Focus

Rating: 3/4 (If your daily life is being strung tight by too many distractions, Focus might be a handy guide to peek into.)

Focus is the latest book by Leo Babauta, famous for his Zen Habits blog. The book is an edited compilation of his writings at Zen Habits and Mnmlist on the subject of focus. This is the latest in the series of books that seem to recommend single-tasking in our distraction and gadget filled lives. The theme is quite akin to The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, which I read recently and which I feel is quite influential. Focus can be summed up by this Charles Dickens quote:

“He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.”

Focus is well organized, leading from the motivation, to recognizing the distractions, to practical ways to simplify life and finding focus. As you might guess, there is no magic bullet. The solution lies in recognizing the fact that with the finite time and attention we have, there is only so much we can achieve. So, why not throw the rest overboard and concentrate on what is attainable and brings us happiness? This is easier said than done in our consumerist culture that emphasizes ownership of objects and in this digital age where everyone expects one to be available and answerable 24/7 on the Internet. The book leads the reader gently through methods, rituals and habits that can help the process of attaining single-tasking and mindfulness.

If you already read the Zen Habits and Mnmlist blogs, there might be not much takeaway from this book. Though I must say, it is nice to read it all as one purposeful book. The book reads gently, the chapters are short and easy to read, think and apply. The book is freely available and it would not be surprising if it becomes quite popular. If you find your daily life being strung tight by too many distractions, Focus might be a handy book to peek into.

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