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The Workaholic’s Case for a Four-Hour Day

Americans may have come around to the importance of rest in our frenzied, workaholic society. But what if that’s a philosophical problem? In his new book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang makes the case for rest, not as an antidote to work but as an aid.

The greatest thinkers in history, like Charles Darwin, Ingmar Bergman and Alice Munro, all realized that maximum productivity requires only about four hours a day of focused work. To get the most out of this window, the remainder of the day must be spent doing restful activities, like taking long walks and short naps.

It’s during these times that we draw the inspiration for our greatest achievements. Pang focuses on creative types with flexible days, but we can all benefit from downtime. “We shouldn’t regard rest as a mere physical necessity to be satisfied grudgingly,” he writes. “When we stop and rest properly, we’re not paying a tax on creativity. We’re investing in it.”


This appears in the November 28, 2016 issue of TIME.
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