Ozio Creativo - Domenico De Masi

Ozio Creativo - Domenico De Masi

Is it possible to do nothing and still be productive? Learn about the importance of idleness to develop and stimulate creativity with the summary of Domenico De Masi's best-seller.

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Is the mantra "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" a fact or a trap?

Domenico De Masi says that school, an institution that is present in more than a decade of our lives, teaches us to work and, at the same time, to be sad. Controversial, isn't it?

For the author, the human being should not live only for work. People should also live for learning, for friends, for love and for leisure.

The book "Ozio Creativo" brings the author's vision about the dissemination of the idolatry of work, the idea that the human being must be a workaholic and the competitive market.

For this, he brings the concept of "creative idleness": a free and necessary time for the production of ideas.

The answer to our initial question will be found throughout our pocketbook. So, if you want to understand more about this topic, read on.

About the book “Ozio Creativo”

The book "Ozio Creativo" was published on April 3rd, 2002, by BUR Biblioteca Univerzale Rizzoli

Throughout its 352 pages, divided into 14 chapters, the author talks about the importance of using free time to stimulate creativity and innovation, as well as other themes of post-industrial society and globalization.

The work was based on an interview conducted by the reporter Maria Serena Palieri and aims to make a sociological analysis through a historical contextualization of societyand reflections on the work model.

Who is the author Domenico De Masi?

De Masi is an Italian sociologist and professor at “Sapienza Università di Roma” who has gained notoriety for the concept of "creative idleness". According to him, idleness is a factor that stimulates personal creativity and should not be tied only to a negative practice.

The author's academic career began early. At 19 he was writing articles on urban and work sociology for the journal Nord e Sud and at 22 he was teaching at the “Università degli Studi di Napoli”.

Domenico is the biggest international reference in studies on the sociology of work and one of the foreign scholars with more books in the bestseller lists in the market, highlighting, besides "Ozio Creativo", "La rivoluzione del lavoro intelligente", "L'emozione e la regola" and "Il futuro del lavoro".

Why read “Ozio Creativo”?

The author exposed his conception of society and work from a sociological and accessible perspective.

It is recommended reading for Sociology lovers, entrepreneurs, employees who work with creativity and for all people seeking to better plan their time and develop creative and innovative thinking.

Key insights from the book “Ozio Creativo”

  • Creative idleness is the combination of work, study and recreation: the human being is happier and feels more realized and creative naturally;
  • Work no longer represents the role of individuals and collectivity;
  • Companies that implement creative idleness earn more money and make their employees happier;
  • Resting is essential to stimulate creativity;
  • In the future, human beings will work exclusively for creativity, since machines will give more time for idleness;
  • Today's society is driven by ideas;
  • Work should not be an obligation that oppresses, but rather a stimulating practice.

What is creative idleness?

The title of the book carries an expression that causes a certain strangeness when read for the first time. How can idleness be creative?

The word "idleness" does not refer to sloth or inaction. The author explains the differences between the terms "alienating idleness," which we will understand more fully below, and "creative idleness”.

As opposed to what many people think, efficient productivity means better time management and not an obsession with work.

The expression "creative idleness", elaborated by Domenico in the early 90's, is inherent to the human being and happens with the convergence between three elements: work, study and recreation.

In the sociologist's words, through creative idleness human beings can experience the value generated by work, the knowledge provided by study and the happiness brought by leisure.

In addition, being happy increases the brain's production capacity, which makes people more creative and with improved performance.

What is alienating idleness?

The alienating idleness is the one that comes to our minds when we think about the etymology of the word "idleness".

We spend our idle time or the time off without producing anything. It's that laziness that can turn into the dreaded laziness!

In this sense, according to De Masi, alienating idleness is largely responsible for the feeling of uselessness or failure that attacks many people inserted in the labor market.

So, when you take some time off, link up with creative idleness.

How does creative idleness work in practice?

Creative idleness happens when we allow ourselves to enjoy a song, a movie or a book. It is in the most spontaneous situations that we will naturally find ideas. Creative idleness is not alienating, but liberating.

De Masi mentions throughout the book that human beings spend more time idling than working. He states that we need to take advantage of this free time to exercise our creative side.

