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The Lost Art of Doing Nothing

How the Dutch Unwind with Niksen

By Maartje Willems

Illustrated by Lona Aalders

“The best thing about niksen is the absence of a goal. It doesn’t serve a purpose, but it’s wonderful.”

Don’t you think it’s time for a break? Plagued—as we are!—by nonstop pings and notifications, we have lost the knack of zoning out. Kicking back. Slacking off. Even when pandemic-induced lockdowns forcibly cleared our calendars, many who thought I’m free! filled their days with Netflix and doomscrolling. How can we reclaim our free time (planned or not) to truly rest and reset?

The Dutch have it figured out: with niksen. Perhaps their best-kept lifestyle secret, niksen is the art of doing, well, nothing. It’s the opposite of productivity, and it’s incredibly good for your . . .
  • MIND—it makes you calmer.
  • BODY—it offers rest on hectic days.
  • CREATIVITY—it clears a space for brilliant ideas.
  • WALLET—it’s free!
If you’re waiting for an invitation to go lie down in the sunshine, this book is it.

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Meet the Authors
Maartje Willems headshot

Maartje Willems

More about the author
Lona Aalders headshot

Lona Aalders

More about the author
Review quotes
“A charming and accessible how-to guide to chilling out.”BuzzFeed

“Charming . . . This pleasant, effortless work will be perfect for any busybody.”Publishers Weekly

“I got a surprising amount of guidance. . . . It looks like a coffee table gift book, partly because of the lovely illustrations. . . but there are questions to answer and exercises to try.”The Boston Globe

“This compact book builds a case of why we should do nothing and how to get started. It has beautiful, soothing illustrations that make us feel calm and light. It also introduced me to the term ‘JOMO’ that stands for the joy of missing out (here to replace sad old FOMO). I have experienced JOMO multiple times and I’m glad to have a term for it.”Book Riot
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
March 16, 2021