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Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time Library Binding – April 29, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

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Based on "time diaries" kept by a cross section of Americans, this report of how we spend our time concludes that we define ourselves primarily by our work. We are a "rushed" people who believe that "to do nothing is to be nothing"; the distinction between free time (which is increasing) and work time thus becomes blurred, and Americans more and more see their leisure time in the context of their work milieu. Robinson (director of the Americans' Use of Time Project at the University of Maryland) and Godbey (leisure studies, Pennsylvania State Univ.) focus on how Americans spend this "free-time," analyzing what variables?age, gender, race, education, role (parent, marital status, living alone), biology?are most dominant in determining this. Surprisingly, they find that gender and race are less important than role factors. Graphs and charts help readers make sense of a large amount of data, but the text is a mixed bag?a combination of definitive conclusions, pop sociology generalizations, and loaded sociological jargon. Still, it contains a solid base of sociological data, making it useful for larger collections.?Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Time for Life, an outstanding work of scholarship that manages to be highly readable, demands the attention of everyone interested in what's happening in today's society. --Edward Cornish, The Futurist

Time for Life . . . is excellent fodder for lively classroom discussions, not only about family time use, but about the ontological and epistemological assumptions in the prevailing post-positivist paradigm of family science. --Alan J. Hawkins and Jeffrey Hill, Journal of Marriage and the Family

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, Robinson and Godbey's arguments and data make for very interesting reading and open a cultural window on American society. . . . This is a piece of scholarship that should be read and its conclusions contemplated by people well outside the readership of this journal. . . . Time for Life is good social science research that should appeal to a broad audience. --Journal of Communication

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press; 1St Edition edition (April 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271016523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271016528
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,214,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By on March 28, 1999
Format: Library Binding
I have been preparing lectures on stress management and came upon the work of the authors' Use of Time Project which has tracked Americans expenditures of time over decades. This book has caused me to re-think all of my assumptions, and fits in beautifully with some of the brand new books coming out in the wellness field, including Dean Ornish's Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy and Paul Pearsall's The Pleasure Prescription: To Love, To Work and To Play. Time for Life shows, in methodical yet eloquent thoroughness, that the sense of hurry sickness and time famine is illusory and unnecessary: we in fact have ENOUGH time and money to be happy, yet we think we do not. The final chapter is worth the price of the book: called Brother, can you spare some time? it points out that the pace of life is a political issue, and that the commercialization of leisure can be critiqued and questioned, that while most of us lead lives of unbelievable privilege, happiness eludes us. This does not have to be the case. This is a scholarly book, yet accessible to the lay reader, particularly if you skip around some. The cross cultural stuff is fascinating (eg., Japanese people work longer hours yet don't feel the time famine like Americans do.) It is well worth the careful reading this important topic warrants. I am indebted to Mr. Robinson and Godbey for this expression of their life's work. I am deeply grateful, in fact.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Duvernois VINE VOICE on November 13, 2008
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
And it's not a pretty picture overall, but we didn't expect it to be, did we? We all seem to feel the pressures of not enough time, of "to-do" lists that never shrink, and of work-time creeping into our personal-time.

The book is best when laying out the data and the results of the time-diary studies measuring what folks really do spend their time on, as they spend it, rather than in retrospect. Some of the conclusions are not obvious, and are that much more interesting for it.

The solutions presented though are simplistic and often slip into pop psychology babble, in my opinion. But that isn't the point of the book, the "how we spend time" is. Moving on from there is for each of us individually and (probably) some other book.

Oh yeah, and remove the TV from your house. You don't need it. And you won't miss it as much as you think.
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