recommendation I can soooo relate. I have been wanting to find time to just stop and watch the clouds pass over head, of watch a sunset, or a moon rise... Just sit quietly and do nothing. It certainly is hard to give yourself permission to do that, isn't it? I have heard it said that the Dutch are the happiest people on earth and I always thought it was the sprinkle! Seriously, who wouldn't be happy eating sprinkles on toast, butter bread, whatever! Then there is this this book- permission gran Recommendation I can soooo relate. I have been wanting to find time to just stop and watch the clouds pass over head, of watch a sunset, or a moon rise... Just sit quietly and do nothing. It certainly is hard to give yourself permission to do that, isn't it? I have heard it said that the Dutch are the happiest people on earth and I always thought it was the sprinkle! Seriously, who wouldn't be happy eating sprinkles on toast, butter bread, whatever! Then there is this this book- permission granted to just sit and be still in the moment. Most of us aren't trained to sit still and just daydream. My family was keeping busy working! Every. Moment. Of. The. Day. If one had time to sit, something wasn't being done! We were assigned work. Never ended. Just exhausting! I could be happy doing nothing. And with sprinkles on toast to keep me company, I'd be the happiest person on earth, too! Lovely book! I need to really slow down and sit still. I think we all do, actually. Covid-19 had ground things to a pretty nice halt. Maybe now is the time to get centered? I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ștefania Ioana Chiorean

    Was super excited to read a new cute book - but mostly is about that - a cute reading but nothing revolutionary. Some quotes: - The attraction of illness lies in its capacity to redeem one of the greatest vices of our society: not doing anything,” writes management professors Carl Cederström and André Spicer in The Wellness Syndrome. - Ben Coates puts it well: “Yeah. You have to fit in. To be gay is completely fine and a man married to another man, that’s fine. But if you put your trash out in the Was super excited to read a new cute book - but mostly is about that - a cute reading but nothing revolutionary. Some quotes: - The attraction of illness lies in its capacity to redeem one of the greatest vices of our society: not doing anything,” writes management professors Carl Cederström and André Spicer in The Wellness Syndrome. - Ben Coates puts it well: “Yeah. You have to fit in. To be gay is completely fine and a man married to another man, that’s fine. But if you put your trash out in the wrong container or on a wrong day, that is a major social scandal.” - Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothing, calls this NOMO, or necessity of missing out. - We’d all be fixed if there was just one way and we could figure it out. People just want one answer. They want you to tell them to go into nature for 120 minutes a week and breathe deeply eight times, and that’s it. People feel it’s simpler if they are given a very clear blueprint, whereas in real life there is much more room to wiggle.” -

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbra

    I would’ve liked a format that has tips at the end of each chapter, but no biggie. The writing is ok, but I like the subject matter a lot. It’s funny, as I was reading this I realized how my body and mind naturally seek Niksen. One silver lining from this pandemic is that I’ve learned how to be ok doing nothing for a few moments each day. Can I be adopted by the Dutch, please? I especially appreciated the part about women not having the pressure to look a certain way since they dress for comfort I would’ve liked a format that has tips at the end of each chapter, but no biggie. The writing is ok, but I like the subject matter a lot. It’s funny, as I was reading this I realized how my body and mind naturally seek Niksen. One silver lining from this pandemic is that I’ve learned how to be ok doing nothing for a few moments each day. Can I be adopted by the Dutch, please? I especially appreciated the part about women not having the pressure to look a certain way since they dress for comfort and practicality. Amen!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Wilhelm

    Fascinating Information This book looks at life and examines how we fill days with work and activities — until we are not taking time to recharge and care for our brains by actually taking time to do nothing — which is actually very helpful. This well- organized book explains the ins and outs to fully understand what is involved. No special equipment to buy! No fancy clothing required! It can be done anywhere (unless you would get in trouble at work for doing nothing). These ideas are sure to swe Fascinating Information This book looks at life and examines how we fill days with work and activities — until we are not taking time to recharge and care for our brains by actually taking time to do nothing — which is actually very helpful. This well- organized book explains the ins and outs to fully understand what is involved. No special equipment to buy! No fancy clothing required! It can be done anywhere (unless you would get in trouble at work for doing nothing). These ideas are sure to sweep the world.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dame Samara