Imagine your work routine for a moment. There is no point in requiring your brain to work hard while you are in an office, because it will already be tired and ideas will not come easily.

However, it is in the period of happiness and satisfaction that ideas come to the surface and thoughts flow.

Therefore, the author recommends that, instead of sacrificing your time for rest and social interaction by taking work home or working overtime, you know how to separate the moments of leisure and work.

It is crucial that you make the split between free time and creative idleness. Domenico De Masi suggests a division into three parts:

  1. Time for yourself, your body and mind;
  2. Time exclusively for family and friends;
  3. Time to contribute to your organization and civil function.

Is creative idleness good for everyone?

The man who works wastes precious time.

This famous phrase was floating on Domenico De Masi's monitor at the moment of the interview with journalist Maria Serena Palieri for the writing of the book "Ozio Creativo".

However, the author says that the phrase does not convey the idea that working less is a philosophy of life.

According to him, the future belongs to those who are able to free themselves from the traditional idea of work promoted by industrial society and are able to bet on a system of activities where work will be confused with free time, that is, with creative idleness.

In this situation, we can answer the question "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life", right?

In a way, being adept at creative idleness will make people work with satisfaction and this practice will merge with pleasure and love for what one does.

What is Domenico De Masi's post-industrial society?

According to the author, human beings have been used to performing repetitive functions as if they were machines for hundreds of years and creative activities demand enormous mental effort.

However, creativity is a required skill in today's society.

This current society, defined by De Masi as "post-industrial", was born in the 1950s with the globalization, technology and communication.

It came after the industrial revolution, which isolated the aesthetic and gave way to gray factories with exhausted employees. Although the writer points out that we came out of this period some time ago, our offices have neutral colors, hospitality furniture and demand the maximization of production.

Also, post-industrial society is characterized by competitive work, be it physical or intellectual, privileges the production of ideas and demands a quiet body and a restless mind. In other words, it demands creative idleness.

For human beings to be able to enjoy creative idleness, De Masi says they must get rid of habits acquired in industrial society, like working for hours on end every day and going to sleep already thinking about the next day, and simultaneously focus on lifelong learningand having fun.

What is the importance of creative idleness?

We talked about the concept of creative idleness and how it is demanded in today's society, but what is its importance? We can highlight a few points:

  • More flexible hours for the work routine;
  • Increased efficiency and creativity of employees;
  • As creative idleness is the combination of work, study and recreation, all these parts contribute to greater productivity and satisfaction;
  • It allows people to enjoy their free time, value their work and improve their knowledge;
  • Rest will boost work performance. 

In addition, Domenico De Masi leaves another advantage of creative idleness recorded in the book: the possibility of converting boredom into productivity.

According to the sociologist, to do this you need to fill your time with actions chosen voluntarily rather than those done out of obligation.

It is the empowerment of the mind that will result in a great and creative idea. You don't learn and produce if you stay stuck in alienating idleness.

Finally, as we mentioned before, the society is driven by ideas.

One of the main keys to becoming productive is rest, because the brain needs time to relax and organize learning.

What do other authors say about it?

In "Keep Going", by author Austin Kleon, you will discover how to face everyday creative obstacles in order to keep the production of ideas always active during your workday.

If you are tired of routine, the book "The 4-Hour Workweek", by the investor and consultant Tim Ferriss, is your greatest inspiration. The author provides valuable tips to optimize your work and have financial freedom so that you can travel at any time of the year.

Finally, besides understanding the concept of creative idleness and putting it into practice, it is essential that you know how to manage your time. In the best-seller “Getting Things Done”, the author David Allen reveals the GTD method, which consists of increasing the productivity and efficiency of your work.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Understand the limits of your brain;
  • Keep a balance between recreation, education and work;
  • Take notes, because ideas come when you least expect them: always have a notebook nearby or use the notepad on your cell phone;
  • Reserve time for recreation: stimulate your creativity by listening to music, going for a walk, reading a book or watching a movie;
  • Manage your time: an excellent way to organize tasks is the Pomodoro technique

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Ozio Creativo - Domenico De Masi

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