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Brooklyn author explores procrastination in new book

Brooklyn BookBeat

March 5, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Author Andrew Santella, courtesy of HarperCollins.
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Andrew Santella is a writer living in Ditmas Park and a self-proclaimed procrastinator. He has written for such publications as GQ, The New York Times Book Review, Slate Magazine and The Atlantic, usually at the last possible minute.  Concerned about his habit, but not quite ready to give it up, he set out to learn all he could about the human tendency to delay.

His research led to the creation of his book “Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, from Leonardo and Darwin to You and Me,” which will go on sale March 13. The book launch will be held on Wednesday, March 14 at Powerhouse Arena.

While 20 percent of us are procrastinators, a third of all American undergraduates call themselves severe procrastinators and a staggering 100 minutes of every workday are squandered away by employees, could procrastination really only stem from laziness when so many of our greatest inventors, artists and scientists are considered members of the same club?

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Santella studied history’s greatest procrastinators — from Leonardo da Vinci and Frank Lloyd Wright to Charles Darwin and prophets from the Old Testament — to gain insights into human behavior and perhaps kill time, “research being the best way to avoid real work.”

He spoke with psychologists, philosophers and priests. He visited New Orleans’ French Quarter, home to a shrine to the patron saint of procrastinators. And at Darwin’s home outside London, he learned how and why the scientist wrote volumes on coral reefs and obsessively studied barnacles during the 20 years between developing his theory of natural selection and actually publishing “The Origin of Species.” Yet Darwin is remembered not for procrastination, but his brilliance and diligence; it is his delay itself that makes him so human.

With his new book, Santella isn’t looking to putting an end to procrastination or to even excuse it. Instead, he refreshingly suggests that delay and deferral can help us understand what truly matters to us. “Sometimes the best things you do are the things you do only to put off doing something else.” This is a book for everyone who has ever put off something important.


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