Cover Image: Niksen

Niksen

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed reading and learning more about Niksen.  I wasn’t familiar with Niksen and had confused it with Hygge. I now understand the differences.  I also enjoyed learning about Dutch lifestyle. 
I’d recommend reading this book and adding Niksen to your life.
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This was cute, some cool concepts but ultimately pretty typical self help book fare!! I wish the author went into more detail, but it was such a fast read that I'd definitely recommend just in case - I think it could mean a lot to some :)
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This was such an interesting book to read! I hadn't expected to fly through a non fiction book as I did with this one. The subjects touched upon in this book were all very interesting and insightful. It really IS important to take some time off for 'Niksening'. Mecking doesn't portray 'Niksen' as THE solution for peace and calmness in your life, and also clearly makes sure that it doesn't always work for everyone. I really liked that, as some self help books tend to portray their methods as THE perfect solution. This wasn't the case for Niksen!
As a person living in a neighboring country of the Netherlands, and as a Dutch speaking person as well, I think I liked this book even more. I loved reading some more about the beautiful Netherlands.
I really enjoyed this book and found it to be very interesting! If you're interested in how to implement 'niksen' into your own life, I would definitely recommend reading this book.
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I preface this by saying that I have read and very much enjoyed all of Meik Wieking's books and my experience with those books is what drew me to request a copy of Niksen. Perhaps I went in with the wrong expectations, but in any case, I was disappointed.

I had difficulty completing this book. While Mecking can certainly write capably, I do not think there was enough here to constitute a book. I know she wrote a popular article on this topic, and I'm sure there was more to say than could be contained in an article, but this book felt padded. 

While Wieking is skilled at weaving research into personal observations and insights about his topic, I did not find the same here. It did not feel integrated, rather choppy and at at times rather disjointed.

But most surprising for me is the fact that this concept of Niksen turns out to be one that the author herself invented, inspired by the Dutch culture, rather than one that has existed within the culture for years (like hygge in Denmark for example). I mean, the author is transparent about it, which is important, but it left me with a definite, "What?" reaction when it was revealed. It was disappointing and inspired a double take on my part. I almost set the book down at that point. Fair enough, you can notice that the Dutch in general seem to be good at "doing nothing" but there is something about creating a term and running with it that felt perhaps that the author was trying to jump on the very successful Nordic lifestyle book bandwagon. 

If framed differently, perhaps as a deeper look at how people in different cultures around the world practice "doing nothing", this book might have come off more successfully.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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Who would have thought a book on doing nothing would feel like so much work? I'm just not a fan. I went in thinking maybe this would be like Hygge (which I enjoy) but the majority of the beginning was slogging through the author's background, distaste for wellness and self care media, and how much Niksen is and isn't like every other wellness and aesthetic fad out there. It was a slog. 
I do think the concept of Niksen, when we finally get to it, is a great one and one we should promote more in this too-fast, too-busy, too-sick life most of the Western world lives in. However, I think it could have been written about in a more accessible, less judgy, and softer way.
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NIKSEN

With a book like Olga Mecking’s Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing, it’s reasonable for the reading public to ask whether “Niksen” is the next self-help system about to take the world by storm. After all, every so often even simple questions such as “Does it spark joy?” is enough to set untold numbers of people on the path to some form of personal improvement.

For my part, I don’t really think so. To be fair, and to her credit, Mecking makes no such claims in her book, which in all honesty doesn’t really do a good job of describing what makes “Niksen” a Dutch art. The book is an interesting outsider’s perspective of what Dutch culture is like and sharing how the Dutch easily “verb” nouns. Niks means “nothing” in Dutch; therefore niksen is the state of doing nothing.

But there’s really no method to it. Sometimes your mind just wanders. Sometimes you end up distracted by the inconsequential. And sometimes, well, it’s just how you deal.

So niksen as a system of personal improvement? Forget about it.

But the key takeaway from Niksen (the book) is that it’s okay to be doing nothing sometimes.

I think that’s an important message to get across in a world where everyone finds themselves in an endless loop of busy. An idle mind is the devil’s playground, sure, but if the same idleness is what allows us to recharge our batteries, see things from new perspectives, and ultimately catch that second wind so we can do our most important work, then it will have been worth it.
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There are a host of wellness books out there based on concepts from other cultures. You can embrace Hygge and live cozy. You can work on mindfulness. Or you can declutter your home with Marie Kondo or with Swedish Death Cleaning. Or you can do nothing. 

Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is about how to do nothing in a way that improves your life. It’s not about being bored or sitting in front of Netflix for hours. It’s about learning to take breaks so your brain can quiet and make connections that it can’t find if you’re constantly doing things. Niksen is like daydreaming, when we take a few minutes to turn away from all our screens and just be. It’s looking out the window at the beauty of nature, closing your eyes to rest them from all the harsh lighting, giving your spirit a minute to breathe while putting aside all the busyness. 

