Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Waiting for the Weekend” as Want to Read:
Waiting for the Weekend
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Waiting for the Weekend

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  168 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Aristotle wrote that we work in order to have leisure. But is the leisure that Aristotle spoke of--the freedom to do nothing--the same as the leisure we look forward to each weekend? With fascinating anecdotal detail, Rybczynski unfolds the history of leisure from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment to today, explores the origins of the week and the weekend, and illuminates ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published August 19th 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Waiting for the Weekend, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Waiting for the Weekend

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 02, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Nonfiction view at the evolution of our 5-and-2 pattern of days; leisure versus hobbies; reading versus watching tv. The chapter on "Pastimes" was quite interesting. Is leisure time a time to work at play? Or to do nothing, a kind of personal freedom? The book became a little slow during the historical recountings of how weekdays were developed, but made up for it in the other chapters. Worth reading.
Aug 13, 2010 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Despite the title, and despite the fact that much of this book tells the story of how the weekend as we know it came into being, Waiting for the Weekend isn’t just about Saturday and Sunday and how they got that way. It also examines larger questions of leisure: what is leisure, anyhow? And how do work and leisure and recreation and play interrelate? To start with an answer: leisure, as Rybczynski defines it, is not “an antidote to work”—that would be recreation, which “carries with it a sense o ...more
Mary Catelli
Jun 21, 2013 Mary Catelli rated it really liked it
Being a study in that instrument of leisure time, the weekend.

Starts with history: how the week came to be, with the Jewish Sabbath and the planetary week coming into play -- plus attempts by the French Revolution and the Soviet Union to "reform" it -- and leisure time in the forms of holidays throughout the world and history. the differences and similarities between sacred time and taboo time.

The increase in such leisurely things as parks, consuming coffee, tea, and tobacco, and the novel. Pop
Paula Dembeck
Jun 19, 2014 Paula Dembeck rated it liked it
In this small volume, Rybcznski gets us to thinking about an everyday aspect of life we may never have given much thought to in the past. What is the weekend and why do we have it?

In examining the relationship between work and leisure, he recounts the evolution of the seven day week, its roots historically in the Babylonian calendar and then the later more recent development of the two day weekend. In doing so he explores the history of leisure and the concept of time off from work, starting fi
Rogue Reader
May 18, 2014 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: architecture
Fascinating work on how time is defined by the two day week end, and why it has come to be. Really the cultural history of recreation - citing GK Chesteron's definitions of "leisure": "The first is being allowed to do something. The second is being allowed to do anything. And the third (and perhaps most rare and precious) is being allowed to do nothing." Rybecynski writes of the increasing structure of free time and how likely that the commercialization of leisure time turns free time into anoth ...more
Sep 18, 2014 Lori rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
OK, I found this book a little dry & unengaging. Yet, its slow-moving approach fits the topic of leisure appropriately. And, I don't know where else you'll find some of the cultural history tidbits in this volume. When & how did everyone decide that Saturday/Sunday was the weekend? Good question, but apparently it's harder to pin down than you'd think. Working seven days a week without a day off in the Industrial Age didn't work so well, for example, because of absenteeism, especially on ...more
Nov 05, 2013 Natalie rated it liked it
I liked this book, it is a fascinating topic that made me stop and think about time and how it is being used. I took several breaks in reading this book though, so I can't recall most of the end though, he discusses the difference between 'recreation' and 'leisure' that I found interesting. Both are important to balance time spent at work. We have more free time then we realize (i.e. if tv watching can add up to 20 hours a week! wow! its like a part time job!). This book is one I'd like ...more
Jul 08, 2008 Shannon rated it liked it
This is a surprisingly in-depth study of the history of our current work-week (and, of course, the weekend). It dragged a little during some of the detailed examples of different cultures that had a hand in inspiring the 7-day week, but I think it would be worth reading again.