    I had high hopes going into this book, mostly because I think that it is important that people learn to really do nothing, but this book didn't really follow through on the why or how though. Which made it feel more like a new trendy thing rather than something that we should be trying to implement into our lives for the long term. If you're looking for a book that feels more like it's written for the long term I'd recommend "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell *I re I had high hopes going into this book, mostly because I think that it is important that people learn to really do nothing, but this book didn't really follow through on the why or how though. Which made it feel more like a new trendy thing rather than something that we should be trying to implement into our lives for the long term. If you're looking for a book that feels more like it's written for the long term I'd recommend "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell *I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed: September 11, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? I requested and received a temporary digital Advan Date reviewed: September 11, 2020 When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen or the art of doing nothing. Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do nothing at all. With this book, learn how to do nothing in the most important areas of your life, such as: AT HOME: Find a comfy nook and sit. No technology or other distractions. AT WORK: Stare at your computer. Take in the view from your office. Close your eyes. IN PUBLIC: Forget waiting for the bus, enjoy some relaxing niksen time. Backed with advice from the world’s leading experts on happiness and productivity, this book examines the underlying science behind niksen and how doing less can often yield so much more. Perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed, burnt out, or exhausted, NIKSEN does not tell you to work harder. Instead, it shows you how to take a break from all the busy-ness while giving you sincere, heartfelt permission to do nothing. Niksen seems like such a made-up word and concept to me so I googled it - "Niksen is a Dutch verb which means "doing nothing". It has been explored as a method to combat work-related health problems such as stress and burnout". (Wikipedia) I also know a great number of Dutch farmer families that live near me and they NEVER stop working as not working means "no money". The ideas here are great but I am too much of the idea "idle hands are the devil's work" ... no, I am not a religious nut, but I cannot see or imagine just SITTING when there are books to be read and reviewed, COVID19 masks to be made for charity, scarves to be knit for the homeless shelter, Sunday NYT crosswords to tackle, etc. etc. - I always have to be doing SOMETHING. The whole concept just looks like someone decided to jump on the hygge-lagom bandwagon and make some self-help book bucks. If you are looking for a way to calm yourself, or have an excuse to be unproductive, give it a try, but I am decidedly NOT the target market. If you are looking for a cute read, this may be your book and subject to try and emulate. until the next "concept: comes along. (In "Christmas Shopaholic" Becky makes up a word to sell stuff in the estate shop so I could not help but think that this was that kind of idea as well!)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Histoire et fiction

    Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is a new self-help book that offers an alternative to mindfulness and other wellbeing trends by suggesting that you can become happier… by simply doing nothing. But what does “doing nothing” actually mean? "Niksen" is a Dutch verb which comes from the word "niks" which means "nothing". In the first chapter of the book (which counts six), Olga Mecking explains that this term got popularized in 2017 by reporter Gebke Verhoeven in an article entitled Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is a new self-help book that offers an alternative to mindfulness and other wellbeing trends by suggesting that you can become happier… by simply doing nothing. But what does “doing nothing” actually mean? "Niksen" is a Dutch verb which comes from the word "niks" which means "nothing". In the first chapter of the book (which counts six), Olga Mecking explains that this term got popularized in 2017 by reporter Gebke Verhoeven in an article entitled "Niksen Is the New Mindfulness", published in the Dutch magazine Gezond Nu. Intrigued, Mecking, who works as a journalist and translator, published an article almost two years later in The New York Times exploring the concept further. The positive feedback she received to this article made her want to write a book. "Niksen" should not be confused with mindfulness (being in the present moment) or with procrastinating (e.g. scrolling through a news feed on social media to avoid doing unpleasant work). Essentially, niksen means "doing something without a purpose, like staring out of a window, hanging out, or listening to music." The benefit of this practice? Instead of "wasting" time, it lets your mind wander without purpose, thereby allowing you to relax while boosting your energy and creativity. If the basic message is quite convincing, it’s not obvious that it warrants 256 pages. Chapter 2, which claims to show how the concept is uniquely Dutch, is full of clichés and primarily relies on anecdotal evidence, with the author quoting friends and her Dutch teacher to prove her point. Chapter 3 on “busyness” is also a bit weak, insisting on already commonplace ideas, such as the fact that productivity does not depend on the number of hours spent in the office. The subsequent chapters are, fortunately, more interesting. Chapter 5, in particular, contains concrete practical tips for mastering the art of "niksen" at work, at home and in public. It suggests, for instance, that some hobbies like knitting or colouring books are particularly prone to allowing one’s thoughts to wander free. The good thing about Mecking’s approach is that she offers a no-nonsense way to reduce your stress level without feeling that you need to adopt a strong life discipline – and without promising that you will hold the permanent solution to a happy and healthy life. That said, some of the most interesting considerations in the book do not come from Mecking herself but from the many other self-help authors she quotes, including her favourite: Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. One could thus see the book as an easy introduction to recent trends around wellbeing – with a useful bibliography at the end helping readers explore further those ideas that appeal the most to them. The book, to be officially released in English on 12 January 2021, is available in Dutch since March 2020.

