Reading List: Busy

UPDATED: May 22, 2023
PUBLISHED: June 27, 2015

Next time you start to describe yourself as “busy,” you might want to take a pause and consider what Tony Crabbe has to say about the word’s real meaning. According to Crabbe, busy is avoidance—a way to put off the hard stuff. When we have to choose between skimming through email and grappling with a complex project, we’re likely to choose the easier email route.

Busy is also a brand, writes Crabbe. “When we demonstrate our busyness to the world… we proclaim our value,” he says. Crabbe goes on to explain why busyness is an addiction (a dopamine hit is involved). You’ll want to ban “busy” from your vocabulary after reading Crabbe’s delightful takedown of busyness as an excuse, explanation and ultimately self-aggrandizement. (To be clear, Crabbe isn’t advocating sloth or laziness.)

Crabbe presents an array of techniques and tactics to help readers relinquish their busyness and gain control of their lives. Written in short sections with graphical breaks, pullouts and bullet points, Busy is a very smart, fun and enlightening read.

by Tony Crabbe
July; Grand Central Publishing; $28