John Green Wants You to Pay Attention to Your Attention | ReThinking with Adam Grant Podcast Summary

John Green Wants You to Pay Attention to Your Attention | Free Podcast Summary

John Green Wants You to Pay Attention to Your Attention | ReThinking with Adam Grant

In a captivating dialogue with Adam Grant, John Green, the renowned author of ‘The Fault In Our Stars,’ explores his unique practice of rating everything on a five-point scale.

This practice, born out of introspection, has led him to pay more attention to his attention, offering fresh perspectives on the human experience.

The Power of Bibliotherapy

Green is a strong advocate for bibliotherapy, the use of books as therapy.

He believes that books can make people feel less alone during the loneliest times of their lives and can also accompany them during joyful times.

He appreciates books that contain a full spectrum of human emotions, as they give people permission to feel those emotions.

The Mutual Generosity of Writing and Reading

Green acknowledges the mutual generosity involved in the process of writing and reading a book.

While he is giving a gift to the reader through his writing, the reader is also giving him a gift by dedicating their time and attention to his work.

This understanding has led him to sign hundreds of thousands of copies of his books as a way to express his gratitude to his readers.

The Experience of Living with OCD

Green discusses the experience of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which he rates as a one-star experience.

He rejects the idea of finding a ‘superpower’ or upside in mental illness, viewing it instead as a chronic health problem that he has to manage and treat like any other health issue.

The Role of Adults Reading Young Adult Novels

Green gives a four-star rating to adults reading young adult novels.

He believes that these stories can offer a unique perspective on experiences that continue to occur in adulthood, as they often depict the first time these experiences occur during adolescence.

This intensity and novelty make these stories both fun to write and read.

In the end what you pay attention to matters, but maybe what matters most is the kind of attention you pay. – John Green

The Concept of ‘Flow’

Green finds signing his books to be a flow experience, similar to playing a game of Tetris or driving.

These activities may not be challenging, but they require enough attention to keep him fully engaged and present in the moment.

This state of being fully engrossed in an activity is described as a ‘present tense that actually feels present.’

The Impact of Remote Work

Green shares his thoughts on remote work, giving it a rating of three and a half stars.

While he appreciates the calm and contemplation it offers, he also misses the spontaneous collaborations and interactions that come from being physically present with others.

However, he would still prefer to work from home for most of the week.

The Importance of Therapy

Therapy is given a five-star rating by Green.

He credits cognitive behavioral therapy for helping him manage his obsessive-compulsive disorder and periods of major depression.

He views therapy as a crucial tool that has allowed him to lead a healthy and productive life despite his mental health challenges.

Pay attention to what you pay attention to if you want to know what to do with your life. – Amy Krouse Rosenthal, as quoted by John Green

The Role of Luck in Success

Green resonates with the concept of the luck scale debate, which suggests that the higher the skill level in a field, the more important luck becomes.

This idea resonates with Green, who relates it to his experience as a writer.

He believes that among highly skilled writers, luck plays a significant role in differentiating success.

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