  18. 4 out of 5

    SweetheartSeerBooks

    *I was sent an e-arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* Whew! It has been a LONG time since I sat down and read a book in one sitting like this! I was intrigued by the concept from the start which is why I requested this. The idea of doing nothing is a topic I have read about before, and the author of *that* book was mentioned in this one super early on and I wondered if I would wind up not liking this! Thankfully that wasn't the case! Many different works featuring similar topics wer *I was sent an e-arc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.* Whew! It has been a LONG time since I sat down and read a book in one sitting like this! I was intrigued by the concept from the start which is why I requested this. The idea of doing nothing is a topic I have read about before, and the author of *that* book was mentioned in this one super early on and I wondered if I would wind up not liking this! Thankfully that wasn't the case! Many different works featuring similar topics were mentioned and I was pleasantly surprised by how many other books mentioned I have also read and reviewed. I enjoyed how well researched this entire book was. Several studies were mentioned and tied into the topic being discussed seamlessly. Bravo! I adored learning about not only a different culture, but how that culture functions in relation to other cultures as well. I also liked that the author didn't gloss over the less than perfect parts of the Dutch lifestyle either. She presented everything in such a way that while I wouldn't want to necessarily move to the Netherlands, I definitely wouldn't mind visiting some day! The way that Niksen is portrayed to not be a general cure-all for every single person was also unbelievably refreshing! This may not work for you, but it could! That's not something many well-being/nonfiction books even mention. How and why this idea may not work for you. The writing style itself was entertaining, even lightly sarcastic at times, and I liked how the author related her own life to the topic without making everything about her life. It struck the perfect balance of personal and factual. Loved that! I also enjoyed the engagement questions at the end of each chapter to help you connect with what was being discussed. Docking a star for the sections with red text (made it hard to read) and the repetition. I don't just mean the recaps at the end of the chapters, I mean the literal repetition of the concepts again at the end. I feel like maybe this was stretched out more to make it hit a certain number of pages or maybe to hit a certain word count perhaps. Regardless, we didn't need the information recap so often. Overall though this has been the best book to date on this topic that I have come across and that's saying something! I definitely recommend checking this one out for a quick, engaging, and pleasant sneak peek into a different way of life that many of us could benefit from if we allow ourselves to try. *Sets phone down and stares off into the distance for a bit.* ♡ Happy Niks! ♡

