Artist Jenny Odell explains why place is the antidote to the attention economy

“I think it’s significant that I haven’t left the Bay Area,” says writer and artist Jenny Odell, who grew up in Cupertino and now lives in Oakland. Odell, who also teaches at Stanford University, is the author of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (out now from Melville House).

Many writers have sounded the alarm over our increasingly fractured attention, but Odell’s book is not about blocking the internet or retreating from Facebook. Odell does focus on the importance of reclaiming attention and focus, but she also tells people what to do when they’re not staring at Facebook: go out into the natural world instead. Learn the names of the plants, the history of the region, the songs of the birds. When you can distinguish…

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