Lazy: A Manifesto


“Tim Kreider’s writing is heartbreaking, brutal and hilarious—usually at the same time. He can do in a few pages what I need several hours of screen time and tens of millions to accomplish. And he does it better. Come to think of it, I’d rather not do a blurb. I am beginning to feel bad about myself.”

– Judd Apatow

This post might change your life.

It contains a short audio essay titled “Lazy: A Manifesto.”  I plan on listening to it every Monday morning.

We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider, a dazzling collection of humor and insight, is the newest book in the Tim Ferriss Book Club. I loved this book so much that I reached out to Tim and we produced the audiobook together. “Lazy: A Manifesto” is one small chapter.

If you want to stop feeling rushed, this might be the medicine you need.

If you want to burst into hysterical laughter in airports and freak out everyone (as I did), look no further.If you want to say “That’s exactly how I feel, but I’ve never had the words to express it!” this book delivers.  There’s a chapter for everyone.

Click here to download the brand-new audiobook of We Learn Nothing.

Here is the sample essay, “Lazy: A Manifesto” (right-click here to download, or stream below):

#68: Lazy: A Manifesto (15 Min)

More on Tim from a Pulitzer Prize winner:

“Tim Kreider may be the most subversive soul in America and his subversions—by turns public and intimate, political and cultural—are just what our weary, mixed-up nation needs. The essays in We Learn Nothing are for anybody who believes it’s high time for some answers, damn it.”

– Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Of course, Tim is a phenomenal cartoonist, and I wouldn’t want you to miss the artwork, so I pow-wowed with his agent, who kindly provided a ton of his cartoons for sharing with you. You can download a treasure trove (about 150MB) by clicking here.

Enjoy! Don’t miss this one.

Click here to download the audiobook (which we produced)

Click here to get the print or Kindle edition

Curious which other five books are in the Tim Ferriss Book Club? Here’s the full collection.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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67 Replies to “Lazy: A Manifesto”

  1. I’m still very very busy creating my muse … so I can eventually eliminate busy-ness from my life!

  2. Bought the Kindle version minutes after your first tweet, the one leading to a mp3 file. I trust your judgement on all fields – thank you for keeping up such fine quality of recommendations 🙂

  3. first… off I want to say thank you for all of the work you do at this blog. Your posts have been a tremendous help to me. This Lazy manifesto is exactly what I needed to hear right now.

  4. Hi Tim

    Been doing the diet first outlined in 4HB. and I haven’t lost any abdominal fat even though I was vigilant. Although I’ve not been awesome about drinking water so that might be it.

    Will the ab exercises you describe help target the ab fat?

    And secondly, if I do the occams protocol with machine weights is it better to ALSO add in the kettlebell swings or is that overkill.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work


    1. Hey!

      Not tim but you might eat “too much”. The slowcard diet is good because it gives you what you need and usually makes you eat less than you need. But not always. If I were you I would count how many calories you consume and cut down a bit and see if it helps. And no ab exercises will do nothing about the ab fat. You will loose that fat though your diet.


  5. I used to be busy. Then I found the 4-Hour Work Week, got REALLY good at my job and pissed off everyone around me since I was no longer busy. Thanks Tim… Thanks for the recommendation, I’m looking forward to this audiobook.

  6. Some feedback on the “Lazy: A Manifesto” audio and your podcasts: I love it when you open with “Hello, ladies and germs.” It’s so unselfconscious–like you’re not worried you might like a 5th grader. I look forward every time to hearing you say that and am disappointed when you don’t. It’s like Walter Cronkite signing off his newscasts with, “And that’s the way it is . . . .”

    1. OK, I should’ve Googled first and THEN commented–“Hello, ladies and germs,” was Milton Berle’s opening line. Now I love even more that you say it!

  7. “When you are not practicing, remember somewhere someone is practicing, and when you meet him, he will win.”

  8. I always try to remember a line from (a song of) Prince, when someone asks me how I’m doing:

    “Making money, loosing time”

    Says it all for me ……

    1. I always found it meaningful that in Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, there are consecutively songs about time, death, and money.

  9. Thanks for the post Tim and turning us on to this dude Tim Kreider. This was a good reminder of my own addiction to busyness. Gawd I think I answered “How are you?” with “super busy” just about every day this week. *gag*

    I think it’s helpful to locate this concept of busyness in a developmental context. My favorite one describes those “busy” people as having a core value system consisting of “ambition, personal success, and achievement” whereas those who have made the shift out of busyness have a core value system consisting of “sensitivity, community and contribution.”

