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How to Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto [Format Kindle]

Tom Hodgkinson

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“In these stress-filled times . . . we should all give ourselves the gift of reading this debut.” (Library Journal)

“A true literary gem... irresistable” (USA Today)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 709 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 306 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0060779691
  • Editeur : Harper Perennial; Édition : Reprint (30 juillet 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00DB3FUS0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°178.196 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  42 commentaires
41 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Idle bliss 7 juillet 2005
Par Roman Tsivkin - Publié sur
Okay, so this is a book that you just have to read while at work, since spending your idle time reading it would do it injustice. Celebrating the human spirit and life in general, this book will delight and inspire many a sick-day or an impromtu midday walk in the park. After reading the chapter on naps, I closed my office door, turned off the light, sprawled across two chairs, and promptly fell into a pleasant doze. The book is a wonderful compendium of quotes and craftily funny arguments to slow down, slack off, chill out, and stop taking everything--especially work--so seriously. I'm glad the author mentions one of my heros, the almost forgotten Lin Yutang, who wrote the Ur-Idleness book "The Importance of Living" way back in the 1930s. "How to be Idle" has delightfully short chapters, with whimsical themes and an attitude that is diametrically opposed to the crazy work-ethic and health-disease (the condition of being obsessed with health) on both sides of the pond.

I wish there were more books like this.
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Book I'll Refer To Often 31 juillet 2005
Par FLbeachbum - Publié sur
A little gem of a book, "How To Be Idle" is full of wit and wisdom from the other side of the work-obsessed fence/culture (as well as "pond"). And I don't mean cute but useless platitudes, either. Despite being an idler himself, author Tom Hodgkinson really did his homework on this one. Included are chapters on sleep, the workplace, holidays, etc. including the evolution of our present-day work habits, and how much of our current misery came about as a result of the Industrial Revolution, as well as Thomas Edison's inventions. I was truly surprised to discover Mr. Hodgkinson's relatively young age (b. 1968), as his knowledge and intelligence are extensive. The "Party Time" chapter betrays him, however; methinks I'll skip the rave parties, thanks much. Also, especially in the chapter on "Sex and Idleness", Mr. Hodgkinson seems to forget that half the population of the planet and hence potentially half his readership, is female. HEADS UP, Tom; be mindful of this and you may sell more books. I thought about severely chastising him for these faux pas, but the rest of the book is so delightful (well, there are typos; just a few), that as a true idler I will let it go. Besides, the real icing on the cake is that Mr. Hodgkinson includes an EXCELLENT section "For Further Reading" of books, periodicals, and websites. Many of the materials mentioned are by some of the great sages of history - Dr. Samuel Johnson, Oscar Wilde, Coleridge, LOTS more.

So "How To Be Idle" offers a vast store of information, and handily merits a 5-star rating. Normally I'm content to just borrow a book from the library and return it, but this one I gladly purchased. I recommend it as a keeper to anyone wishing to enlighten themselves and/or shed the guilt sometimes associated with idleness.
22 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Freedom from the chains of busyness 7 février 2006
Par Lleu Christopher - Publié sur
This is a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening book that advocates dropping out of the modern rat race. Tom Hodgkinson, publisher of a magazine called the Idler (which I haven't seen but am going to look for) has a deceptively light and humorous tone which masks a more serious agenda. At first, I thought that this book was simply going for laughs, but as I read on I realized that Hodgkinson is very serious about his doctrine of doing less. He quotes liberally from one of my favorite authors, Lin Yutang, a Chinese-American who, even fifty or so years ago, was lamenting the hurried pace of modern life. Like Yutang before him, Hodgkinson admires the "do nothing" approach of the Taoists. How To Be Idle is divided into 24 chapters, for each hour of the day. Each hour illustrates another way to relax and decline to participate in the mostly useless and banal hustle and bustle of the workaday world. We should, for example, get up late, lie in bed for a while, have tea in the afternoon, cocktails at six, and so forth. Hodgkinson is a true contrarian; in addition to being anti-work, he champions the politically incorrect habits of smoking and drinking. He connects the pub with radical political movements and points out how the authorities instinctively distrust idlers, seeing them (probably rightly) as basic foes of the political/industrial machine.

You could criticize How To Be Idle as impractical and for not really providing a means to drop out. Hodgkinson, for example, breezily talks about staying home from work, even quitting your job, but how many people can really do this? Yet a book like this helps us to take the first step, which is asking some basic questions about our supposedly free and prosperous society. Most people today are on a never-ending treadmill, in which the bulk of their time is spent sustaining a life that is controlled by others.

I enjoyed the whole book, but I especially appreciated the last few chapters. Hodgkinson reveals his truly radical vision when he discusses holidays, and how the whole concept is really part of the wage-slave mentality. First of all, people are encouraged to be constantly busy on holiday, which, he points out, defeats the whole purpose. More fundamentally, we have become conditioned to having our freedom doled out to us by leaders, whether of state or corporation. So we are allowed a holiday now and then in order to make us more amenable to our captivity the rest of the time. What this book is really saying is that it is up to us to take back our time and freedom. I am in accord with Hodgkinson's desire to free us from these chains.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It's OK to read this book -- just do it in bed. 26 septembre 2005
Par Meryl K. Evans - Publié sur
After reading this book, I have decided to skip the review to enjoy the extra time. Oh? I have to write it? That's "wage slavery!" according to author Tom Hodgkinson who uses that term for "jobs." He reveals his life changed for the better once he trashed his alarm clock. By the way, I'm not really a "wage slave," as I don't get paid for these reviews -- just plain "slave."

