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  • Four Thousand Weeks

  • Embrace Your Limits. Change Your Life.
  • Written by: Oliver Burkeman
  • Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (166 ratings)

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Four Thousand Weeks

Written by: Oliver Burkeman
Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The instant Sunday Times best seller.

A Financial Times, Guardian and Observer Book of the Year.

One of the Daily Telegraph's 75 Best Books of 2021.

What if you stopped trying to do everything, so that you could finally get round to what counts?

We're obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, the struggle against distraction and the sense that our attention spans are shrivelling. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the question of how best to use our ridiculously brief time on the planet, which amounts on average to about 4,000 weeks.

Four Thousand Weeks is an uplifting, engrossing and deeply realistic exploration of the challenge. Rejecting the futile modern obsession with 'getting everything done,' it introduces listeners to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing rather than denying their limitations.

Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman sets out to realign our relationship with time - and in doing so, to liberate us from its tyranny.

Embrace your limits. Change your life. Make your 4,000 weeks count.

©2021 Oliver Burkeman (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Life is finite. You don't have to fit everything in.... Read this book and wake up to a new way of thinking and living." (Emma Gannon)

"A much-needed reality check on our culture's crazy assumptions around work, productivity and living a meaningful life." (Mark Manson, best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)

"Comforting, fascinating, engaging, inspiring and useful, actually genuinely useful." (Marian Keyes)

What listeners say about Four Thousand Weeks

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👍

ನಂಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿರುವ, ತುಂಬಾ ಓದಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿ ಈ ಪುಸ್ತಕದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಹೇಳಿದ್ರು. ಹಾಗಾಗಿ audio book ಕೇಳಲು ಶುರು ಮಾಡಿದೆ.

ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮುಗಿದಾಗ ಒಂದು ವಿಷಯ ಗೊತ್ತಾಯ್ತು. ನಂಗೂ ಇಂತ ಪುಸ್ತಕಕ್ಕೂ ಆಗಿ ಬರಲ್ಲ ಅಂತ.
10-20 oh line ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಹೇಳಬಹುದಾದ ವಿಷಯನ 200 ಚಿಲ್ರೆ pages alli ಹೇಳಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮುಗಿದಾಗ, ಅಬ್ಬಾ ಅಂತೂ ಇಂತೂ ಮುಗಿಸಿದೆ ಅನ್ಕೊಂಡೆ.

Audio book ಆಗಿದ್ರಿಂದ ಕೊನೆ ತನಕ ಕೇಳೋ ಭಂಡ ಧೈರ್ಯ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಓದಿದ್ರೆ ಖಂಡಿತ 20 page aada ನಂತರ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಮೂಲೆ ಸೇರುತಿತ್ತು 😐

2 people found this helpful

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Good but needs more research. Less Relatable at Times.

Good but needs more research. Less Relatable at Times. It feels pessimistic at times in an amateur way.

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to be read and Re- read

gives you a paradigm shift about time and life altogether. ultimately we're all just winging it.. might as well have some fun. will help you put things in perspective. must read.

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Changed My Perspective

A deeply compelling argument for spending time with what matters the most - our own selves.

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Brilliant!

A must for everyone who can’t live in present, who are anxious, who are on hamster wheel of being productive, who are full of self doubts, which I v believe makes it 7 billion plus audience 😎… Listen at 0.9x speed to really saviour the experience!

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great book

beautiful book... a different perspective than our rushed approach towards our time... must listen/ read

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Book to reread every couple of months

Love to come back to this book often. It's more about life management than time management.

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A refreshing one!

A refreshing listen from all the other books out there on time management and productivity. The suggestions offered are not only related to daily tasks, but our life spans itself. Recommend everyone to listen to it atleast once. I plan to listen to it again soon!

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  • RP
  • 09-01-22

Genuine Research and Original Thinking.

This is what genuine Research and Original Thinking looks like. Respect to the author for writing such an amazing book.