It also discusses leisure and freetime and hobbies briefly--I would have liked to hear more on these subjects, although he references plenty of books on the subject, like "A Civilized Guide to Loafing" (Hilarious!)
Aug 05, 2008 Jenreese rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jenreese by: found while browsing a used book shop
Way better than I initially thought...this is a quick history of our calendar and an exploration of where in the world the concept of the weekend came from. Despite my having to look up a number of words in the first couple chapters, it's super easy to read. I read it in a flight from tx to the east coast, maybe with a delay on the runway. It's so interesting to think about what forces have come together to shape the way we shape our time. Happy Friday & have a great weekend!
Rybczynski is a great chronicler of the way we live and this work examines the origins and evolution of the idea of the weekend...there is much culture, religion, economics and history spread through this exploration of an idea that has seized the western imagination. In addition to a mass of fact and interpretation the work is well written and witty.
Sep 05, 2016 Krayfish1 rated it liked it
Interesting history of where the two day weekend came from, including the custom of going to the countryside, gardening. Intellectuals worrying commonfolk would use it to get drunk. A little discussion about the meaning of leisure & why don't people just do things for fun anymore.
M.L. Rose
Sep 03, 2010 M.L. Rose rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to M.L. by: Professor
As a society the more we change the more we remain the same. We often forget the meaning of the weekend and take for granted what we have in life without remembering how any of it came about, and how much we as humans like to fool ourselves.
Mar 08, 2013 Heidi rated it liked it
A fun and whimsical history of leisure and the weekend as we know it, as well as a plea for treating savoring of leisure as time to do nothing at all. The history of our seven day week was neat - never heard anything about it before,
Zguba Salemenska
Mar 06, 2013 Zguba Salemenska rated it really liked it
A good history of our working/leisure life.
Sep 23, 2007 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The subject was interesting, but the writing style did not grab my attention and hold it.
Johanna Lemon
Jan 24, 2016 Johanna Lemon rated it it was amazing
This book was assigned for a class and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Learning about the evolution of the weekend and how it relates to the development of leisure was very intriguing.
Jul 24, 2011 Christy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book to be a thoughtful, thought-provoking, investigation of the weekend. It raised questions I had never thought about before and was brimful of fascinating facts.
Jan 09, 2013 Libraryvixen rated it it was ok
Very interesting book, but avoid the audiobook - the reader is a woman, although Rybczynski speaks self referentially often ("my boyhood....").
Dec 31, 2014 Rhode rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I will read anything and everything this man writes. He is a marvelous thinker, researcher, synthesizer and writer.
Jul 13, 2008 Alain rated it really liked it
Fun, fun, fun!
Aug 03, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
Everybody's working for the weekend!
This book tries to understand why we do that exactly.
Apr 22, 2016 Janet rated it really liked it
Funny, insightful and full of interesting facts about leisure and the development over the ages of how we use our free time. "We work to have leisure." ~ Aristotle
Julie H.
Jul 12, 2009 Julie H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a highly enjoyable history of leisure time in western civilization.
Charlie rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2013
Jedediah McClure
Jedediah McClure rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2015
Diego rated it liked it
Jun 20, 2012
Christopher Page
Christopher Page rated it really liked it
Mar 23, 2014
Roy Dykstra
Roy Dykstra rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2017
Heather rated it liked it
Feb 14, 2008
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners
  • The Significance of the Frontier in American History
  • The Tulip
  • The Ideology of the Aesthetic
  • Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden
  • Edge City: Life on the New Frontier
  • The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times
  • Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith
  • The Country and the City
  • Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses
  • Nothing Remains the Same: Rereading and Remembering
  • Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page
  • Sweets: A History of Candy
  • A Life In Hand
  • Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
  • What Is Intelligence?: Beyond the Flynn Effect
  • For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing
  • Reporting at Wit's End: Tales from the New Yorker
Witold Rybczynski was born in Edinburgh, of Polish parentage, raised in London, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he also taught for twenty years. He is currently the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also co-edits the Wharton Real Estate Review. Rybczynski has ...more
More about Witold Rybczynski...

Share This Book