on…’How to be Idle’ by Tom Hodgkinson

Posted: 23/03/2011 in Literature, Review
Tags: ,

Entertaining, enlighteneing and essential

Within the one broad theme of ‘Idleness’, Hodgkinson manages to encompass so many neglegted yet important facets of life. Our need to work less and play more is justified in a very well written book using examples and quotes from some great thinkers through history.
The greatest strength of this book is that it gives you a warm feeling that things you enjoy – beer gardens, sleeping in late etc – are actually really good for you. The guilt associated with not working so many hours per week, the need to get up early to do DIY, are actually relics from the industrial revolution. This era of mass production with time as a mere commodity can be changed if people take on board the ideas of this book and adjust their lives to suit their soul and not their bank balance.
The book is divided into neat sections, each with a well placed quote, this makes it easy to read when visiting the toilet or having a bath or attending to any other idle pleasure.

Although the tone is whimsical and flippant I think you can take a serious message from How to be Idle. It really made me question the way we haven’t adjusted out lives to the post industrial World.

Why do most people still wake up early to sit in a traffic jam on their way to reach work at the arbitrary time of 9 o clock.

Why do we spend so little time eating a proper lunch when it is proven to extend life and reduce stress?

Why do we feel the need to work such long hours and erode the time we have to actually be human?

Who would I recommend this book to? Well…, everyone really. Unless you are lucky enough to work for yourself and do a 3 day week (like the author).

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