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    4 out of 5 stars

We are just a blip

Chasing productivity is a never ending process. One can always be more productive. Did you ever notice your to-do list does not end? All of us are trying to stuff as many experiences into our finite and extremely short life. Once we realise this we can truly determine what we want to focus on. We can live in the present instead of chasing the unknown future. The author through various real life scenarios makes you realise this. The book jolted me to reality and made me appreciate the importance of living in the present. First book of the year, could not have asked for a better start. This sets context for rest of my year.

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  • Murdho Savila
  • 19-10-21

If I could read only one book for the rest of my life…

…then this book would be it!

Wonderful work, I can’t wait to start listening it again!

Very much enjoyed how the author has put in the work to really understand the subject and draw meaningful conclusions. And all of it in a nicely distilled fashion, without wasting reader’s time.

Seriously, this book is next level and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a new perspective on your life.

My sincere thanks to the author for sharing your work with the world!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lynx
  • 10-01-22

An absolute must read for 2022.

Easy and engaging style, well narrated.
The author proposes that how we think about time and consequently use our time, suffer from some misconceptions that truly get us nowhere happy or fulfilled. And as the misconceptions are deeply embedded in the society, it's pretty difficult to figure them out on your own.
It's an eye opener. Maybe because I'm 40, what he says resonates deeply with what I've been thinking, experiencing and trying to change. It might be different for someone in their 20s- but ach, all the frustration I might have avoided in the 1st place if I had read this 15 years ago.
The concepts are philosophical but some practical ideas are there too. The author doesn't come up with a ready to go solution, but you'd be silly to expect that. A different way of looking at things and some practical tips to get you started will take you a long way if you're willing. That's what the book offers. The rest of the process is up to you.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-01-22

One of the most important books I’ve ever read

This book is surprisingly poignant and insightful. What a treat! A big and heartfelt thank you to Oliver.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris_Angels
  • 24-12-21

Life-changing Book

Best book I've read for the last 5 years! It really puts things into perspective and gives a sense of freedom and calmness. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-22

great book

love books that remind me of the fleetingness of life. Paradoxically the recommendations are then to slow down and enjoy it. written by a "former productivity geek" I can relate.

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  • Isabela
  • 15-11-22

Even though time is limited, I'd read this again

I loved this book! Not only was the authors performance super entertaining but the book is filled with such knowledge and wisdom! I mean, it is too accurate and it truly helps put things into perspective. I'll definitely be reading this book again and implementing many of the things I learned from it forever. What a pleasure.

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  • Nikolaj
  • 20-10-22

Quite profound and life-changing

From the title, one could assume that this is a book hammering the message that you only have limited time, and therefore need to make the most of it by cramming as much into those four thousand weeks as possible. It's the opposite of that, and it's much more than that.

It's rather a psychology and philosophy book than it is a book about being productive - although being more productive was the initial goal of the author and a subject that he has extensive knowledge about. It's the book you need to read if you were in fact looking for yet another book on becoming more productive.

Probably the biggest insight for me was the realization that keeping busy with too many things is just a way of avoiding the discomfort of choosing. And inevitably, we have to choose because there are infinitely more options and things we want to do than what is possible. It will always be like this no matter how much we accomplish. By keeping options open and cramming our calendars/to-do lists, we distract and fool ourselves into thinking we can do it all. When in truth we should be owning up to the hard choices that come with not being able to do it all - and accepting the consequences of this. It's discomforting, but embracing it makes it less so. Doing more and working harder is not necessarily the right or brave thing to do - often choosing and accepting your limitations is the hard and meaningful thing you're avoiding by keeping "busy" as the easy way out.

I rarely think this of books, but this is one that I could picture myself listening to again in the future. It deals with a slightly counter-intuitive philosophy of life that takes time to fully process. I would likely get more out of it with a second listen. I haven't yet decided if I agree with all of it, but that doesn't matter, because the important thing is that it kickstarts essential thought processes. It also has some concrete "techniques" if you will, but not the kind you should quickly skim through to "optimize" your productivity. The reasoning behind it all is the real takeaway, and that you have to read the full chapters to grasp.

