On Wednesday I gave my talk at the Westerkerk in Amsterdam, sponsored by the School of Life Amsterdam.


I expected that the Westerkerk would be a cool venue, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a giant church, made more impressive by the fact that it dates from the seventeenth century, and is just beautifully proportioned, constructed and maintained. And it turned out to be the perfect place to talk about the place of rest in busy lives: its congregation was Protestant merchants who grew wealthy off trade, but they saw fit to place in the middle of their busy city a monument to prayer and contemplation and rest.


It was a sold-out crowd. Obviously I couldn’t take any pictures during my own talk, but this is what the place looked like during my predecessor’s talk:


Then after a break it was my turn.

The School of Life Amsterdam
(Taken by Nature Desks)

One of the fun things about this project is that there are a lot of ways into the subject of rest. More academic audiences are interested in the historical and neuroscience angles; people in the business world want to know what the implications are for leadership and organizational design; other people want to know how to put more rest in their everyday lives. This audience was the third.


So my talk focused more on why rest is important in everyone’s lives, and how rest helps us discover how to be our best selves– and by the way, some people use rest to be super creative while also working less.

Afterwards there was a signing, which is great as a way to spend some time talking to people about their own lives, and answer more questions.


The staff of The School of Life is incredibly professional, the audio guy was terrific, and the host did a great job, too.


We recorded the talk, and I hope to have some extracts up online, though the audio isn’t awesome. (Maybe I can do something with that on iMovie.) I’ll also put together an ebook of the talk transcript, which I think will make a decent little essay.