- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 24, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060779691
- ISBN-13: 978-0060779696
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto Paperback – April 24, 2007
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“There is, as usual, some effort involved in holding up the book and turning the pages. This time, hurrah -- it’s worth it!” (Giles Foden, author of Ladysmith and The Last King of Scotland)
“Truly inspired.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“Hodgkinson glories in reminding us that idleness has a long tradition. Indeed, I was so impressed by his chapter on the virtues of the nap, that one sunny lunchtime I headed for the park to fall asleep in the sun - which I did, feeling gloriously guiltless and assertive about it.” (The Guardian)
” In this beguiling book, [Hodgkinson] persuasively advocates idleness as the way to gain access to the creativity of the subconscious mind, or at least to enjoy a few beers.” (The Spectator)
“The beauty of How to Be Idle is that while Hodgkinson is perfectly serious about the benefits of loafing, he sets out his stall with a light touch. He wants us to live slow and die old, but to do it with elegance.” (Scotland on Sunday)
“Charming, as all idlers should be.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In these stress-filled times of dashing from one meeting to another and often running behind, we should all give ourselves the gift of reading this debut by the founding editor of Idler magazine.” (Library Journal)
“Hodgkinson, a partisan in ‘the millennia-long battle between the materialists and the mystics,’ ...cares deeply enough for his subject to transcend its built-in cheekiness....In a rightly breezy style, Hodgkinson recommends stargazing, smoking, loafing in pubs, lying bed.” (East Bay Express)
“You know you have uncovered a true literary gem when you annoy your family with an unceasing, unwanted, and uncontrollable laugh track while reading. In fact, the only thing I lamented about Tom Hodgkinson’s irresistable How to Be Idle is that the author waited so long to publish this (USA Today)
From the Back Cover
From the founding editor of The Idler, the celebrated magazine about the freedom and fine art of doing nothing, comes not simply a book, but an antidote to our work-obsessed culture. In How to Be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson presents his learned yet whimsical argument for a new universal standard of living: being happy doing nothing. He covers a whole spectrum of issues affecting the modern idler—sleep, work, pleasure, relationships—while reflecting on the writing of such famous apologists for it as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Nietzsche—all of whom have admitted to doing their very best work in bed.
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When exactly did we switch to our modern, hectic lifestyle? Sociologists differ, but most agree on industrialisation being the main culprit. When machines arrived and mass production started in 17th century, the world took a turn and with it just about everything changed. In one sense, it was a blessing. People were now guaranteed a steady income at the end of the month; products became more available and amenities more affordable and enjoyable. At the beginning there was excitement and all looked well. But with time, life was becoming more stressful and tedious, and anxiety levels shot up. Working 10-12 hours a day at a factory 6-7 days a week was strenuous, if not exhausting. People's leisure time disappeared and fatigue set in. Employer's pressure to produce more was relentless. In fact workers started to realise that, sadly, they were being owned and enslaved by their companies. Employers started a psychological campaign to uplift morals using expressions like; Work is heathy, idleness is for the lazy; hard work brings health, wealth and wisdom, and so on. But the few intellectuals. who refused to be enslaved, realised what was going on: it was all a selfish effort to increase the wealth of the few, rich owners.
So, how does the author suggest we get over this ingrained philosophy of hard work intended only to enrich the capitalists in our society? "It's time to say No to jobs and Yes to fun, freedom and pleasure. It's time to be idle " says the author. Taking all this seriously, he established the Idler Magazine to help people start their idle life. He launched a comprehensive effort to romanticise the good old days before industrialisation. Why be a slave to a schedule we did not choose? Why rush in the morning? Rising early is unnatural. "No! early risers are not healthy, wealthy and wise - they are often sickly, poor and stupid" . The best ideas have come from idle people and not from those hampered by excessive routines. And, look at our eating habits: long gone is the leisurely lunch with wine and good friends; see now how it has been reduced to a dry sandwich eaten alone, in order to rush back to work.. What about our afternoon nap - our "inalienable right" which has been taken from us by the agents of industry. Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison, to mention only two great men, took a nap every day! The author bemoans too, the death of the afternoon tea, a calming ritual which to many was absolutely sacrosanct. After all it was the drink of poets and philosophers. It was mostly abandoned - it retarded production.
What are we to make of all this? Should we go ahead and join the Idlers? Or, is our modern life, hectic as it is, more beneficial and, at least, ensures our financial security? We obviously need a compromise, one that will ensure our security as well as provide us with the peace of mind and the will to bring back the fun and joy of the old idle days.
Fuad R Qubein
Sane is the way one would like to keep one's mind. Hodgkinson's delving into the human rationality of existence, hopefully, will lead the reader to a sounder and balanced life.
How we live, sleep, work, and go about the daily chore of surviving on planet earth can be controlled, according to his art of idling. Many of the famous people who helped make this world a happier place to live are idlers.
Mr. Hodgkinson's (Idlers) philosophy goes against the businesses' models that developed after the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the lightbulb. He gives the reader the pros and cons of idling. His view: The advantages out weight the negative.
Tom's writing is insightful, funny, and convincing. I got an education and found out I am somewhat an idler.
I read this book twice and recommend it highly. I assure you, the reader, will be impressed with the premise and may become and an IDLER, as I will be for the rest of my life.
I am 71 years old as of this review, and idled in New Orleans for four full days – loved it.
Top international reviews
its natural to be lazy- embrace it! - is the message
love this book
More people like this are needed.
Ovviamente a livello di valutazione e di contenuti nulla cambia. L'avevo trovato un libro originale, divertente, a tratti spassoso, che fornisce un punto di vista alternativo, peraltro solidamente documentato, e controcorrente rispetto alla prassi comune che ci vorrebbe sempre attivi, produttivi ed impegnati a far qualcosa.
Mi ha regalato ore piacevoli ed istruttive di ozio creativo e mi ha aiutato a sentirmi meno in colpa.
Übrigens reicht aufgrund der Überschneidungen eines der beiden Hodgkinson Bücher: Entweder How to be idle oder How to be free - wobei ich dem idle den Vorzug geben würde.
This is so applicable to business, and to life in general.
Read it, live it.