Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity by Edward Slingerland

Into the Wild

Read Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity Online Free - A deeply original exploration of the power of spontaneity—an ancient Chinese ideal that cognitive scientists are only now beginning to understand—and why it is so essential to our well-being
Why is it always hard to fall asleep the night before an important meeting? Or be charming and relaxed on a first date? What is it about a politician who seems wooden or a comedian whose jokes fall flat or an athlete who chokes? In all of these cases, striving seems to backfire.
In Trying Not To Try, Edward Slingerland explains why we find spontaneity so elusive, and shows how early Chinese thought points the way to happier, more authentic lives. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. But recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly. The early Chinese philosophers knew this, and they wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). They believed it was the source of all success in life, and they developed various strategies for getting it and hanging on to it.
With clarity and wit, Slingerland introduces us to these thinkers and the marvelous characters in their texts, from the butcher whose blade glides effortlessly through an ox to the wood carver who sees his sculpture simply emerge from a solid block. Slingerland uncovers a direct line from wu-wei to the Force in Star Wars, explains why wu-wei is more powerful than flow, and tells us what it all means for getting a date. He also shows how new research reveals what’s happening in the brain when we’re in a state of wu-wei—why it makes us happy and effective and trustworthy, and how it might have even made civilization possible.
Through stories of mythical creatures and drunken cart riders, jazz musicians and Japanese motorcycle gangs, Slingerland effortlessly blends Eastern thought and cutting-edge science to show us how we can live more fulfilling lives. Trying Not To Try is mind-expanding and deeply pleasurable, the perfect antidote to our striving modern culture.

Title : Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0770437613
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* rated it ★★☆☆☆

April 12, 2014

I did not experience flow while I read this book. I picked this book up after I heard this author interviewed on NPR and the book sounded interesting, but it really wasn't. I'm fascinated by the concept of flow, which was what this book was supposed to be about, and it was...a little. Mostly it re...

Debbie "DJ" rated it ★★★★★

May 03, 2014

Won through Goodreads First Reads.Thank you! This book is outstanding. When I first read the title I thought maybe this was yet another book on "new age" thought. I couldn't have been more wrong. What the author did was guide me through Ancient Chinese thought from Confucius to Zhuangzi. His book...

Eliza rated it ★☆☆☆☆

February 23, 2015

Wow. I tried forcing myself to read this book thinking it will somehow get better or more interesting but quite frankly I don't know if the topic is dull or the author needs to learn how to write. It's just so boring, repetitive and useless. I didn't find this book informative in any way although...

Mengran rated it ★★★★★

May 11, 2014

Succeeding without trying If you ever had a sleepless night, then you will perfectly understand why trying to fall asleep does not usually work. Instead, by making yourself fall asleep, you became more awake and soon began to ruminate how much time had been wasted and how dreadful the next morning...

Jay rated it ★★★★☆

February 17, 2014

From the title of this book, I thought it could go in many different directions. And where it went, I hadn't guessed. This is a description of different Oriental religions through the ages and how they suggest that people reach their own state of flow. And more. The descriptions are wrapped in qu...

Steven rated it ★★★★★

January 20, 2014

Wow, what a book... Full of philosophical ideas from early china and psychological studies from today this book comes together to make an amazing read. Focusing on 4 ways to living our lives and finding happiness we see the good and bad to each, pointing out the benefits and flaws to all of them,...

Fredrick rated it ★★★★☆

January 31, 2014

The author discusses the idea that by not concentrating on a task but actually trying to relax the mind the desired outcome can be achieved more readily. He attempts to encourage the reader to free the mind from distractions as outside influences are reduced. This was a free proof copy and does c...

Amber rated it ★★★☆☆

April 20, 2015

I won this book through the goodreads giveaway program. The book was interesting (although I was bored in some places because it felt like the same things were being repeated). I did like learning about early Chinese thinkers and relating those ideas with my experiences with my Chinese in-laws.

David rated it ★★★★☆

October 22, 2015

When he was a teenager, we all noticed that my nephew Charlie was surrounded by beautiful young women, though he seemed less accomplished than his older brothers (he wasn’t; he was just younger). You’d go over in the morning and one girl would be hanging around, playing chess, go by in the aftern...

Chiwulun rated it ★★★☆☆

July 31, 2016

Overall, it’s a good read that I enjoyed, but it falls about 75% short of its target. Its value is in still having flown 25% of the way in the right direction. An interested reader can pick up the trail and walk the rest of the way himself. In detail: It’s a good overview of the main bullet-points...

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