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Rush: Why We Thrive in the Rat Race Paperback – July 31, 2012
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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)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“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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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.
I like books that are counter-intuitive and challenge received wisdom, and this is one of them. Most of us will find ourselves agreeing with this book. I hope that author makes money off it, so he can live in a villa and not be like these self-help gurus who espouse harmony and says greed is bad, but lives in a mansion in Hawaii.
The only thing was that there are some really minor - what I call errors - like the story that involves "mountains in northeast Texas". I live in Texas, and I have yet to see mountains in the NE of the state.
The concept is brief and can be explained in about 1-2 paragraphs yet we are given example after example after example to prove the point. It really gets a bit tedious. It is wonderful that Todd is so brilliant and can tie together ideas and concepts from so many sources but it all just devolved into a pedantic lesson. All the hundreds of examples do not change the fact that the concept is worthy of a magazine article rather than a book...
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!
Most recent customer reviews
This sounds unduly negative, but it is not.Read more