Customer Review

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars interesting, but not of much practical value for most readers, November 1, 2009
This review is from: The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century Edition (Paperback)
This is an imaginative book that is full of good thoughts about how to build a life around something other than a full-time job. The author is to be commended for his "out-of-the-box" thinking about the subject, and his generally upbeat and encouraging tone.

However, a major caveat is that the above mainly applies to elderly retirees (especially those well-off and covered by Medicare) and those who are independently wealthy. For the rest of the readership, unfortunately, there is just not that much here of practical value, for one simple reason: there is no easy way to pay for the lifestyle the author advocates, and he is of little help in providing such a path. I have to concur with other reviewers that a life on $6000 a year is just not possible for most people, even if we adjust this figure for inflation (the book is several years old, I think). Health care is the single biggest factor, especially in the U.S. which unlike the author's home country, does not have universal health care. A single major illness or other adversity can easily wipe out decades of life savings (sometimes even despite insurance help!), leaving the author's exhortations to quit one's job ringing hollow if such a scenario were to unfold - imagine the combined effects of financial distress following soon after a premature departure from the workplace and the concomitant loss of one's earning power. I don't think there would be much joy in a situation like this. What if one has children who depend on you? - that would make it even worse.

Another factor to consider is the reality that in many professions, it is hard to get back onto the career path if one leaves it - the old adage about off-ramps being a lot easier to take than on-ramps. If one reads this book and then departs the workplace at too young an age, and then changes their mind later and wants back in, they may find that process arduously hard, or impossible.

Despite all this, I think the book still holds some value, particularly for those who really do have the financial cushion to retire or who because of age are facing that path anyway. For those folks, this book can provide encouragement and a refreshing point of view. For others, particularly those of lesser financial means or at an earlier stage in life, the book seems impractical.
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Location: St. Louis, MO

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