• Four Thousand Weeks

  • Embrace Your Limits. Change Your Life.
  • By: Oliver Burkeman
  • Narrated by: Oliver Burkeman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (273 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The instant Sunday Times best seller.

A Financial Times, Guardian and Observer Book of the Year.

One of the Daily Telegraph's 75 Best Books of 2021.

What if you stopped trying to do everything, so that you could finally get round to what counts?

We're obsessed with our lengthening to-do lists, our overfilled inboxes, the struggle against distraction and the sense that our attention spans are shrivelling. Still, we rarely make the connection between our daily struggles with time and the ultimate time management problem: the question of how best to use our ridiculously brief time on the planet, which amounts on average to about 4,000 weeks.

Four Thousand Weeks is an uplifting, engrossing and deeply realistic exploration of the challenge. Rejecting the futile modern obsession with 'getting everything done,' it introduces listeners to tools for constructing a meaningful life by embracing rather than denying their limitations.

Drawing on the insights of both ancient and contemporary philosophers, psychologists and spiritual teachers, Oliver Burkeman sets out to realign our relationship with time - and in doing so, to liberate us from its tyranny.

Embrace your limits. Change your life. Make your 4,000 weeks count.

©2021 Oliver Burkeman (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Life is finite. You don't have to fit everything in.... Read this book and wake up to a new way of thinking and living." (Emma Gannon)

"A much-needed reality check on our culture's crazy assumptions around work, productivity and living a meaningful life." (Mark Manson, best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)

"Comforting, fascinating, engaging, inspiring and useful, actually genuinely useful." (Marian Keyes)

What listeners say about Four Thousand Weeks

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If I could read only one book for the rest of my life…

…then this book would be the one I’d choose.

Wonderful work, I can’t wait to start listening it again!

Very much enjoyed how the author has put in the work to really understand the subject and draw meaningful conclusions. And all of it in a nicely distilled fashion, without wasting reader’s time.

Seriously, this book is next level and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a new perspective on your life.

My sincere thanks to the author for sharing your work with the world!

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An absolute must read for 2022.

Easy and engaging style, well narrated.
The author proposes that how we think about time and consequently use our time, suffer from some misconceptions that truly get us nowhere happy or fulfilled. And as the misconceptions are deeply embedded in the society, it's pretty difficult to figure them out on your own.
It's an eye opener. Maybe because I'm 40, what he says resonates deeply with what I've been thinking, experiencing and trying to change. It might be different for someone in their 20s- but ach, all the frustration I might have avoided in the 1st place if I had read this 15 years ago.
The concepts are philosophical but some practical ideas are there too. The author doesn't come up with a ready to go solution, but you'd be silly to expect that. A different way of looking at things and some practical tips to get you started will take you a long way if you're willing. That's what the book offers. The rest of the process is up to you.

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One of the most important books I’ve ever read

This book is surprisingly poignant and insightful. What a treat! A big and heartfelt thank you to Oliver.

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Life-changing Book

Best book I've read for the last 5 years! It really puts things into perspective and gives a sense of freedom and calmness. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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Realistic time management ideas

I loved this book. it had realistic ideas and really good ways to move forward without feeling guilty about stuff...

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Life changing and profound

this book is not a self help book. it's a life guide. thoroughly enjoyed it, and will often go back to it.

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Fresh perspective on time

You may think this book about time management or for productive geeks, but I think this book helps you gain control of the understanding what time is and how we perceive it.

This will become one of those books I return to once a year so that I don’t forget the valuable insights I learnt about time.

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Slowing down

Taking the most of your 4000 weeks and making it count. Has transformed my daily life where I am prioritizing my activities. This is a must read! Oliver Burkeman really nails how to deal with the daily rat race.

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A great reminder of life’s truths

And it’s only truth that sets you free! Easy to listen to & performed by the author

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Totally worth it

This book offers a great perspective over the finitude of our lives, and how to acknowledge that for the best.
The stories he tells throughout the book are very relatable, making the book very pleasant.
The narration is also superb!

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  • JC
  • 11-14-21

Hard work

Let me start with the major positive - Oliver Burkeman should be asked to narrate every audio book on Audible. His speaking voice is a real pleasure to listen to!

Sadly the book itself just wasn't for me. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting but found myself half way through it with my mind continually wandering off and thinking about other things. I would have expected to have gleamed at least a few take aways from any book by that stage but unfortunately there was nothing. Maybe this is more the kind of book you just listen to and don't taken anything away from, but for that I would prefer to go down the route of fiction.

The author comes across as a highly intelligent individual and maybe I just couldn't grasp where he was trying to lead the listener with his take on our finite lives. From the other reviews its clear that some found a better understanding of what he was saying, however, for me I found it a real slog and ..... well, life's just too short for doing something you don't want to do (ha, maybe I did take something from the book!)

43 people found this helpful

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  • valleywriter
  • 08-27-21

Clever, thought-provoking and reassuring

I really enjoyed this audiobook. The author reads it really well, which only adds to the well-written and useful content. I also found it reassuring that the way I naturally find myself living my life is probably exactly right for me. I always felt a bit concerned that I could never follow the advice of productivity gurus; now I understand why!

25 people found this helpful

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  • Shaun Daly
  • 09-29-21

Terrific!

