DARE TO DO NOTHING
A collection of essays celebrates the art of indolence.
In this humor book, Minty pays tribute to her favorite pursuit: doing as little as possible. In chapters that function largely as stand-alone essays, she describes her strategies for avoiding work in her job as a cocktail waitress, in her marriage, and throughout her social life. In the author’s world, there are exceptions to her preference for inertia (eating, drinking alcohol, having sex, and sleeping should be pursued with enthusiasm), but decision making should be shunned aggressively. Minty addresses her fellow lovers of slacking throughout the volume, advising them on how to find the most undemanding jobs, which people are most likely to interfere with the pleasure of doing nothing, and how to build relationships that thrive on inactivity. The book explores the question of nature versus nurture as it relates to laziness, and praises the virtues of taking up short-term residence in a coffee shop. Although the author makes clear in the volume’s introduction that her advocacy for doing nothing should be taken as satire, her repeated stories about skipping out on work, shrugging off responsibilities, and sulking through family vacations can be grating to those who appreciate diligence. They also suggest a level of privilege that is not dealt with in the text. But even curmudgeons will find humor—mostly of the variety delivered by the author Jenny Lawson—in the book, especially in the chapters where Minty contrasts vacations (the epitome of doing nothing) with trips, which are anathema to her. Her tales of her parents and their differing work ethics are also enjoyable. The collection’s strongest and most insightful chapter is the last one, written during the pandemic, in which the author compares the enjoyable kind of doing nothing with the enforced inaction she confronted when the world was locked down. While the volume’s tone, particularly in the early chapters, may not appeal to all readers, those who appreciate slacker humor—or have a touch of idleness themselves—will connect with it.
An often amusing, if sometimes uneven, argument for doing less in life.
– Kirkus Reviews
DARE TO DO NOTHING
This tongue-in-cheek self-help text takes nonattachment to new heights.
Humorous and edgy, Amy Minty’s self-help book Dare to Do Nothing is a call to toss out work, stress, and obligations of all types and begin to enjoy a life that feels like a permanent vacation.
Minty declares that achievement is overrated, and states that she has focused on doing nothing for the past twenty-five years. Recognizing that doing nothing can get boring, she suggests some pleasurable activities that are exceptions to the “do nothing” rule: eating, drinking, smoking, sleeping, and having sex. Her book shows how, with a change in one’s mindset and a little practice, everyone can develop the ability to focus on pleasure and avoid anything that looks like work. Real-life examples show Minty’s proven techniques in action and demonstrate the value of adopting at least some of them.
The tongue-in-cheek text takes nonattachment to new heights as it explains how detachment from desires and outcomes makes the freedom to do nothing possible. It does, however, suggest that it’s fine to have preferences, as long as no work is required to arrive at them. The book makes a clear distinction between work and pleasure: having sex, for example, falls into the category of pleasure, but in the case of a prostitute earning her living, it becomes work; ditto for having sex with a less than delightful partner. It also takes the angst out of decision making with the suggestion to simplify it by evaluating how much work a choice will entail, to get as close to doing nothing as possible.
Amusing vignettes show how Minty, in total revolt against her hard work and achievement-centered upbringing, employed creative, effective strategies to get away with doing nothing while appearing to be busy and engaged, as “being fired is a pain in the ass.” Her strategies, while amusing, even slapstick ridiculous, demonstrate both knowledge of human psychology and how a variety of work situations really function (or don’t). They include giving ambiguous answers to work-related questions; sly methods of getting others to do the work; always looking overworked and in a hurry; and getting a higher education, which opens access to jobs that pay well for very little actual work. The book provides a list of such professions, including that of psychologist, a job that it says entails appearing to listen while holding an “inquisitive, yet pensive stare”; making sure that clients understand that their problems require return visits; and deciding where to dine that evening with a client’s money.
Although its basic approach is comedic, the book makes a convincing case that, in the drive for material success, many people don’t even know what it is that would make their hearts sing and their spirits soar, and give little attention to personal joy and satisfaction on a day-to-day basis. Countering the ubiquitous advice to take a loved activity and make a career of it, the book argues that doing so would turn a passion into work, negating its benefits.
A hilarious antidote to labor-intensive work ethics, Dare to Do Nothing highlights the many benefits of enjoying life while exerting minimal effort—or better yet, doing nothing at all.
– Kristine Morris – Foreword Reviews
FOR STRIP OR GAMBLE
In this thriller, several women’s lives radically change after crossing a movie star with mob ties and possible homicidal urges.
Lucy Higgins, the 25-year-old assistant manager at a seedy New York City strip club in 1999, is great at her job. That doesn’t mean she relishes it, and popular actor Nick Terlotta is her shot at something better. She catches his attention dancing onstage (her former profession) and scores a role in a low-budget film Nick wrote and is producing. He’s captivating in a way Lucy can’t explain, but their relationship gradually reveals his kinks, including an appalling sexual taste. In a corresponding narrative set seven years earlier, Jackie Vintour works her poker mastery in the glitzy Las Vegas casinos. But she’s really there for Nick; he’s deeply involved with the mob and the likely reason Jackie’s older sister, Scarlett, disappeared in 1985. Jackie teams up with old friend Bill Brennan, who knew Scarlett and now works in a betting cage in the run-down Stardust. That’s Nick’s favorite Vegas haunt and the perfect place to kill the film star—and maybe even rob the casino at the same time. Minty’s character-driven tale showcases other narratives, from Scarlett’s story to teenage Nick’s, as his deplorable mob father in the ’50s shapes his adulthood. Nick’s self-indulgence and condescension make him repugnant, but the full extent of his depravity (has he killed someone?) isn’t immediately known. As such, suspense relentlessly fuels scenes, especially as the potential female victims are so appealing, notwithstanding turns like Jackie’s murderous revenge plot. The author establishes characters via dialogue, and while this produces plenty of conversations, brief exchanges and pithy chapters keep the story moving. The author also adds pop-culture nods for the changing time periods—primarily mob-related films and TV shows, as Mafia movies are Nick’s claim to fame. This somber thriller ends on a denouement that readers won’t soon forget.
An enthralling cast headlines this dark, edgy tale of vengeance and murder.
– Kirkus Reviews