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Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576752453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576752456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Touted as the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day (a national event to be held on October 24, 2003), this compilation of expert views on America's battles against "time poverty" pulls out all the stops with its 30 powerful essays. De Graaf, author of Affluenza and TBYT Day's national coordinator, introduces each piece with background on its author and anecdotes drawn from his career as a teacher, documentary television producer and leader in public policy groups. The contributors, who range from economists and policymakers to activists and clergy, describe the problems of the 24/7 lifestyle: rising health care costs, diminishing family time, etc. In "The Simple Solution," Cecile Andrews admonishes readers to give up "obsessive multitasking." ("Think of the things you've seen people do while they're driving-putting on makeup, changing clothes, eating cereal, nursing a baby, reading the newspaper, and of course, jabbering on cell phones.") In "Can America Learn from Shabbat?", Rabbi Arthur Waskow argues that "there are deep human needs for rest and reflection, for family time and community time" and laments that "economic and cultural pressures are grinding those deep human needs under foot." Other authors suggest that the lethal consequences of overwork result in road rage, repetitive stress injuries, health problems, fast food mania, an increase in the working retired, inadequate child supervision, and even a proliferation of dog-walkers. De Graf also includes essays that help readers find ways to take time to be a citizen, retrieve shrinking vacation periods, cease the time-consuming pursuit of "stuff" and engage in job sharing, sabbaticals and other strategies. Illuminating and even surprising (e.g., the average American labors 350 more hours per year than his western European counterpart), this book should sell particularly well in areas were the "simplicity" movement is popular.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

John de Graaf has been a documentary television produces for the past 25 years.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Get a copy for everyone workaholic you know!
Sweethome
I was pleased to find that it's a very readable, thought-provoking book - a variety of short essays by knowledgeable people about important ideas.
Janet Allen
One of my favorite quotes from this book, is "Time is a family value."
Defender

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Paul on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
For years I've thought of Europe as like the grandfather... sitting on the porch, watching America in action. He sits there, somewhat envious, reminiscing about the days when he used to be the top dog himself. But the envy is shortlived; in truth, he would never trade places with us, for he knows that the true cost of being able to call yourself #1 is far too high.

Money and power, after all, aren't everything.

In Take Back Your Time, de Graaf looks at a culture that is all about the material short term and cannot see beyond. It's a book that reminds us that it's OUR time, that this is a commodity that we CHOOSE to trade for things like money, status and comfort. I use the word 'remind' loosely--in truth, it's almost a new concept, for many. We hear stories of millionaires on their deathbed who would give everything to have one more year, yet other millionaires will do 15 hours tomorrow rather than think about it. Our culture is basically designed to HAVE TO work like this: the economy would go bust if we put anything before money. You could argue it's always been that way, but not to this extreme: every year we trade more hours so as to buy bigger houses, better cars, more gadgets, etc. This is a book that all of America needs to read. If only we had the time.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Wow! I am going to send a copy of this book to my team leader, as she hasn't figured out why she is always angry. It's because she is here until 9 every night, goes home to see her kids for about five minutes (who have "acted out" while she's been at work) and has to spend what little free time she has taking them to family therapists - who tell her she needs to achieve work/life balance, or, as she says, "whatever THAT is".
I would also like to give this to the productivity experts who say companies can do more with less. I'm sick of doing more with less and I am going to use this book as an inspiration to rebel. "No more 12 hour days" has become my mantra. Woe to those who try to test me on this!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles B. Ahern on November 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Unlike many books of social criticism, this book describes how we can change our own lives and families, as we change our communities and country. The thirty essays cover a range of topics around the issue of 'time poverty.'
Particularly interesting to me were the essays on voluntary simplicity by Vicki Robin and Cecile Andrew. A common theme of several essays is how our role as consumers steals time that we could spend to enrich our lives, families, and communities. Too many of us commute to work to earn the money that we spend while shopping for things that then clutter our homes.
Federal legislation mandating minimum vacations and a shorter work week is unlikely (in the near term), but we can be more mindful of how our behavior as consumers sacrifices our time.

I'm looking forward to October 24, 2004 to celebrate the next Take Back Your Time Day.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Grilch on November 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's the 900 pound gorilla in America that everyone should be talking about: time poverty. Most folks accept it as unavoidable; that's just the way life is. Work, work, work. Busy, busy, busy. Bulloney, says this book. I'm not doing too bad but I see the trappings of modern existence creeping into my life and I'm inspired to keep them in check. This book is particularly strong because it draws on the opinions of many progressive thinkers, rather that just one lone voice in the wilderness. Stop buying stuff, invest time in your family and community and civic society. Live deeper. I'm working on it. Are you?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Take Back Your Time is exceptionally clear in laying out the many ways in which we Americans suffer from not having enough time. Our lack of time to spend time with loved ones and friends, to help others, to be informed enough to vote, etc, is a direct result of choosing a way of life that emphasizes money and stuff over TIME. The book is a great read with numerous authors speaking to their particular knowledge on the subject of time poverty. I especially liked chapter 25 (It would be especially good for business too), which makes a compelling case that less time at work does not mean lower productivity.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. Gompf on October 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't have to read this book to be sold on the concept. I bought it so that I could have more facts when people asked me questions. What I gained from reading these many essays is more than simple facts. I gained a deeper understanding of how pervasive both the causes and effects are of time poverty in America. I have had no choice but to look at my own life to see what I can do differently. And I am even more certain that what the Take Back Your Time Day organizers have been doing is of immediate and necessary importance.
Why should you read this book? Because no matter how much you think you know about overwork and time poverty in America, you will almost certainly discover something new.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Janet Allen on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having been interested in these issues for a few years, I participated in the official Take Back Your Time Day on Oct. 24. I hadn't bought the book before the event since I thought I already knew enough about the issues, but with the enthusiasm generated from the event, I purchased a copy. I was pleased to find that it's a very readable, thought-provoking book - a variety of short essays by knowledgeable people about important ideas. It offers many ideas I hadn't thought about before. Well worth the cost - both in money and in the time spent reading it!
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