Breaking the Habit of Underliving with Celeste Headlee

We are a culture of workers, often preferring to work longer hours, work in off-hours, waive vacation time and bring work home instead of leaning into leisure. How did we become so uncomfortable with idleness and so obsessed with productivity? Celeste Headlee, author of Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, explains in her book that we no longer simply like or love our work; we are fixated on it.

Here are some hard truths: Human beings are working more and becoming lonelier, more anxious and less happy. So, how do we break free from the habit of overworking and underliving? The answer lives in this interview.


An award-winning journalist, professional speaker and author of We Need To Talk: How To Have Conversations That Matter, Celeste Headlee, released her latest book Do Nothing, earlier this year revealing that despite our constant search for new ways to “hack” our bodies and minds for peak performance, human beings are working more – not less, living harder – not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. Celeste is a regular guest host on NRP and American Public Media, and co-host of the new series Retro Report on PBS. Celeste’s TEDx Talk sharing 10 ways to have a better conversation has over 23 million total views to date and she serves as an advisory board member for ProCon.org and The Listen First Project.

Learn more about Celeste Headlee and the work she does at celesteheadlee.com.

Her books, Do Nothing and We Need To Talk are available wherever you do your book buying.


Thank you, Celeste for joining me this week, and thank you for joining me too. If you love what I’m doing here on this podcast, consider leaving a review on Apple. I’d really appreciate it.

Subscribe to the newsletter