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The Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, Work, and Waste Paperback – December 18, 2007
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Drawing from writings by such iconoclasts as William Godwin and Jack Kerouac, the author of How To Be Idle returns with sage advice for breaking with convention and living an unfettered life
In this delightfully irreverent follow-up to his acclaimed How to Be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson shares his musings on what it means to have true independence and what the common man needs to achieve happiness through freedom.
The Freedom Manifesto is an erudite, witty, and useful manual for anyone who wants to look after themselves and take responsibility for their own lives. Hodgkinson advises lowering personal standards, learning the guitar, cooperating with neighbors, throwing away credit cards, and embracing poverty. Peppered throughout are insights from such great minds as Rousseau, Ken Kesey, Nietzsche, and many others that reveal the secret happiness found in a free mind.
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From the Back Cover
The author of How to Be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson, now shares his delightfully irreverent musings on what true independence means and what it takes to be free. The Freedom Manifesto draws on French existentialists, British punks, beat poets, hippies and yippies, medieval thinkers, and anarchists to provide a new, simple, joyful blueprint for modern living. From growing your own vegetables to canceling your credit cards to reading Jean-Paul Sartre, here are excellent suggestions for nourishing mind, body, and spirit—witty, provocative, sometimes outrageous, yet eminently sage advice for breaking with convention and living an uncluttered, unfettered, and therefore happier, life.
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 18, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 340 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060823224
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060823221
- Item Weight : 11.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.16 x 5.26 x 1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Simply put, this book provides a perspective of life and work that is completely lacking on this side of the Pond. For me, it called into question the reasons why I have worked so hard, found great financial success, and still felt the clichéd question of "Is this all there is?" This is not a self-help book--far from it. Nor is it a diatribe about how you "should" be living your life, rather, it shines a light on the reasons why we now live our lives the way we do. Like Ferris, Mr. Hodgkinson offers some unique suggestions on how to break the completely arbitrary bonds that modern society places on the individual.
If you liked Tim Ferris' challenges to the status quo and Jim Collins' facts and depth, buy this book, you'll enjoy it.
Top reviews from other countries
"Governments do too much and they do most of it badly. Governments, for example, are supposed to defend us from attack. But they don't do it very well. In fact, they encourage other people to attack us by attacking them first...Governments appreciate terrorists, because they provide a good advertisement for the need for government, for its protection. They love wars, because they give government a reason for existing..." (p. 138)
"There is also something rotten at the heart of government - and that is the simple fact that to be in power is a career option...Politics is Fame Academy for the talentless, the X-Factor for boring men and women. Surely the fact that every politician is on a career treadmill and is constantly trying to earn more money and reach a higher position in the hierarchy is in itself enough evidence to damn the entire project?...This is not to say, for sure, that many politicians are not well intentioned, but the well-intentioned can do more harm than those who refrain from interfering." (p. 139)
Hodgkinson favours the ideas of Distributism, where each person has the means to secure their own livelihood. He also favours guilds, where the emphasis is on the quality of the product or service whilst simultaneously protecting the rights of the workers. This is a non-state form of socialism. Hodgkinson is not, however, interested in violent revolution, but in creating alternatives to the state in the here and now. His anarchism is eminently practical. And most of this volume deals with how we can free ourselves from the state, how so many of our manacles are 'mind-forg'd'. Not all of them, to be sure, but his point is that we are *more* free than we think we are.
Tom Hodgkinson is a spokesman for an older England, before the rise of the surveillance state, before Thatcher and Blair. These days, we are made to feel guilty if we are nostalgic, but Hodgkinson brilliantly attacks those who scoff at the past. The future is a con, a cheat, a snare. It is, he writes, 'a capitalist construct. The past teaches us that the future has let us down, and let us down many, many times...The "future", so called, is in fact part of the anti-life system: we are essentially kept quiet by means of the idea that, at some point in the "future", things are going to get better'. By contrast, 'the past is a great treasure store of good ideas for living, ideas that were actually applied and whose results we can see...So it is, in actual fact, less woolly minded to look to the past for inspiration than to look to the future.' (p. 191)
Hodgkinson's book is an intelligent, eloquent and above all a deeply *heartening* book that shows how it is possible, even if only partially, to be truly free, not in some distant utopia, but in the here and now. Highly recommended.