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    There are a host of wellness books out there based on concepts from other cultures. You can embrace Hygge and live cozy. You can work on mindfulness. Or you can declutter your home with Marie Kondo or with Swedish Death Cleaning. Or you can do nothing. Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is about how to do nothing in a way that improves your life. It’s not about being bored or sitting in front of Netflix for hours. It’s about learning to take breaks so your brain can quiet and make There are a host of wellness books out there based on concepts from other cultures. You can embrace Hygge and live cozy. You can work on mindfulness. Or you can declutter your home with Marie Kondo or with Swedish Death Cleaning. Or you can do nothing. Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is about how to do nothing in a way that improves your life. It’s not about being bored or sitting in front of Netflix for hours. It’s about learning to take breaks so your brain can quiet and make connections that it can’t find if you’re constantly doing things. Niksen is like daydreaming, when we take a few minutes to turn away from all our screens and just be. It’s looking out the window at the beauty of nature, closing your eyes to rest them from all the harsh lighting, giving your spirit a minute to breathe while putting aside all the busyness. Author Olga Mecking has done lots of research about doing nothing, and she blends the results of scientific studies with wise words from other authors and personal anecdotes to come up with all the reasons why Niksen is good for us, how to niks at home or at work, and all the benefits we can expect from taking the time to do nothing. It’s a form of self-care, and it can make you more creative and more productive. Niksen is a short book filled with colorful, whimsical illustrations, but it also contains a wealth of reasons why engaging in doing nothing is an important part of life. I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about niksen. As someone who has been fighting burnout, I think this will help. I love the playfulness of niksen, and I love that it’s not about being lazy but it’s also not about being productive. It’s about just being, breathing, looking around, and enjoying the moment. This little tome would make a great gift for anyone struggling with overcommitting, overscheduling, exhaustion, burnout, or who can’t set their phone aside for five minutes. It could help, even if the person you need to buy this for is yourself. Egalleys for Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing were provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley, with many thanks.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Violet Laflamme

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. What I liked: It was a breath of fresh air to encounter a writer of a wellness book who wholeheartedly acknowledged that their strategy wasn't going to work for everyone, even if it was really simple. There's basically an entire chapter devoted to that topic and she takes the time to recommend similar but different alternatives for a few example cases. I also liked all of the examples of Dutch culture throughout the book, and esp I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. What I liked: It was a breath of fresh air to encounter a writer of a wellness book who wholeheartedly acknowledged that their strategy wasn't going to work for everyone, even if it was really simple. There's basically an entire chapter devoted to that topic and she takes the time to recommend similar but different alternatives for a few example cases. I also liked all of the examples of Dutch culture throughout the book, and especially insights into things that have worked (or not) for the author before, and how a lot of this was due to where she lives, the Netherlands. (Though of course she's careful to emphasize that you don't have to be Dutch to practice Niksen). What I didn't like: Like a lot of books of this type, it felt really padded out to me. I don't think it had to be a book-length thing, though I acknowledge that getting all this information into a single article would have been tough as well. I also didn't like how much she relied on Gretchen Rubin throughout. I have the impression by the end of this book that the two authors have at least a somewhat close relationship, because they seem to be in regular contact with one another. That's not an issue of course, but it seemed like at every turn the author would try to emphasize her points by pointing out the ways Gretchen Rubin agreed with her. Maybe other readers would disagree, but it was just too much of an appeal to authority for me. Overall: The book was too long, and for this reason I found much of it lacked substance. However, I would definitely say that the author did a great job of explaining exactly what Niksen is, why it's tough to do it, and how you can do more of it (and why you might actually not want to). So, I'd say for anyone interested in books about strategies for slowing down and improving general mental health it's a good one, but it wouldn't be my go-to recommendation either.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pinar Tarhan

