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Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race Hardcover – May 5, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taking a vacation won't make you happy. Neither will attending a yoga retreat, argues Bucholz, a Harvard economics professor and former White House economic adviser. The quest for happiness has launched a huge industry touting the benefits of a return to a mythical, more relaxing "simpler" time. Bucholz calls its proponents "Edenists," and his book is a sharp rebuke to their message and popularity. Happiness is about activity, he says; stress drives us to perform our best, and competition is endemic to human nature. It leads to innovation and keeps us active, useful, and neurologically fit—he cites studies showing that people frequently show a drop in cognitive abilities after retirement. Though his high-spirited writing sometimes forgoes accuracy for hyperbole, he justifies his contempt for the "happiness industry," and advances his argument for setting ambitious goals for ourselves instead of lapsing into complacency or a "Zen-like sense of calm" with humor and conviction. (May)
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Review

“Wicked smart.” — Neil Cavuto, host of FOX's Your World


“Surprising, intelligent, and entertaining.” — Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Grand Design


“I found myself nodding so hard... that I almost cricked my neck.” — Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press (May 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630774
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,260,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The case presented in this book harps over and over again on the very basic, obvious observation that structure, responsibility, accountability and the process of working toward goals are conducive to psychological and even physical health - and the corresponding fact that most people are not happiest with unlimited amounts of leisure time. Duh.

My question for Mr. Buchholz is: Who does he think he's arguing against in making that point?

Yoga instructors? Shrinks? Meditation practitioners? People who preach the virtues of getting 8 hours of sleep per night? None of those professions or philosophies is characterized by advocacy for a life of sloth. Implicit in any such advocacy for things like yoga, power naps, meditation, taking lunch breaks away from your desk, etc is the assumption that for their target audience, the time spent disconnected from the "rat race" will be the exception that proves the rule in terms of how waking time is spent. The target audience for the messages of the "anti-stress industry" is just the type of busy, overcommitted, ambitious person the author should admire. So it's a bit bizarre that he chooses to criticize these industries, whose mission is just to bring a little balance to peoples' lives and/or to reduce DIStress (the kind or arousal that's both physically unhealthy over time and un-conducive to peak performance) - not to eliminate EUstress (the good, motivated kind).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i was sorely disappointed by "rush" -- an interesting premise ruined by a presumptuous and lazy author. first, the content is pure fluff -- a ton of basic anecdotes without any serious supporting data. second, the writing style is terrible. it reads like a poorly written email. actually, it feels like the author sat down in a single sitting and wrote everything in a pure stream-of-consciousness format. third, the book is mind-numbingly repetitive. the entire thing can be summed up as: "stress and competition can be good for you." but the author goes around in circles saying this over and over again for 240 pages (again, with no real evidence -- and i want to believe the premise!). fourth, the book suffers from a massive number of over-generalizations -- some that can be racially, politically, and culturally insensitive and offensive.

finally, i suggest that potential buyers be careful here in reading some of the other posted reviews. for example, the most "helpful" review was by a reviewer who has only reviewed two books -- both by this author! surprise surprise. half of the five-star reviews sound like the author's friends doing him a favor. i've ordered nearly 100 books on amazon, but have never bothered to post a review. i felt compelled to do so in this case because this "book" was so bad relative to it's strong base of reviews. serious readers beware!
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By Siwash on September 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bubblegum for the brain. This is lightweight stuff, written in stacatto bursts of uptempo fluff.

This sounds unduly negative, but it is not. The author writes badly, with little sustained thought or argumentation. This is an excellent style for lightweight USA Today pieces, but doesn't cut the muster with serious and concerned readers.
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Format: Hardcover
Buchholz jumps from tangent to tangent with no real point and it feels like half the book is filler or a bad blog post. When you're quoting from Men's Health magazine and the movie "I Love You Man" as sources to prove your points, it's hard to take you seriously. Other great sources: the Planet of the Apes, I Love Lucy, the guy on YouTube who said "Don't Tase Me Bro", etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few may know more about investing, economics, psychology, law, or writing than Todd does, but I bet none know more about all five. In that sense, he's the only person who could have written this book. His humorous and conversational tone help convey the fruits of vast reading and research. His critics mention repetition, which exists, but that is common in what Montaigne called the "oral" style. None of his detractors could have authored this book, though.

His central claim runs counter to a pervasive notion, expressed well by one of my former professors during class, "If I were rich, I would not be teaching you. I'd be sipping Mai Tais on a beach in Hawaii now." Todd writes,

"We think we hate work, but we are wrong. Work extends life; it even makes us happy. Lazy societies die off, and lazy people die off sooner. Competition drives us to improve our lives, which gives us a better chance of achieving good cheer... When you allow yourself to feel ambition, it is like sipping from the fountain of youth... The act of work is like a form of applause, a validation that you are spending your time well. The paycheck comes later. It is like the glow of an encore." (pp. 114-5.)

Even my former professor charged ahead since then, recently co-authoring the legal casebook "Business Planning" for LexisNexis -- with no Mai Tai in hand.

In a sense, Todd's book makes a self-proving claim. The hard work of its own construction seems worth it, resulting in a book that both informs others and is something to be proud of. That proves his claim on a primary level too.
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