    Shifting value systems is harder than simply deciding “I’m not going to be busy anymore.” This article about Spiral Dynamics further elucidates these concepts:

  10. Lazy is the first book I have ever returned in my life. Got to chapter 10 and decided to stop abusing myself and not help the book profit. Have read most of what Tim Ferriss has recommended over the years (including his own books) and always consider each a 101% win kind of book. Have to recommend “total recall arnold schwarzenegger book” for something totally rocking.

    Lazy is just the rantings of a rather mean spirited guy with an Allegiance to the extreme Left who is cruel about it and towards other views. I don’t have an allegiance to the left or right, I prefer to think for myself… and don’t like zealots on either side that with “intellectual banter” try to demonize people they don’t agree with. Even a superficial study of history shows where dehumanizing people leads, and this guy could be a goebbels for the extreme left. Just isn’t kind, and the scope of his narrative is shallow. He also just seems like an EMO loser that drinks and cry-holes his way through life.

    Feel free to flame me and say “you don’t get it”. You may well be right, I don’t get it. This book is like a WTF for me coming as a recommendation from Tim Ferriss. The 99% of everything else Tim Ferriss has written and recommended has made my life much more kick-ass and wonderful.

    I just cannot help but wonder, does “Lazy” equal the political views of Tim Ferriss? That for me would be sad, I would expect more.

    1. I felt the same. The chapter in the podcast was awesome but the book made me feel horrible about life. I’m all for being open to divergent viewpoints and believe that society benefits from balance, but after buying the full book I’m seriously going to do more homework the next time Tim adds a book to the club. I’ve got every book he ever wrote and love them. Loved The Obstacle is the Way. But this book left me feeling hopeless which is not what I ever get out of reading anything related to Tim Ferriss. Definitely a WTF moment for me as well. I found all of the qualifiers in the introduction to the Glen Beck interview interesting being that there were no such similar qualifiers in the introduction to the book in the podcast, a book that Tim published himself. I’m all for challenging assumptions but this book just seemed to confirm my worst fears. I’ll remain resolute in working to appreciate the need for balance and diverse viewpoints but not to the point of needing to appreciate the kind of pent up anger expressed in this book.

      1. Glad I am not the only one.

        I think TF has some tastes that challenge me (maybe that is good).

        But ya, this was too danky for me.

    2. Call him a loser is the same as saying that you did not understand the book. The pont he is making is againsy the mainstream mind set of Society. There is no losers or winners, life is not a game, life is life. The book is not a naivee cheap self help book, therefore is not for someone that is not interested in analyzing life the way it is.

  11. I love it… just sent for the book because I so understand him. What a great perspective on life… honest!!!

  12. Loved this quote:

    “It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what that might be, or how best to say it without getting the hell out of it again.”

    I feel like this all the time, and one thing I never regret is spending time in nature whether it be alone or with friends. Always come back feeling recharged.

    I’m gonna check out the full book.

    Thanks Tims. (Kreider and Ferriss)

  13. I started listening to this just after I had bailed on my friends to stay late at work, and boy did the message hit me like a ton of bricks. I think what is great about listening to your podcast and reading your books, is that I gain tools that help me to optimize (and minimize) my time at work so I can be more lazy. Thankfully, my staying late on Thursday was, in part, because we had a guy quit last week and I am having to step up until we hire someone else, then I can go back to being lazy.

  14. Sounds like fun, will definitely listen tomorrow during my early morning workout (I do a back saving 21 minutes core workout every day before I get up first thing in the morning).

    1. lot’s of wallowing in the american Angst, big emotional fuzz about cultural idiocrazies. somebody points out something once in a while, is greeted by the american zeitgeist outside-of-the-box thinkers, frowned upon by the others. original? as an European a waste of 16 minutes.

      1. Not “american Angst”, I don’t claim ownership of this guy. It is just “Angst” without point or purpose or nationality 🙂

  15. hi Tim’s helper, first of all love the interviews, they are almost without exception great listens. BUT can you explain why i should be getting this audiobook on your link for $19.95 instead of buying the audiobook from Amazon/Audible for $14.95?

    1. Hi Roberto,

      Weird. I’ll check into that. They should be the same! In the meantime, do whatever makes sense for you. I do earn more from the Audible link, but they should be the same price.

      All the best,


  16. Great share Tim & Tim. These are the words I needed to hear today. As someone who has never really felt “busy” until recently with the start of a website business, it is refreshing to hear this talk. Thanks for reminding us that balance is key and we just have to dig deep to find the self-discipline and loving kindness for ourselves and others. Nature therapy for all!

