Happy New Year! Can our most obstructing traits (laziness, embarrassment, cynicism) actually help rather than hinder our work (or resolutions)?


Salvato, Nick. Duke, 2016
263p bibl index afp, 9780822360841 $89.95, 9780822360988 $24.95, 9780822374473

Obstruction book cover

Through an often breathtaking range of cultural readings, Salvato (performing and media arts, Cornell) offers new ways to think about traits that are normally seen as obstructions or impediments to creative or scholarly projects. He focuses on five obstructions—laziness, digressiveness, embarrassment, slowness, and cynicism—and shows how each can be embraced as productive rather than a hindrance. By reading across contemporary texts, from the teachings of Lama Surya Das to the animated television series Daria, Salvato recovers the obstructions for creative and scholarly activity. The self-reflective stance Salvato often employs and the humor he brings to the discussion make the book a pleasurable read. This is a book for those interested in affect theory, cultural studies, creative writing, and humanistic inquiry. There is little doubt that graduate students and early-career academics, especially those in the humanities, will find this book a source of affirmation, encouragement, and transformation.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
M. Uebel, University of Texas
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Psychology
Choice Issue: Nov 2016