Dey Street Books
On Sale: March 13, 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
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An entertaining, fact-filled defense of the nearly
universal tendency to procrastinate, drawing on the
stories of history’s greatest delayers, and on the work
of psychologists, philosophers, and behavioral economists
to explain why we put off what we’re supposed to be doing
and why we shouldn’t feel so bad about it.
Like so many of us, including most of America’s
workforce, and nearly two-thirds of all university
students, Andrew Santella procrastinates. Concerned about
his habit, but not quite ready to give it up, he set out
to learn all he could about the human tendency to delay.
He studied history’s greatest procrastinators to gain
insights into human behavior, and also, he writes, to
kill time, “research being the best way to avoid real
He talked with psychologists, philosophers, and priests.
He visited New Orleans’ French Quarter, home to a shrine
to the patron saint of procrastinators. And at the home
of Charles Darwin outside London, he learned why the
great naturalist delayed writing his masterwork for more
than two decades.
Drawing on an eclectic mix of historical case studies in
procrastination—from Leonardo da Vinci to Frank Lloyd
Wright, and from Old Testament prophets to Civil War
generals—Santella offers a sympathetic take on habitual
postponement. He questions our devotion to “the cult of
efficiency” and suggests that delay and deferral can help
us understand what truly matters to us. Being attentive
to our procrastination, Santella writes, means asking,
“whether the things the world wants us to do are really
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