Author Olga Mecking has done lots of research about doing nothing, and she blends the results of scientific studies with wise words from other authors and personal anecdotes to come up with all the reasons why Niksen is good for us, how to niks at home or at work, and all the benefits we can expect from taking the time to do nothing. It’s a form of self-care, and it can make you more creative and more productive. 

Niksen is a short book filled with colorful, whimsical illustrations, but it also contains a wealth of reasons why engaging in doing nothing is an important part of life. I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about niksen. As someone who has been fighting burnout, I think this will help. I love the playfulness of niksen, and I love that it’s not about being lazy but it’s also not about being productive. It’s about just being, breathing, looking around, and enjoying the moment. 

This little tome would make a great gift for anyone struggling with overcommitting, overscheduling, exhaustion, burnout, or who can’t set their phone aside for five minutes. It could help, even if the person you need to buy this for is yourself. 

Egalleys for Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing were provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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This was a really interesting title to read. If you are a fan of all things hygge, then you may well enjoy this delve into the art of Niksen-ing. I realised that I'm not at all good at it!
I was interested in the Dutch lifestyle and ended up researching what it might eb like to make a move there. 
While a lot of what I read wasn't new to me, I enjoyed the well thought out and detailed research that had gone into writing this book.
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Niksen by Olga Mecking is a non-fiction title sharing the benefits of "Niksen", is the art of doing nothing in the Dutch culture. The author does a good job introducing the topic and interacting with the reader with examples and questions in the first chapter. I also found it interesting how the author connected Niksen to forms in other cultures such as the siesta, sabbath, and dolce far niente. The "Niks on this" had reflection questions at the end of each chapter which were helpful to summarize the information and apply it. However, this book seems to have fallen into the trap of extending the book length just to meet the magic "200 pages' many other non-fiction books do. I also wish the book would have gone a bit deeper into some of the explanations of the importance of Niksen and more approaches on how to apply it, especially when resisting it. Notably, this book is beautiful with cute illustrations throughout the book which would make it an appealing coffee-stand book. Overall I recommend this for people looking for a quick, straightforward read on Niksen. 

Many thanks to the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review!
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I like the idea of decluttering my mind, but this book didn't really give me enough oomph to get going. Or do I mean stop going?
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Introducing the idea of Niksen - the dutch art of doing nothing. I read this book hoping to pick up tips on how to incorporate this into my life. It feels very well researched with plenty of interviews, quotes and extracts with people discussing Niksen. I wouldn't say I read anything groundbreaking here but if anything, it served as a gentle reminder to slow down and not always feel the need to be rushing around. I know I often have my best/most creative ideas in the shower (undistracted by phone/email etc) and the author mentions this. So the book has got me thinking a little bit more about how, in 2021, I can take more time out to just do nothing and hopefully feel less stressed and get more creative in the process.
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What a refreshingly thorough book Olga Mecking's Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing is! I'd expected a thorough explanation of the Dutch concept of Niksen and a solid case for why "doing nothing" is important, effective, and healthful. It's all there. What sets this book apart from those with similar titles is that Mecking - a well regarded writer whose work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and myriad other newspapers and magazines worldwide - lets the reader know when Niksen isn't particularly applicable. Rather than make a "one-size fits all" sort of declaration, Mecking skillfully recognizes that one's personality, preferences, circumstances, and culture all make such a prescriptive approach inapplicable. I found appealing the seasoned rationale on why Niksen is worthy of serious consideration, its benefits, and useful suggestions to implement it consistent with one's own liking and lifestyle.
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I had high hopes going into this book, mostly because I think that it is important that people learn to really do nothing, but this book didn't really follow through on the why or how though.
Which made it feel more like a new trendy thing rather than something that we should be trying to implement into our lives for the long term. 

If you're looking for a book that feels more like it's written for the long term I'd recommend "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell
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So you’ve Konmari’ed your entire house (or at least have a drawer of items that spark joy and a closet that is best forgotten), what’s next? Why not try Niksen? It’s the Dutch art of doing nothing translated into a new American act of decluttering your mind. Or, according to the Dutch, possibly vice versa.

“We strive to be everything, for everyone, at all times. Being a modern-day human is exhausting.”

Niksen could be the answer.

“Simply doing nothing can be enormously beneficial, especially for those of us who, like me, feel overwhelmed by our responsibilities.”

Doing nothing can ultimately make us more productive by avoiding burnout, and encouraging us to work more carefully and deliberately.

I love the idea of niksen. Whenever I need a break from life, instead of “daydreaming” I can be “niksening”. It just sounds more purposeful.