    Olga Mecking’s book is wonderfully entertaining, educational, and relaxing. And best of all, it isn’t your average wellness book. For one thing, Mecking isn’t fond of wellness trends, especially if they preach their methods work for everyone. She finds that these kinds of trends and books cause more stress because they don’t consider your personal circumstances and the culture you live in. I’m glad Olga takes into account why and when niksen might be good for you, and when you probably shouldn’t a Olga Mecking’s book is wonderfully entertaining, educational, and relaxing. And best of all, it isn’t your average wellness book. For one thing, Mecking isn’t fond of wellness trends, especially if they preach their methods work for everyone. She finds that these kinds of trends and books cause more stress because they don’t consider your personal circumstances and the culture you live in. I’m glad Olga takes into account why and when niksen might be good for you, and when you probably shouldn’t attempt or force it. She talks to many experts in her book, including business psychologists and other authors. Olga’s conversational and friendly style can have you devouring it in one cozy setting. But I read the book slowly but surely, true to the spirit of niksen. As I read the book, I consciously tried to add more niksen to my week. Long story short? I recommend reading Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing to curious minds, anxious professionals, restless souls, and anyone who thinks they need to slow down a bit. If you find yourself constantly wishing for more time, especially more time to wind down, you should read this book. Reading it has a soothing effect. It will also show you that you are not alone. Another thing I love about this book is that it doesn’t claim to be a be-all-end-all for wellness. In fact, both the writer and the book are highly skeptical of trends and one-size-fits-all advice. Olga even features a section detailing who shouldn’t be niksing and why. As someone who hates standardized advice, this makes the book even more my cup of tea.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book makes a big deal out of how it's not like other wellness trends (eg mindfulness, meditation, essential oils, etc) but that's mostly because it doesn't seem to have any substance at all. What is niksen? It's nothing. Like, it's actually not anything. It's spacing out I guess? Which is fine, but are you trying to tell me that there are lots of people out there who never do it? People who never stare into space, or sit there with a cup of coffee in the morning not thinking about anything? This book makes a big deal out of how it's not like other wellness trends (eg mindfulness, meditation, essential oils, etc) but that's mostly because it doesn't seem to have any substance at all. What is niksen? It's nothing. Like, it's actually not anything. It's spacing out I guess? Which is fine, but are you trying to tell me that there are lots of people out there who never do it? People who never stare into space, or sit there with a cup of coffee in the morning not thinking about anything? It just seemed to me like the author is saying that this is a "thing" she's discovered that we all need to do...but to me it seems like of course we all do that already, all the time. If her point was that we should refrain from mindlessly reaching for our phones anytime we have a free minute, then ok point taken but then I think we're moving into mindfulness, which is indeed already a wellness trend, and has been covered thoroughly already. Have to mention that some of the people she references/quotes in the book are questionable. There's one whose title is like "Former model, parenting expert, and wellness enthusiast" or something along those lines. I'm not sure I want to put a ton of stock in that. I thought there just wasn't a lot of substance here. A lot of filler, talking about the culture of the Netherlands (which was fun and interesting!) but it also sounds like all the Dutch people she talked to (she is not Dutch btw) kind of pushed back against the idea of niksen, but that didn't stop her. Anyway I would have given it only two stars HOWEVER the artwork is absolutely gorgeous and I can't get enough of it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Yount

