Author, "Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, From Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me"
Andrew Santella is an author, journalist and keynote speaker who writes and speaks on themes both timeless and immediate: procrastination and creativity, anxiety and anger, fatherhood and grief.
In his most recent book, Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me, Santella digs into the stories of history’s greatest delayers, and shows how their struggles with habitual distraction offer insights into how we can work productively in our time. Drawing on psychology, economics, mythology and literature, Santella shows how indecision and deferral have bedeviled even history’s most creative achievers, and offers simple advice about meeting deadlines — and about recognizing which deadlines may not be worth meeting.
Santella has written for such publications as GQ, the New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, and Slate. His story "No Time For You," about careerism and personal relationships, won a Best Article of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. His piece on the science of happiness was named one of the year's notable essays by the editors of the Best American Essays series. Reviewers have praised his work as “funny and smart” (BookForum) and “well-researched” (the Wall Street Journal), and declared Santella “a sophisticated essayist” (Strategy+Business).
Distractions, Detours, and Creativity
Flooded with information and endlessly multitasking, many of us have trouble staying focused on our creative projects. In that way, we are exactly like the Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Like Leonardo, we often give in to distraction, and work on anything except what we’re supposed to be working on. And occasionally, what seem to be missteps or detours turn out to be creative breakthroughs. Telling stories of distracted freelancers from the Renaissance to the present, Santella shows how Leonardo’s habitual distraction offers insight for working in today’s gig economy.
Lessons of the Great Procrastinators
As long as there have been jobs to do, people have found ways to put off doing those jobs. Consider Charles Darwin, who for years set aside work on his theory of natural selection to obsessively study earthworms and edit a gardening magazine. Santella introduces audiences to Darwin and other great achievers who lived double lives as committed procrastinators. Drawing on stories from psychology, economics, mythology, and literature, Santella shows how habitual delay has bedeviled even history’s most creative geniuses. Understanding why we procrastinate, Santella tells audiences, clarifies our own priorities and enhances our creative power.
Learning to Love Deadlines
Whether at school, at work or when paying the bills, deadlines are an eternal fact of life. So why are so many of us so lousy at meeting them? Drawing on sources as diverse as Shakespeare, the Odyssey and Loony Toons, Santella analyzes some of literature’s most notorious deadline-violators — and considers the strange legend of St. Expedite, the patron saint of punctuality. Santella argues that our trouble with deadlines has less to do with time management than with our ambivalence about what the world expects of us. He offers simple advice about meeting deadlines — and about recognizing which deadlines are not worth meeting.
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