Thank you for writing the book. Not sure if you (Oliver) will ever read this review, because, as you know, it's not possible to read it all, so I don't mind if you make the brave choice to pass on this *wink *wink

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  • Ben S.
  • 22-09-22

Very thought provoking

This is a very thought provoking book for self-confessed 'workaholics' and those caught up the the 'hustle culture'. It eschews the usual 'time management' tricks to try and fit more in and gets us to think of life, time and what we do with it, from a much higher perspective and then do your best, most impactful work, at that specific point in time.

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  • Joe
  • 30-08-22

it was ok

Well narrated by the author. Some nice insight into people and time. It's an ok listen

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  • Dan
  • 25-08-22

Time management redefined

Really enjoyed the authors breakdown of how to tackle what’s really important in life. Actionable advise written in an easy to listen/read fashion. Very enjoyable.

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  • JC
  • 14-11-21

Hard work

Let me start with the major positive - Oliver Burkeman should be asked to narrate every audio book on Audible. His speaking voice is a real pleasure to listen to!

Sadly the book itself just wasn't for me. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting but found myself half way through it with my mind continually wandering off and thinking about other things. I would have expected to have gleamed at least a few take aways from any book by that stage but unfortunately there was nothing. Maybe this is more the kind of book you just listen to and don't taken anything away from, but for that I would prefer to go down the route of fiction.

The author comes across as a highly intelligent individual and maybe I just couldn't grasp where he was trying to lead the listener with his take on our finite lives. From the other reviews its clear that some found a better understanding of what he was saying, however, for me I found it a real slog and ..... well, life's just too short for doing something you don't want to do (ha, maybe I did take something from the book!)

44 people found this helpful

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  • valleywriter
  • 27-08-21

Clever, thought-provoking and reassuring

I really enjoyed this audiobook. The author reads it really well, which only adds to the well-written and useful content. I also found it reassuring that the way I naturally find myself living my life is probably exactly right for me. I always felt a bit concerned that I could never follow the advice of productivity gurus; now I understand why!

25 people found this helpful

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  • Shaun Daly
  • 29-09-21

Terrific!

As a failed self-improver for around 40 years, this was a strangely enjoyable tour through past pain and confusion, topped off with sound alternative advice to traditional time management at the end. I've 'read' almost 100 audiobooks over the last 18 months or so and this is my new favourite (just pipping "Ten Rules for Talking")

20 people found this helpful

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  • Eva Gkenakou
  • 29-09-21

Lower your expectations because life is short

Lower your expectations because life is short. That’s what the book tells us for more than 6 hours, the way I heard it. It’s true to a certain extend and good to be reminded that we won’t accomplish absolutely everything but not sure we need a whole book about it…Excellent narration by the author and good use of humour.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Dr Halsley
  • 30-08-21

4000 weeks

I enjoyed this short little book. Burkeman makes a lot of good points and turns a few common conceptions of time and productivity on their heads. Just like the stoics, he argues that it is because of our finite time that our days are meaningful at all. Definitely give it a listen!

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Johansen
  • 03-10-21

Limited amount of information

Limited amount of information in many words. Important topic. Good attempt to send the message.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Gal Tsvet
  • 03-01-22

Well researched and wonderfully delivered

I usually take half an hour to compose a review (that's why I've only ever written a few), carefully wording it, double checking etc. I'm taking Oliver's advice here - "the only [reviews] that count are the ones we actually [write]" and I'm leaving this quick one here. It feels good!