    I enjoyed Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Olga Mecking. This book is a light read and offers ideas to increase productivity and overall well-being by intentionally taking real breaks, doing nothing. I was interested in reading this book because I work with Dutch colleagues and have been to the Netherlands many times over the years. The author is from elsewhere but has been living in the Netherlands for 10 years -- long enough to have really experienced everyday life but still I enjoyed Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Olga Mecking. This book is a light read and offers ideas to increase productivity and overall well-being by intentionally taking real breaks, doing nothing. I was interested in reading this book because I work with Dutch colleagues and have been to the Netherlands many times over the years. The author is from elsewhere but has been living in the Netherlands for 10 years -- long enough to have really experienced everyday life but still with some outside perspective. I liked that aspect of the book a lot, hearing about people living and working in The Netherlands. Perhaps those like me who have no problems sitting on a bench doing nothing in particular will feel the ideas in the book are not too innovative and really common sense. And on the other hand those who really have no patience for wasting time may not give the ideas in the book credibility. It’s probably best suited for those who appreciate breaks but have let themselves get too busy or have gotten caught up in mindless addictions like phone scrolling. This is a cozy read that will remind you of the benefits of taking time off and share some insights into the Dutch culture. I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book on Net Galley, all opinions are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    So you’ve Konmari’ed your entire house (or at least have a drawer of items that spark joy and a closet that is best forgotten), what’s next? Why not try Niksen? It’s the Dutch art of doing nothing translated into a new American act of decluttering your mind. Or, according to the Dutch, possibly vice versa. “We strive to be everything, for everyone, at all times. Being a modern-day human is exhausting.” Niksen could be the answer. “Simply doing nothing can be enormously beneficial, especially for th So you’ve Konmari’ed your entire house (or at least have a drawer of items that spark joy and a closet that is best forgotten), what’s next? Why not try Niksen? It’s the Dutch art of doing nothing translated into a new American act of decluttering your mind. Or, according to the Dutch, possibly vice versa. “We strive to be everything, for everyone, at all times. Being a modern-day human is exhausting.” Niksen could be the answer. “Simply doing nothing can be enormously beneficial, especially for those of us who, like me, feel overwhelmed by our responsibilities.” Doing nothing can ultimately make us more productive by avoiding burnout, and encouraging us to work more carefully and deliberately. I love the idea of niksen. Whenever I need a break from life, instead of “daydreaming” I can be “niksening”. It just sounds more purposeful. Unfortunately, and perhaps to lengthen an article into book size, the author throws many side topics into the mix. You don’t learn how to include niksen in your life until well over halfway through the book. However, the largest aside about Dutch culture was one of my favorite parts of the book. Though Niksen, the book, is a rambling, seemingly random trip through the author’s mind and life, I still like the idea of decluttering my mind. 3 stars. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    In the culture of “do it more”, faster, be more efficient and productive, achieve more, become active, bake, dance and whatever else is promoted across all media is really quite difficult to stop sometimes and to think where am I really going? Is this rush really necessary or it’s just a choice, hence plenty of similar books emerged and sharing concept of doing nothing across various captures, and this book is one of those. I found it rather a bunch of combined together comments on various sourc In the culture of “do it more”, faster, be more efficient and productive, achieve more, become active, bake, dance and whatever else is promoted across all media is really quite difficult to stop sometimes and to think where am I really going? Is this rush really necessary or it’s just a choice, hence plenty of similar books emerged and sharing concept of doing nothing across various captures, and this book is one of those. I found it rather a bunch of combined together comments on various sources, researches and quotes done by other people rather then unfolding journey of exploring niksen or doing nothing. It explores various spheres of life with list of ideas on how “simplification” or moments of quietness could be introduced into it, however as this list is also quite excessive, I trust many people can find it overwhelming again, thinking OMG - how on the earth I shall add of of these now? Which is digests the purpose of exploring how to do nothing to me. Think that this book can be considered as support for those people who would like to know that they are not alone in feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks on their hands, but I doubt if the book would assist much to address it and learn how to “do nothing”

  26. 5 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I have been reading several books of this ilk, including Hygge, Lagom, and Sisu among others. This particular lifestyle trend is Dutch in origin and has to do with the “art of doing nothing”, something I used to be quite good at as child, but seemed to have lost the knack for as I aged. The Author writes as an outsider who moved to the Netherlands and observes the culture through that lens. There are many anecdotes I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I have been reading several books of this ilk, including Hygge, Lagom, and Sisu among others. This particular lifestyle trend is Dutch in origin and has to do with the “art of doing nothing”, something I used to be quite good at as child, but seemed to have lost the knack for as I aged. The Author writes as an outsider who moved to the Netherlands and observes the culture through that lens. There are many anecdotes and snippets of interviews or quotes of what people have said sprinkled throughout the book. It is written in a very friendly, conversational style. I found it really easy to sit back with a cup of coffee and my feet up on the couch and read. I did like that the author pointed out not every suggestion works for each person and to take what fits in your life or your circumstances. At the end of each section, there are questions to think about how you can relate what you read to your own life. On the whole, I enjoyed reading it and found it on par or better than some other lifestyle books that are circulating now.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jitendra

