Harness your mind’s innate tendency to wander, stall, rest, and unfocus and become more productive—in the boardroom, living room, or classroom.

Named one of Coastal Living’s Best Books for the Beach This Summer

To finish tasks and achieve goals, most people believe that more focus is the solution. We rely on to-do lists, calendar reminders, noise-blocking headphones, and sometimes medication to help us concentrate—even though these tactics often fail to substantially improve productivity. Drawing on the latest brain research, compelling stories from his psychological practice, and colorful examples of counterintuitive success from sports, business, education, and the arts, neuroscientist Srini Pillay, M.D., challenges traditional ideas about productivity, revealing the lasting, positive benefits of adding deliberate and regular unfocus to your repertoire. A fascinating tour through brain wavelengths and rhythm, mindsets, and mental relaxation, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try demonstrates how specific kinds of planned unfocus stimulate cognitive calmness, jumpstart productivity, enhance innovation, inspire creativity, improve long-term memory, and, of course, help you stay on target.

Tinkering with ideas and with things releases your mind to wander from a state of stuckness into a possibility frame of mind, triggering neural connections and new insights.

Dabbling in a new endeavor—whether a hobby or fantasy—disrupts your habitual and reactive thinking, helping you find new solutions to old problems.

Doodling can help you tap into another brain frequency to remove obstacles and create opportunities and inspiration.

With techniques for training the brain to unfocus, concepts for scheduling busy lives, and ideas for controlling this new cognitive-toggling capability, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try will change how you think about daydreaming, relaxing, leaving work unfinished, and even multitasking. What you’ll discover is a greater freedom, a deeper intelligence, and a more profound joy in your life.

Praise for Tinker Dabble Doodle Try

“Pillay’s effortless writing style, combined with an excellent balance of popular psychology and self-help, makes this a helpful read for those who enjoy a light dive into psychology with practical applications.”Library Journal

“Pillay cites an intriguing range of brain studies to support his argument, and his case studies of individuals with whom he has worked provide useful insights.”Kirkus Reviews

“Dr. Srini Pillay offers a brilliant, deeply researched, and even more deeply imagined blueprint for using one’s full mental armamentarium, conscious, unconscious, and all the undiscovered rest! A fantastic book!”—Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., co-author of Delivered from Distraction

“Dr. Pillay’s new book will help you create a new, fun, more playful destiny and unlock your brain’s inner potential.”—Daniel G. Amen, M.D., co-author of The Brain Warrior’s Way

“This book not only gives you license to step off the hamster wheel of focus, focus, focus, but it will show you how to strategically and productively do so.”—JJ Virgin, author of JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet

“This brilliant book shows how to manipulate your brain to alternate between intense concentration and deliberate mind-wandering.”—Mark Robert Waldman, co-author of How God Changes Your Brain
Advance praise for Tinker Dabble Doodle Try

“[Srini] Pillay’s effortless writing style, combined with an excellent balance of popular psychology and self-help, makes this a helpful read for those who enjoy a light dive into psychology with practical applications.”Library Journal

“Any reader will be bound to find more than a few useful [suggestions]. . . . Pillay cites an intriguing range of brain studies to support his argument, and his case studies of individuals with whom he has worked provide useful insights.”Kirkus Reviews

“There has never been a generation in the history of the world that has spent less time alone with their minds. Between our cult of focus and our tendency to keep ourselves stimulated by our ever-present devices, what is lost is time to mentally meander, to ruminate and reflect. Srini Pillay makes a powerful case for the benefits of unfocus. Much more than that, he explains, in practical and provocative ways, how we can harness the power of our wandering minds to improve our careers and lives. Tinker Dabble Doodle Try is a powerful antidote to modern life.”—Tony Crabbe, author of Busy: How to Thrive in a World of Too Much

“At a time when outsmarting AI means becoming more innovate and creative, who better to guide than Dr. Srini Pillay. In this heartfelt book Pillay uses his own experience and insights as a physician, psychiatrist, counselor, and musician to profoundly speak to the way we live our lives and narrate a way of being that will bring all of us to use our ‘beautiful brain.’ A must-read for anyone determined to be inspiring, reflective and dynamic.”—Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice, London Business School
 
“I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to accomplish more by doing less. It shows why relentless focus and a cultish adherence to overwork are counterproductive. And it explains how innovation and insight—true markers of success in our new working reality—are more in our control than we might think. Read Tinker Dabble Doodle Try to strengthen both your ability and your resolve to slack-off, strategically.”—Christine Carter, Ph.D., author of The Sweet Spot

“Dr. Srini Pillay offers a brilliant, deeply researched, and even more deeply imagined blueprint for using one’s full mental armamentarium, conscious, unconscious, and all the undiscovered rest! A fantastic book!”—Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., co-author of Delivered from Distraction
  
“Dr. Pillay’s new book will help you create a new, fun, more playful destiny and unlock your brain’s inner potential.”—Daniel G. Amen, M.D., co-author of The Brain Warrior’s Way
 
“This book not only gives you license to step off the hamster wheel of focus, focus, focus, but it will show you how to strategically and productively do so.”—JJ Virgin, author of JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet
 
“This brilliant book shows how to manipulate your brain to alternate between intense concentration and deliberate mind-wandering. You’ll solve problems more quickly and experience more satisfaction in life.”—Mark Robert Waldman, co-author of How God Changes Your Brain
 
“Cognitive rest is the new exercise! Tinker Dabble Doodle Try is great medicine for those who have long suspected that multitasking and always being on the go aren’t all they are cracked up to be.”—Sara Gottfried M.D., author of The Hormone Cure
 
“The story of how the brain takes the 'ingredients' of our lives and spins them into new ideas, innovations, and creative inspirations is one of the most fascinating narratives I have read in some time.”—John Assaraf, author of Having It All