As a failed self-improver for around 40 years, this was a strangely enjoyable tour through past pain and confusion, topped off with sound alternative advice to traditional time management at the end. I've 'read' almost 100 audiobooks over the last 18 months or so and this is my new favourite (just pipping "Ten Rules for Talking")

19 people found this helpful

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  • Eva Gkenakou
  • 09-29-21

Lower your expectations because life is short

Lower your expectations because life is short. That’s what the book tells us for more than 6 hours, the way I heard it. It’s true to a certain extend and good to be reminded that we won’t accomplish absolutely everything but not sure we need a whole book about it…Excellent narration by the author and good use of humour.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Dr Halsley
  • 08-30-21

4000 weeks

I enjoyed this short little book. Burkeman makes a lot of good points and turns a few common conceptions of time and productivity on their heads. Just like the stoics, he argues that it is because of our finite time that our days are meaningful at all. Definitely give it a listen!

18 people found this helpful

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  • Johansen
  • 10-03-21

Limited amount of information

Limited amount of information in many words. Important topic. Good attempt to send the message.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Gal Tsvet
  • 01-03-22

Well researched and wonderfully delivered

I usually take half an hour to compose a review (that's why I've only ever written a few), carefully wording it, double checking etc. I'm taking Oliver's advice here - "the only [reviews] that count are the ones we actually [write]" and I'm leaving this quick one here. It feels good!

13 people found this helpful

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  • kate
  • 12-19-21

Absolutely wonderful

Loved this so much. Thank you Oliver.
I read and listen to loads of books and this one was an absolute stand out. I will definitely return to it. And I will definitely gift it too.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Lin Lee
  • 12-23-21

A wise, interesting and modern take on time

This book is an exposition on the problem of time as considered by philosophers, mystics, scientists through the ages. However, it also a commentary on modernity, how it perceives time, and how this time impact on the way we perceive and live our lives. It does offer specific and concrete prescriptions to the problem of time. I am not in a position to comment on these yet as I have not implemented them, but they do sound relatively straightforward and promising in terms of possibility of success. The broader points of this book, about how ultimately the shortness of life (ie limited time) is the central problem of this life, and how we will never do most of the things we dream to do, have already been very helpful for me to be more present with my kids and be more relaxed in these busy and stressful holiday times.

9 people found this helpful

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  • DrSyd
  • 12-16-21

One of the most important books you can read

It’s a great perspective on a modern challenge with some genuine, new ideas that could change the way you live. We have been kidding ourselves for too long and it’s time for a re-think x

8 people found this helpful

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  • Antony
  • 05-19-22

thought invoking.

ironic that audible force you to write a fifteen word review of a book about not wasting your life when the two words are enough.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Arthur Wilson
  • 08-05-22

The anti-perspective

I like the title and concept 4,000 weeks of life, make the beast of it. I think some things are in the mark, some views were just not practical to me…for example…instead of writing a long to do list, the author suggests you write what you have done…or replace the to do with what I have done list. Two list are a waste of time…We only have 4,000 weeks…plus my to do list is almost a simply a reminder of things to do… but some really good concepts as well….perfection is not going to happen…but he say why have hope? I hope someone reads this review…if they don’t…no stress to me. If they do, I hope it helps. :-)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-30-22

A simple yet profound message

This book is really very simple at heart — recognise and embrace your finitude.

Burkeman deftly explains that our society’s ideas about time cause much of the anxiety and discontentment we experience in our lives. While we cannot change society we can change our outlook and response to these ideas.

The narration by the author is superb.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark Parry
  • 07-26-22

Practical, thought-provoking & unexpected

I really liked this book, which offers a range of quite practical approaches to the ageless conundrum of time management. The book was quite different to what I anticipated in that it’s almost an anti-time management guide. Instead of offering tools, techniques approaches, and skills to managing one’s time the author suggests we rethink the concept of time, and fundamentally our approach and relationship with it. This all made a whole heap of sense to me as I enjoyably listened however I respect that some listeners may be very annoyed with dashed expectations especially those seeking tips, tricks, tools, and techniques to managing time! ⏰

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  • Jacqueline Chamley
  • 07-19-22

Recommend to everyone!

Really engaging and thought provoking. More self aware and unique than other ‘self help’ books, as it understands and explains the shortcomings of our finite human life and how to not ‘waste’ it. Intertwines various ideas into a succinct book that actually makes sense.

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  • Jamie Shaw
  • 07-13-22

Amazing

This book opened my eyes to a new perspective and a new way of living. I encourage anyone currently struggling through a never-ending list of tasks that seem overwhelming to read this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-29-22

Life-changing book

This is a book I’ve had to tell EVERYONE about. I believe it can genuinely change your life. Beautifully researched and written too. Thank you, Oliver.

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  • Purin
  • 06-18-22

Life-changing

I never read books twice because (ironically) I think life is too short. For this book, I am making an exception. It's one of the most important books I've ever read. I wish everyone could read it, the sooner the better, but especially at midlife.

Although it contains practical tips to apply, the way it changes you is rather through the way your perception will shift. We are coming to understand that "more, more, more" is not an attitude that serves personal or planetary wellbeing, but it applies just as much to time management. Just as there are limits to what we can physically consume, there are also real limits (which we are conditioned to ignore) regarding what we can get done in a single lifetime. Realising that can set us free from a lot of suffering.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-08-22

Balanced, insightful and meaningful

Other than a few simplistic and misguided comments about early parenting, this is a wonderful book, read in an engaging manner.

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  • mayo
  • 06-03-22

Nice mix of philosophy and time

It’s about time philosophy and the meaning of life was presented in a time management book. Age old religions and thinking weaved into the how and why of managing time. Dam sight better than the usual tips to improve email. I love the English sense of humour that Oliver Burkeman uses throughout, but maybe don’t need to reinforce the same point so many times