    Can doing nothing be enormously beneficial specially for the busy people ? yes and it is called Niksen in Dutch. Niksen comes from a word Niks which means nothing and Niksen means doing nothing. Is it really hard to sit around somewhere and do nothing ? it can be quite challenging for people who are in the habit of working for long hours and do think that they shouldn’t waste time by sitting idle. The author says that one of the reasons Niksen is so hard is because we feel ashamed when we engag Can doing nothing be enormously beneficial specially for the busy people ? yes and it is called Niksen in Dutch. Niksen comes from a word Niks which means nothing and Niksen means doing nothing. Is it really hard to sit around somewhere and do nothing ? it can be quite challenging for people who are in the habit of working for long hours and do think that they shouldn’t waste time by sitting idle. The author says that one of the reasons Niksen is so hard is because we feel ashamed when we engage in activities that are apparently less productive. What is niksening or Niksen ? The author says that Niksening is downtime, quiet time, finding a moment to unwind and relax, and may reflect a little. But it is not Niksening if you are doing any work passively, if your job requires a lot of thinking it doesn’t mean that you are not working. It also doesn’t mean sitting at one place and starting worrying about something. It’s neither mindfulness nor watching tv or phone. I think that it’s mostly a problem in big cities where people do not have enough time to sit alone and do nothing. People in smaller cities, towns, villages have enough time to sit idle.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    I really wanted to like this book, as I’ve liked other books on similar topics, such as tidying up and hygge, but this one fell short for me. I was expecting something a bit easier to digest, the research was informative but felt bulky. This may be partially because I was reading an advanced copy, so the formatting wasn’t as easy to follow as the finished copy. I went into this one expecting something that would be easy to read and reflect the idea of “doing nothing” a bit more, and instead was I really wanted to like this book, as I’ve liked other books on similar topics, such as tidying up and hygge, but this one fell short for me. I was expecting something a bit easier to digest, the research was informative but felt bulky. This may be partially because I was reading an advanced copy, so the formatting wasn’t as easy to follow as the finished copy. I went into this one expecting something that would be easy to read and reflect the idea of “doing nothing” a bit more, and instead was sometimes overwhelmed by the research and ideas. I appreciated all the information, but it left me feeling less relaxed than I was hoping given the topic. I would pick up a finished copy, as I think being able to hold this final copy in my hands, see the size and have the ability to flip through the pages would help set my expectations to the correct standard and approach for the contents. I really like the idea of “doing nothing” and understand how taking time out of the day to recharge and daydream is helpful, but when I was reading the ARC I didn’t feel charged up and ready to practice the technique.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Lucia Brînaru

    (Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!) I don't often tend to read self-help books, or books that focus on wellness trends, but I had to get my hands on this one, since it evolved around Dutch culture, which has become such an important part of my life over the last year and a half. And that, I enjoyed. The small tid-bits of Dutch culture we got, I mean. They weren't much, but they were something. I also enjoyed the talk of niksening, or doing (literally) nothing for the (Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!) I don't often tend to read self-help books, or books that focus on wellness trends, but I had to get my hands on this one, since it evolved around Dutch culture, which has become such an important part of my life over the last year and a half. And that, I enjoyed. The small tid-bits of Dutch culture we got, I mean. They weren't much, but they were something. I also enjoyed the talk of niksening, or doing (literally) nothing for the better of yourself and your mental health. It was very well integrated in the `go go go` concept on which today's society is based, and the end of each chapter came with some nice questions you could brood over. That was cool. However, what I did find out is that niksen will never be an option for me. Not long-time niksen, at least. And that, as the author says, is completely fine. I would recommend you to pick up this book if you want to try a new wellness trend that is not as much focused on making the most of your time and not as toxic as those that are mainly being promoted now, but that would be about it,

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Morrison

    When I get particularly stressed, I often find myself shutting down and staring out of the window. I've always berated myself for acting this way, but NO MORE now that I've read this book. Olga Mecking's book breaks down the art of Niksen, explaining not only what it is and how to do it, but also where it adds value and where it might not make sense. Rather than offering up the solution as a one-size-fits-all for every problem in the world, Mecking takes the time to dig into where Niksen is parti When I get particularly stressed, I often find myself shutting down and staring out of the window. I've always berated myself for acting this way, but NO MORE now that I've read this book. Olga Mecking's book breaks down the art of Niksen, explaining not only what it is and how to do it, but also where it adds value and where it might not make sense. Rather than offering up the solution as a one-size-fits-all for every problem in the world, Mecking takes the time to dig into where Niksen is particularly helpful. I particularly appreciated how much effort Mecking put into explaining the cultural and social environment which fostered the idea of Niksen. Don't worry if you've never lived in the Netherlands, you don't have to be Dutch to get what this book is all about. It is the perfect reading for the pandemic times, when so many of us are overwhelmed by the necessity of doing ALL the things. Niksen reminds us to take a break now and again, and do literally nothing for a while.

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