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A Geography Of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist Paperback – July 23, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0465026425 ISBN-10: 0465026427 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (July 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465026427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465026425
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On time, out of time, time out, time is money--if our vernacular is any indication, the concept of time has certainly infiltrated American culture. Does everybody in the world share the same perception of time? In A Geography of Time, psychologist Robert Levine puts time to the test by sending teams of researchers all over the world to measure everything from the average walking speed to the time it takes to buy a stamp at the post office. Levine scatters his findings among engaging accounts of his own encounters with the various perceptions of time in different cultures. From the history of clocks to how people tell time today, A Geography of Time is jam-packed with "timely" information. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Not limited by conventional notions of time?or "clock time," as he calls it?Levine (psychology, California State Univ., Fresno) presents a wide-ranging work loosely organized around a social construct of time. The result is an intellectualized "places-rated" guide containing observations on where people are the most generous and talk the fastest, as well as discussions of how "time wars" are waged and deeper insights into South American, Japanese, and other cultures through their perception of time. The first part of the book covers concepts of time and the history of the techniques used to measure it. The focus then shifts to the author's cross-cultural research on pace of life and its social implications. Time literacy, a type of multiculturalism, is advocated in the final section, which also contains advice for approaching life in "slower" cultures. Unique, wry, and readable, this well-documented book is recommended for social psychology collections and public libraries for sophisticated readers with the time to spare.?Antoinette Brinkman, Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Robert Levine grew up in Brooklyn New York. After graduating high school in 1963, he enrolled at UC Berkeley where he says he had the blind good luck to experience the sixties from hippy central. After Berkeley, he went on to get a master's degree in clinical psychology from Florida State University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in personality/social psychology from New York University in 1974. He's been a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fresno ever since, with stints as Chairperson of the Department and as Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Over the years he's also served as a Visiting Professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niteroi, Brazil, at Sapporo Medical University in Japan, and at Stockholm University in Sweden. He has won awards for both his teaching and research. He has published many articles in professional journals as well as articles in trade periodicals such as Discover, American Demographics, The New York Times, Utne Reader, and American Scientist. His book, A Geography of Time (Basic Books, 1997), was the subject of feature stories around the world, including Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, CNN, the BBC, ABC's Primetime, and NPR's All Things Considered and Marketplace. It has been translated into six languages. His book, The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold (John Wiley & Sons, 2003), has been translated into eight languages. An updated, paperback revision was published in 2006. He is outgoing President of the Western Psychological Association and a Fellow in the American Psychological Association.(Website: www.boblevine.net).

Customer Reviews

This book was great introduction to time and culture.
daniel c adkins
Knowing the way other people think and feel may help to understand other nations and foreigner cultures, but certainly is the best way to understand ourselves.
Walter Ponge-Ferreira
As a westerner living in a third world Asian country, this book is very easy to relate to.
natasha trickey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
"A Geography of Time" is an almost-excellent study of perception of time, and how this perception is affected by culture and location. A new vocabulary is introduced to the reader, along with a host of new ideas about time, including "event time," "natural time," and the familiar "clock time." The author's research is enlightening and challenging.
The concepts are easy to absorb, and the subject is well-researched and documented. I have no doubt that Levine's work is strong. Some of the work involves providing evidence for well-known concepts, such as bigger cities have a faster pace than smaller cities. Interesting correlations are drawn between the pace of a location and the accuracy of it's timepieces. I found the concept of being able to train oneself to elongate and condense time perception to be particularly interesting, such as in the case of a martial artist who moves fast by forcing an opponent to appear to move slow. Other interesting tidbits include the "contradiction of Japan," which shows that an ultra-fast paced life can be balanced out with cultural rules to prevent aggression, and how a slow-paced city is not necessarily kinder than a fast-paced city.
The reason why "A Geography of Time" is only almost-excellent is due to the author's skills as a writer. Ideas are not presented in a structured manner, information is redundantly repeated and personal opinions are freely mixed with research and evidence. Some difficult concepts, such as Einstein's time dilatation in Special Relativity are introduced as window dressing for what amounts to a sociological subject. A brief history of the introduction of clocks in America is included.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Perry on July 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've been aware of Levine's work on "time" for more than a decade from articles and such, and I was thrilled to see this book. It's the best of its ilk: good qualitative research, heavily based on personal experience, written anecdotally and fascinatingly. I see this as akin to Deborah Tannen's excellent work in "You Just Don't Understand." If only more people were aware of how relative our cultural assumptions are, it might prevent some hair-tearing as we travel and also prevent some frustration here at home when we come upon others (even our own spouses....) who have another way of thinking/feeling about time.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Levine exhibits the rare combination of knowing an interesting topic when he sees it and knowing how to write about it with style and grace. As a piece of pop sociology, it's great read. I'm not sure how valid the science is (I had some doubts while reading) but I certainly enjoyed it
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. I. Baruti KMT-Sisouvong on October 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
A Geography of Time, by Robert Levine, discusses time as few may have previously considered it in their daily pursuits. Through personal experience, via a sabbatical, Levine offers keen insights into the rhythms of life as experienced by peoples and places the world over. Offering "tempo" and what he calls "clock time" and "event time," as points of departure in an analysis of his and his colleagues observations, Levine successfully illustrates how not only "personality types" impact a region, but also how the region impacts the personality as well, thus revealing the symbiotic relationship between the person or persons and place or places respectively.

By traversing not only the globe, but the subject of time as well, Levine has allowed readers to come closer to understanding their world and those of others with whom they come in contact. Of his main points, Levine successfully argues that we are oriented to clock-time, event-time, or "multitemporality," i.e., psychological androgyny. [Of this in between time and state of mind, Levine shows that we are better served in such a space than that of being exclusively in one or the other of either clock or event time; especially as it relates to our social, physical and psychological well being.]

Two chapters considered interesting by this reviewer are chapters one and ten. Due to the foundation established in chapter one regarding "tempo," and the last wherein Levine offers practical solutions to balance our activities and potentially lead healthier and happier lives, A Geography of Time, is not only a delightful read, it is also enormously illuminating. By providing an approachable perspective for consideration, as it relates to human activity and interaction, i.e.
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60 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Nostalgianaut on August 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was enjoying this book right up until the author felt the need to make this nutty comparison to Brazilians always being late:

"There is a practice in many Arab cultures whereby a young woman who is caught being intimate with a man she is not married to is sometimes murdered by her brothers. To Westerners, this is uncivilized behavior. But the brother is committed to protecting the role of an important institution-the family-in the social pattern. The temporal behavior of important Brazilians must, similarly , be understood as part of a larger pattern."

Okay Mr. Levine. There are healthy doses of cultural relativism and and then there is, like, femicide.
I love it when academics make these kinds of statements, declaring, essentially, that their brainy assertions are more important than people's (and usually women's) lives.
I mean, he has to use the Arab males murdering female kin example because that really helps him make his point; lets him show how impartial he is.
But this reveals the flaw that runs through the entire book. Other than a brief chapter on how power is asserted through making others wait, Levine barely touches on the issue of power, and thus,he can conveniently ignore the female question in all of his observations of other cultures and use murdered women as a prop to support his anthropology-lite observations of tardy Brazilians.

Levine's assertions about Japan are so horrifically and stupidly misguided as to be completely irrelevant. It is obvious that he saw and understood little of the country from his descriptions of stays in nice hotels, visits to tea houses, hot springs, and nightly bottles of Sapporo. Having lived in Tokyo for 13 years I can say that his observations are utterly ridiculous and shallow.
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