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Book Review : How to be Idle

March 27, 2007


When I read the title, How to be Idle (Penguin, 2005), I thought the author, Tom Hodgkinson was joking. However I discovered that, despite some exaggerations, he was being quite serious. He has researched the history and evolution of organized work and found that prior to the Industrial Revolution people worked in a more haphazard fashion, on an ‘as need’ basis. The Industrial Revolution however, produced a much wider variety of consumer goods which in turn created a market for these goods, so people worked in order to buy commodities not just food. We went from the idea of working in order to eat; to the idea of eating in order to work. In the process we lost much ‘idle’ time.

Hodgkinson is not advocating idleness for its own sake. In his research the author found that many creative people were accused of indolence. It was often said a person was a genius in spite of their laziness whereas Hodgkinson feels they were a genius as a result of their apparent idleness because it gave them time to consider, reflect and contemplate.

Hodgkinson presents a thought provoking perspective on modern life, advocating shorter working hours, less pay, less consumerism and more leisure time.

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by Susan Barnes
6

Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith

6 thoughts on “Book Review : How to be Idle”

  1. Wendy

    Amen to that … I wish we could go back to those days of living off the land in a more direct way … they were harder days for people that’s for sure.

    We can find ways to be more idle if we seriously look for them though. There are many things we don’t need that we think we do.

    But here in Canada the cost of living just keeps rising … the latest report out was that we are working longer hours and have less to show for it. Tail spin world financially … not sure what’s going to come of it.

    It is so true that you need to be quiet and still to tap in to creativity. Sort of akin to the Creator and be still and know that I am God.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Wendy

    Amen to that … I wish we could go back to those days of living off the land in a more direct way … they were harder days for people that’s for sure.

    We can find ways to be more idle if we seriously look for them though. There are many things we don’t need that we think we do.

    But here in Canada the cost of living just keeps rising … the latest report out was that we are working longer hours and have less to show for it. Tail spin world financially … not sure what’s going to come of it.

    It is so true that you need to be quiet and still to tap in to creativity. Sort of akin to the Creator and be still and know that I am God.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thanks for dropping by Rose. I noticed on your blog profile you have read one of my favourite Mark Buchanan’s books, “Your God is too safe”. I’m going to be quoting from one of Buchanan’s other books in something I’ll be posting on Monday.

    Thanks also, Wendy, for your thoughts.

  4. Thanks for dropping by Rose. I noticed on your blog profile you have read one of my favourite Mark Buchanan’s books, “Your God is too safe”. I’m going to be quoting from one of Buchanan’s other books in something I’ll be posting on Monday.

    Thanks also, Wendy, for your thoughts.

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