The book covers a 24-hour period with each hour represented in an essay that starts with a quote and a sketch depicting the chapter's topic. The author opens with "Waking up Is Hard to Do" at 8 a.m. and immediately attacks the quote many of us relate to when it comes to waking up — Benjamin Franklin's "Early to bed..." philosophy. Hodgkinson recalls his mother screaming at him to wake up and now he starts his mornings as an idler by "sleeping in for a few more minutes."

In the first hour, he attacks Mr. Kellogg of Corn Flakes fame with humor, and explains that the assault against oversleeping started as far back as biblical times with a quote from Proverbs chapter six. Then Hodgkinson presents proponents of sloth like G.K. Chesterston who writes in his essay _On Lying in Bed_, "The tone now commonly taken towards the practice of lying in bed is hypocritical and unhealthy; instead of being regarded as it ought to be, as a matter of personal."

The hours that follow continue with the same approach while addressing different themes from 'sleeping in' to the hangover, to the art of the conversation and holidays. Every essay includes quotes and resources from the likes of Jerome K. Jerome, Winston Churchill, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and more to rally support for the idle life. Each hour stands on its own feet, so you can take your time and read them whenever.

This author doesn't give advice on organizing your time so you can relax and take pleasure in life. Rather, think of it as the side of a debate that urges we sleep in, take naps, make time for tea, hang out at the pub, and live in our dream world. The author addresses the issues that affect the idler's life and tells the reader how to continue the merry idle way in spite of these barriers. Even some of the smartest minds in history did their best work in bed.

Stories about inventor Thomas Edison, the enemy of idleness, say he slept only three or four hours a night because he liked to work at night and do his experiments during the day. It turns out, based on several witnesses; the inventor took naps in his lab.

The book needs an index, but perhaps the author convinced his editors to take it easy, so they skipped it. With the many references to people and quotes, it would be nice to find something I read without working that hard to scan the pages.

The book is a mixture of literary criticism, tongue-in-cheek wit, and insight into our society's neglect of the idle life. Readers desiring to become more familiar with the literary authors and other sages get a touch of these folks through their writings, comments, and actions on work and laziness. Hodgkinson writes a convincing manifesto for living easy and embellishes it with a diversity of classic resources.

Take a moment to relish your life; work can wait.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Witty, well-written, wise in parts, way-out in others 4 mai 2013
Par Ralph Blumenau - Publié sur
Tom Hodgkinson is in the company of many thinkers who deplore the way our life since the Industrial Revolution has become a clock-dictated rat-race; the Puritan work ethic; the inculcation of guilt for taking life easy, taking time off to meditate or to do "nothing", which in fact is often creative time; the importance attached to having a job, which is often selling your time for unfulfilling or even stultifying activity. Many people work only because they want the money to spend on goods they don't really need. Typical of the cavalier advice which Hodgkinson scatters throughout the book is this: "Be fearless, quit your job! You have nothing to lose but your anxieties, debts and misery!" Or take a part-time job: "There is certainly a financial knock, but most find that the loss of income is easily compensated for by the extra time." Tell that to the millions of people who have to work full time to feed their families and who cannot be masters of their own time!

Indulging in Romantic visions of the past, Hodgkinson says that the poor were happier in the pre-industrial age, when work was not dictated by the clock, when people could multi-task and, if they wanted to, take time off to be idle. Holidays would appear to be good for idling, and Hodgkinson has an interesting chapter on their history. There are holidays of which he approves and holidays (especially organized ones) of which he disapproves. Best of all, of course, would be a life which allows so much opportunity for idling that there is really no desire for holidays at all. For those who are tied to the daily grind he has a chapter extolling skiving off work: the skiver is simply "stealing back time that has been stolen from him." "A four-hour [working] day is an eminently sensible way of operating our lives". He approves of long lie-ins, of napping, above all of long siestas. You should never stint yourself of sleep; and in dozing and in dreams some people have their most creative ideas. He advocates drinking (and don't worry too much about hangovers the next day - the best treatment for them is to go to bed), smoking and the taking of drugs like Ecstasy.

For Hodgkinson, idling is not only good in itself, but is also implicitly a rebellion against a society that demands unrelenting, soulless and exploited work from us. When the rebellion becomes explicit, as it does in strikes (the idea of using a refusal to work as a weapon was surely invented by "an idler of genius") or even in riots, he is sympathetic to such protests. But he is not a socialist: socialists interfere too much in the lives of individuals. "The answer, perhaps, is in anarchism."

What would be the ideal idler's sex-life? "Sex for idlers should be messy, drunken, bawdy, lazy. It should be wicked, wanton and lewd, dirty to the point where it is embarrassing to look at one another in the morning." "But, as one of the great idle pleasures, sex appears to be surrounded by an awful lot of problems and anxieties". So there is something to be said for pornography: "endless fantasy and no one to please except yourself."

Hodgkinson has read widely and has been far from idle in finding quotations from a host of writers from many countries and many periods, in prose and in poetry, who share his opinions: his bibliography runs to eight pages. In addition to references in the main text, there are 37 pages in which he gives us eight longer extracts from his reading. His own book is very well written and eloquent.

His analysis of the ills of our unhealthy rat-race society is astute. Some of his prescriptions about how to live in it are quite workable; but others are wholly unrealistic for people less fortunately placed than he is, even if these agreed with his analysis and would like to rebel in the ways he advocates.

There are many flashes of wisdom in the book, but he also includes in his defence of idleness some aspects and attitudes which did not appeal to me at all.
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