Unfortunately, and perhaps to lengthen an article into book size, the author throws many side topics into the mix. You don’t learn how to include niksen in your life until well over halfway through the book. However, the largest aside about Dutch culture was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Though Niksen, the book, is a rambling, seemingly random trip through the author’s mind and life, I still like the idea of decluttering my mind. 3 stars.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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(Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

I don't often tend to read self-help books, or books that focus on wellness trends, but I had to get my hands on this one, since it evolved around Dutch culture, which has become such an important part of my life over the last year and a half.
And that, I enjoyed. The small tid-bits of Dutch culture we got, I mean. They weren't much, but they were something.
I also enjoyed the talk of niksening, or doing (literally) nothing for the better of yourself and your mental health. It was very well integrated in the `go go go` concept on which today's society is based, and the end of each chapter came with some nice questions you could brood over. That was cool.
However, what I did find out is that niksen will never be an option for me. Not long-time niksen, at least. And that, as the author says, is completely fine.
I would recommend you to pick up this book if you want to try a new wellness trend that is not as much focused on making the most of your time and not as toxic as those that are mainly being promoted now, but that would be about it,
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I really wanted to like this book, as I’ve liked other books on similar topics, such as tidying up and hygge, but this one fell short for me. I was expecting something a bit easier to digest, the research was informative but felt bulky. This may be partially because I was reading an advanced copy, so the formatting wasn’t as easy to follow as the finished copy. 

I went into this one expecting something that would be easy to read and reflect the idea of “doing nothing” a bit more, and instead was sometimes overwhelmed by the research and ideas. I appreciated all the information, but it left me feeling less relaxed than I was hoping given the topic. 

I would pick up a finished copy, as I think being able to hold this final copy in my hands, see the size and have the ability to flip through the pages would help set my expectations to the correct standard and approach for the contents. I really like the idea of “doing nothing” and understand how taking time out of the day to recharge and daydream is helpful, but when I was reading the ARC I didn’t feel charged up and ready to practice the technique.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I liked the format a lot. The illustrations were beautiful and the sections of the book were organized in a friendly, easy to read way. I love the voice of the book as well. It felt more like a conversation the author was having with you as the reader, instead of most “self-help” books, where it feels like the author is talking at you or telling you what to do. The vibes of this book were very chill and comforting.
I enjoyed how the book taught me about Dutch culture and practical ways to savor my time spent truly relaxing and doing nothing. It’s very easy to fall into the workaholism trap of today’s capitalist societies and hustle cultures, and she makes it easy to take advantage of a few minutes here and there to clear your mind throughout the day. I also appreciated that she acknowledged how niksen may not be for everyone. It was a breath of fresh air. 
The only inconsistency I noticed was that the author said Niksen is not mindfulness, but towards the end she suggests practicing grounding techniques and noticing your surrounding as a way to practice niksen; but this is a way to practice mindfulness as well.
All in all, the benefits of “niksen-ing” presented in this book made me notice how I spend my time more, and I will try to consciously “do nothing” more often.
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Niksen is a new concept to me, but this book explains the "Dutch Art of Doing Nothing" well and gives practical ways you can use it in your daily life. In this today's fast-paced world it's something we can use more than ever and I look forward to keeping this in mind next time I need to slow down. 
Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the advance copy.
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'Niksen' was my non-fiction read for the month, and I'm glad I chose to read it. This is a good, light book that can be read before bed and/or to get motivated in your journey of mindfulness and self-realization. Most of us live fast-paced lives, and we are always on the go. I wanted to read this book especially during this time when I've been "forced" to do nothing due to lockdowns and curfews in the covid era. And it has been extremely difficult and uncomfortable every. single. time.  In this context, Olga Mecking does a good job of introducing the concept of "Niksen", doing nothing. Her examples from the Dutch culture, too, are inspiring, but I do think that this could've been a shorter book; it does feel a bit padded. Other than that, like most of the books in this genre, it is informative, enlightening, and pretty straight-forward.
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Can doing nothing be enormously beneficial specially for the busy people ? yes and it is called Niksen in Dutch. Niksen comes from a word Niks which means nothing and Niksen means doing nothing. 

 Is it really hard to sit around somewhere and do nothing ? it can be quite challenging for people who are in the habit of working for long hours and do think that they shouldn’t waste time by sitting idle. The author says that one of the reasons Niksen is so hard is because we feel ashamed when we engage in activities that are apparently less productive.

What is niksening or Niksen ?
The author says that Niksening is downtime, quiet time, finding a moment to unwind and relax, and may reflect a little. 

But  it is not  Niksening if you are doing any work passively, if your job requires a lot of thinking it doesn’t mean that you are not working. It also doesn’t mean sitting at one place and starting worrying about something. It’s neither mindfulness nor watching tv or phone. 

I think  that it’s mostly a problem in big cities where people do not have enough time to sit alone and do nothing. People in smaller cities, towns, villages have  enough time to sit idle.
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