  17. As I was listening to the audio part of ‘We Learn Nothing’ by Tim Kreider, it reminded me the bitter truth of life, we all swallow at some point or other! A person is a winner who can laugh at his/her Failures, and rejoice his/her Victory!

  18. Ironic timing for me to see this post, since I’m currently reading “Motivation Manifesto.” Great stuff as usual Time!

  19. Sure, one solution to having a meaningless job is to quit and spend the rest of your life playing games. You might have fun, and that’s nice. Alternatively, you could get a real job, and actually challenge yourself to make a difference. It’s not the system that makes you the way you are, it’s your choices, and they are entirely your own responsibility. Rather than feeling proud of yourself for being clever enough to do nothing all afternoon, go out and actually DO something. BE the person solving the malaria crisis, BE the person resuscitating a cardiac arrest, BE the person rebuilding homes after a storm. Get some skills! It’s harder than drinking cocktails, but I guarantee it’s more fulfilling.

  20. I understand the role of someone like Mr. Kreider but I’m not particularly in the mood for intellectual petulance. I’m more in the Arnold Schwarzenegger / Tony Robbins zone at the moment.

    Incidentally, if I was drinking at a bar with Mr. Kreider in NYC (and I’ll make the safe assumption he’s from the city), I probably would get up and leave. Or drink more.

  21. Tim I really enjoy your podcast and I wondered if you had heard of Daniel Tammet? I was fascinated by his book Born on a blue day, which details his extraordinary mind. Daniel can perform incredible maths in his head. He learned to speak icelandic fluently in 3 days and sees numbers as textures and colours. He has Savant Syndrome and I would love if you could try to arrange an interview with him for your show? Keep up the good work.

  22. Loved this episode on my commute this morning! I will probably be purchasing the full audio. Thanks!

    Also, was that the Jenna Marbles squeaky toy noise at the end of the episode?

  23. Have to comment because I really didn’t like this. Within 30 seconds I could tell that Kreider is a person of a certain privilege, with work flexibility and clearly not scrambling for money. Also seems like he doesn’t have kids.

    I’m a doctor and mother to 2 little kids. I am way too busy and I don’t like it. I tell people I’m busy not to boast, but because I think it sounds better than saying I’m exhausted all the time. I genuinely have too much to do and too little time. It doesn’t help that our work culture in the US expects white collar professionals to work 50-60 hours a week. I have a friend who took an academic medical job in North Carolina, and unlike most universities they were clear: full time is 55 hours per week. Which is a bit crazy, they expect five 12 hour days or that you should routinely work on weekends. She has two little kids and makes it happen but I’ve refused to go that route. (I’m still busy all the time though!)

    I’m sure Kreider is right that there is a group of childless people who make themselves busier than they have to be. And yes, many kids are overscheduled, and many parents overdo their parenting. But for many of us, we are very busy because work, financial pressures, and/or family pressures are real and considerable.

    That’s not to say that we can’t find ways to reduce the stress and busy feeling in our lives, but listening to Kreider is not the way to go. (Unless the rest of the book is WAY better, which it might be.) Much better to try Zen Habits, which is written by a father and seems more sensitive to what many of us face.

  24. Listened to the book on my way up to Wisconsin this past weekend. Coincidentally, I had just finished the chapter on political allegiance right before going to a bar and watching the Final 4 NCAA games. It was fun to see Kreider’s observations become reality and after 30 minutes of pondering these observations, I promptly remembered the chapter on living well and spending time with friends and did just that the rest of the game. Thanks for the recommendation.

  25. Enjoyed this. Between this and the Amanda podcast, I’m enjoying the perspective regarding happiness

  26. This is definitely true. People complain about how busy they are with their everyday activities that they don’t have time to do some personal stuff like traveling, attending small parties or even just walking at the park. But the truth of the matter is, it’s them who chose to be busy. Ironic.

    Lazy: A manifesto. This is a really good podcast. Thank you for posting it. This is a heads up for everyone who takes their busyness so seriously.

  27. I renewed my audible subscription right away after listing to Lazy: A Manifesto. In love with Tim’s style of writing (and reading!), you should definitely get him on the podcast!

  28. One of the most profound observations of the current state of people’s lives in 2015, at least in the USA. Mindless Zombies is how I see them on an endless race track of avoidance of actually living and enjoying life. It’s easy to fall into the trap. “Plan shopping” is a practice I see again and again among the same folks. This is in my opinion one of the greatest impediments to restoring your health both mentally and physically as it keeps you from exploring what is possible and locks you into the conventional. Great recommendation Tim!


