In Praise of Idleness – Bertrand Russell

In Praise of Idleness is an excellent and compelling short essay. Russell succinctly sets out the case for working 4 hours a day.

Ultimately through the reallocation of resources to avoid overwork for some and starvation for others.

“Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism.”

It feels like this is a lofty goal in our current society. But should it be?

At the very least we can take away from this essay the importance of leisure time for everyone. How we can add more meaning to our lives by making time to think and create.

Click here for the essay pdf

SYNOPSIS

Noted mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell tried to apply the clarity he admired in mathematical reasoning to the solution of problems in other fields, in particular ethics and politics. In this essay, first published in 1932, Russell argues in favour of a four-hour working day. Consider whether his “arguments for laziness” deserve serious consideration today.

“The individual in our society works for profit; but the social purpose of his work lies in the consumption of what he produces. … We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer.”

Book #2 in 2019

In Praise of Idleness: The Classic Essay with a New Introduction by Bradley Trevor Greive

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

PUBLISHED: 1932

RECOGNITION: Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950

GENRE: Philosophy, Essay

PAGES: 18

“Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all.”

Click here for my 2019 reading list

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One thought on “In Praise of Idleness – Bertrand Russell

  1. great article!

    On Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 3:20 PM Read More Book Club wrote:

    > kellylee posted: ” An excellent and compelling short essay – Russell > succinctly sets out the case for working 4 hours a day. The reallocation of > resources to avoid overwork for some and starvation for others. Clearly > this is a lofty goal in our current society. However” >

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