5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone by Barbara Ann Kipfer, illustrations by Scot Ritchie, 389 pp, RL: Anyone Who Has a Phone


5,203 Things to Do 
Instead of Looking at Your Phone
by Barbara Ann Kipfer
illustrations by Scot Ritchie
Review Copy from Workman Publishing

Do I really need to review this book (that cleverly, has a trim size similar to a phone and, ironically can be read as an ebook on your phone)? We all know we need it. The beauty of 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone, and what will keep you off your phone, is the variety of things to do, some of which (let the dog out) can be done in a moment and some of which (crochet an afghan) could take a while, depending on your talents. Kipfer, author of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, has a gift for list making that includes humor, thoughtfulness, kindness and creativity while also acknowledging that these tiny computers we constantly hold in our hands can open some pretty amazing windows and doors. Above all else, Kipfer wants to inspire us to give our devices a rest and "make direct contact with others, with our environment, with an activity, or with the present moment." And, when that's not possible, her list of 5,203 things to do includes some mind-expanding suggestions for things to do on your phone (learn Esperanto) besides doom scrolling and social media bingeing. Here are a few of my favorites that should assure you this is a book worth buying for yourself and giving as a gift:

  • design a book cover
  • watch a cat drink or eat
  • warm someone's cold hands
  • pretend to be asleep
  • practice the art of Zen one-pointedness, thinking of only one thing
  • create pictograms
  • talk to your plants
  • discover a new secret hiding place

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