How to Be Idle

How to Be Idle

Book - 2005 | 1st U.S. ed.
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Yearning for a life of leisure? In 24 chapters representing each hour of a typical working day, this book will coax out the loafer in even the most diligent and schedule-obsessed worker.

From the founding editor of the celebrated magazine about the freedom and fine art of doing nothing, The Idler, comes not simply a book, but an antidote to our work-obsessed culture. In How to Be Idle, 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--bemoaning the cultural skepticism of idleness while reflecting on the writing of such famous apologists for it as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Johnson, and Nietzsche--all of whom have admitted to doing their very best work in bed.

It's a well-known fact that Europeans spend fewer hours at work a week than Americans. So it's only befitting that one of them--the very clever, extremely engaging, and quite hilarious Tom Hodgkinson--should have the wittiest and most useful insights into the fun and nature of being idle. Following on the quirky, call-to-arms heels of the bestselling Eat, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss, How to Be Idle rallies us to an equally just and no less worthy cause: reclaiming our right to be idle.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c2005.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780060779689
Branch Call Number: 158 HODGKINSON
Characteristics: 286 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.


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Jul 27, 2014

Great book - fun and more practical than you think.

Also recommended -International Institute of Not Doing Much at

Jul 11, 2013

Ahhhh....My husband must have wondered why I was reading this book - he probably thinks I wrote it. I wish I had! But I certainly agree with much of what Hodgkinson says. If only the whole world would read this book - and then take it to heart - and sloooow down, relax, take it easy, chill. Enjoy the moments, have a nice drink, eat some good slow food, go for a ramble, hang at the pub with friends, have a really good conversation, have a nap or a good lie-in in the morning: people who never do these things have forgotten how to live. I'm beginning to agree with Hodgkinson: the 18th century really does seem to have been the most enlightened one. Found this book a little slow in places, but I idled my way through those and just thoroughly enjoyed the rest. Pass the Cinzano - on the rocks with a twist, please - I'm settling in with the next good read. Housework? What's that? Nothing urgent, I'm sure....

Apr 01, 2010

I read this a few years back and loved it. Lots of fun.

Sep 23, 2009

This is a great read--both fun and serious. But the author assumes a male readership, which I found off-putting and frustrating at times, since plenty of women are more than interested in idling ...


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