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Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Niksen is different from meditation, or scrolling through Instagram, it’s more like stopping to fully embrace a warm cup of coffee and the process it takes to make it. This book is a run down of how best to do nothing and what that entails, coupled with a study of how our culture molds us into thinking that we must be productive 100% of the time. When I started this, it made me feel like the Netherlands was a cult, but turns out it’s more like our concept of taking care of our people is broken. Introducing Niksen to our society could be a way of regaining a small amount of balance and shifting away from the 24-hour workday.

— Rhi


The Dutch people are some of the happiest in the world. Their secret? They are masters of niksen, or the art of doing nothing.

Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do nothing at all.
With this book, learn how to do nothing in the most important areas of your life, such as:
  • AT HOME: Find a comfy nook and sit. No technology or other distractions. 
  • AT WORK: Stare at your computer. Take in the view from your office. Close your eyes.
  • IN PUBLIC: Forget waiting for the bus, enjoy some relaxing niksen time.
Backed with advice from the world’s leading experts on happiness and productivity, this book examines the underlying science behind niksen and how doing less can often yield so much more. Perfect for anyone who feels overwhelmed, burnt out, or exhausted, NIKSEN does not tell you to work harder. Instead, it shows you how to take a break from all the busyness while giving you sincere, heartfelt permission to do nothing.

About the Author

Olga Mecking is a writer, journalist, and translator based in the Netherlands. She contributes to The New York Times, The Guardian, The BBC, The Atlantic, and many other publications. She is the reporter who made Niksen big, her New York Times article on the subject was shared over 100k times. Since then, she has been interviewed by numerous media on the topic, from written news and blogs to radio shows.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780358395317
ISBN-10: 0358395313
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Pages: 256
Language: English