13 people found this helpful

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  • kate
  • 19-12-21

Absolutely wonderful

Loved this so much. Thank you Oliver.
I read and listen to loads of books and this one was an absolute stand out. I will definitely return to it. And I will definitely gift it too.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lin Lee
  • 23-12-21

A wise, interesting and modern take on time

This book is an exposition on the problem of time as considered by philosophers, mystics, scientists through the ages. However, it also a commentary on modernity, how it perceives time, and how this time impact on the way we perceive and live our lives. It does offer specific and concrete prescriptions to the problem of time. I am not in a position to comment on these yet as I have not implemented them, but they do sound relatively straightforward and promising in terms of possibility of success. The broader points of this book, about how ultimately the shortness of life (ie limited time) is the central problem of this life, and how we will never do most of the things we dream to do, have already been very helpful for me to be more present with my kids and be more relaxed in these busy and stressful holiday times.

9 people found this helpful

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  • DrSyd
  • 16-12-21

One of the most important books you can read

It’s a great perspective on a modern challenge with some genuine, new ideas that could change the way you live. We have been kidding ourselves for too long and it’s time for a re-think x

8 people found this helpful

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  • Antony
  • 19-05-22

thought invoking.

ironic that audible force you to write a fifteen word review of a book about not wasting your life when the two words are enough.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Arthur Wilson
  • 05-08-22

The anti-perspective

I like the title and concept 4,000 weeks of life, make the beast of it. I think some things are in the mark, some views were just not practical to me…for example…instead of writing a long to do list, the author suggests you write what you have done…or replace the to do with what I have done list. Two list are a waste of time…We only have 4,000 weeks…plus my to do list is almost a simply a reminder of things to do… but some really good concepts as well….perfection is not going to happen…but he say why have hope? I hope someone reads this review…if they don’t…no stress to me. If they do, I hope it helps. :-)

3 people found this helpful

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  • Purin
  • 18-06-22

Life-changing

I never read books twice because (ironically) I think life is too short. For this book, I am making an exception. It's one of the most important books I've ever read. I wish everyone could read it, the sooner the better, but especially at midlife.

Although it contains practical tips to apply, the way it changes you is rather through the way your perception will shift. We are coming to understand that "more, more, more" is not an attitude that serves personal or planetary wellbeing, but it applies just as much to time management. Just as there are limits to what we can physically consume, there are also real limits (which we are conditioned to ignore) regarding what we can get done in a single lifetime. Realising that can set us free from a lot of suffering.

2 people found this helpful

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  • mayo
  • 03-06-22

Nice mix of philosophy and time

It’s about time philosophy and the meaning of life was presented in a time management book. Age old religions and thinking weaved into the how and why of managing time. Dam sight better than the usual tips to improve email. I love the English sense of humour that Oliver Burkeman uses throughout, but maybe don’t need to reinforce the same point so many times

1 person found this helpful

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  • Josh Hardy
  • 20-05-22

Favourite book of the year.

ironically I had a similar experience as the author. I've spent the last few years scouring through productivity books, techniques and systems without finding the time I was hoping to gain back. This book offerers the perspectives I needed to evaluate my relationship with time, life, and myself. I already feel more at peace with my schedule and my plans, and feel more confident with how I approach my scheduling in the future.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-04-22

A simple yet profound message

This book is really very simple at heart — recognise and embrace your finitude.

Burkeman deftly explains that our society’s ideas about time cause much of the anxiety and discontentment we experience in our lives. While we cannot change society we can change our outlook and response to these ideas.

The narration by the author is superb.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dibz
  • 03-12-22

Thought provoking

Definitely worth a read/listen. It made me look at time in a new light.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-12-22

A must read!

Need to get your ridiculously busy life some perspective… read this. Some wonderful thoughts about modern life.

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  • Lan
  • 27-11-22

Thought provoking but not as practical as I hoped

Interesting book with a few really good thought provoking passages. A good overview of the various different philosophies and schools of thought relevant to this important topic. As with any book I agreed with some of the conclusions and thought some were rubbish. Key disappointment with this book is that it didn’t have many practical tools and tips to take forward.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-11-22

Absolutely PHENOMENAL!

This book unravels the why of our beautiful brains, why they struggle so much with the vast array of societal norms shoved in our faces. So. Freaking. AWESOME.
You’re going to find it so intriguing.