  29. This book did not change my life. It made me feel more busy trying to get my 6 hours back. Sorry Tim, but the lead in “Change your Life” was misleading……

  30. The title got me interested and I was excited to listen to the sample chapter but my audio is down which is a bit nerve-wracking. Well anyways, laziness is a big struggle for me and I believe almost everybody is suffering from this disease. I believe though that this will help a lot of people like me overcome this. Thanks!

  31. I loved this!!! Thank you for sharing it with us. Have already listened to it 3 times, and will download the full book soon.

    I really like the podcast, would love it if you dropped in some more shorter episodes like this more often, I have a lot of shorter 15 minute segments that listening to something like this would be ideal 🙂

  32. Hi Tim, Love your books, blog, podcast and book club… I live in Australia and i purchase all my audible content via the website – The main issue here is mostly for you as i can still get the content just you don’t get the affiliate marketing $$$ that im presuming you’ve negotiated…

    Just a quicky FYI for you mate – keep up the great work and content!!!

    Looking forward to your next book 🙂

  33. Geez, there are so many parts of this essay that I love… It resonated so much to me. I’m not sure if it’s because I listened to it a day before leaving for a much needed trip to Mexico after a super long and hectic winter or if it was because everything Kreider talked about is what I see every day in life. There is so much truth here. Why do we boast that we are so busy all the time? I agree with Kreider that it some existential reassurance that what we do is important and to protect ourselves from the emptiness inside when all the noise is removed. Most of us are afraid of being alone with ourselves but if you do indeed sit with yourself on a regular basis (through meditation etc…) you realize that the quiet core of your being is where you find your most inspiring thoughts and most beautiful connections. The busyness and noise in life takes you further and further away from being able to tap into the space where true genesis happens. And you know what, it’s hard! I’m a co-founder of a tech start up that is re-inventing the email experience and it’s not always the easiest thing to be idle or give myself the time and quietness that I know is needed. Most of us are striving to find a balance between work, family, friends, and all other obligations. And that’s all we can do is try…to be present, be aware, and find the place between sloth and work mania where the magic happens.

    P.S. LOVE the podcast. Keep up the great work!

  34. Nice refreshing read. Half way through the audible book. Very political but I assume you get that with a political cartoonist. Haven’t laughed through a book in ages! – Nice recommendation Tim!

  35. The music totally murdered my laziness and boosted up my productivity ’til its zenith! awesome!

  36. After listening to this poignant gem, I simply had to order Kreider’s book. It didn’t let me down. I felt myself growing uncharacteristically emotional throughout the reading experience, like flipping back through photos of ex girlfriends. Thanks for bringing his writing into my world.

    Oh, and please get Kreider on the show. I imagine the dialogue would be a hilarious combo of moral philosophy and bachelor commiseration.

  37. Thank you very much Tim Ferriss for your blog. I will checking out the bag of goodies – Tim Kreider’s artwork. I love your style, and reminds me a little of how I keep my account packed with awesome stuff.

  38. Tim, love your podcasts just got into them a month ago and have been listening non-stop every day.. one comment which I don’t know if anyone has said.. but your intro song is way too loud. It is never the same volume as the actual podcast and when I listen back to back I forget to adjust the volume and then am blasted in my ears when the next one starts because of how loud the intro song is. Other than that everything is AMAZING!!

  39. LOVE this post, bought the kindle edition of the book which I also love – but the kindle edition doesn’t include this chapter! Anyone else have this experience? Do the paper books include this chapter?

  40. I’m currently on the hellish 18 hour bus ride on a reverse visa run into Mexico from Guatemala (inspired by another book on the Club list..), cracking up to myself wedges between baskets of chickens as nonsensically loud Mexican love songs cover my cackles, which stem partly out of relief to find that the world is just as hilarious and weird as I hoped it still was 🙂 It’s ability make put this bus ride into hilarious perspective is the ultimate testament to its literary genius. Great find

  41. Can’t wait to read this! Currently dousing my copy of The Four Hour Work Week (FHWW) in red ink and highlighter, but this is going on the list! I have, and honestly am, a chronic sloth. And I believe the reason for that has been in part due to the absence of a goal worth chasing (something I learned in FHWW.) But as Tim K says, perhaps its this privileged position outside of the beehive that has given me a unique perspective. It sounds like he and I share some values and I can’t wait to read more! Thanks for the recommendation Tim F!

  42. Why does my book not have this chapter “Lazy: A manifesto”? Is it only like in the special edition or something?