Matthew Conroy's Reviews > In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays by Bertrand Russell
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Jan 19, 08

Read in January, 2008

I always like reading Bertrand Russell's stuff. This collection of essays covers some large topics. In In Praise of Idleness, he argues that the world would be better off if people worked less: that, properly organized, we could produce everything everyone needs while spending less time working at those producing activities. This is one of my favorite arguments for socialism. In The Ancestry of Fascism and Scylla and Charybdia, or Communism and Fascism he discusses the causes and evils of Fascism and "Communism" (really, to a large extent, Stalinism). On Youthful Cynicism is a little silly: it's a "kid's these days" kind of essay. Check out the first sentence:
"Any person who visits the Universities of the Western world is liable to be struck by the fact that the intelligent young of the present day are cynical to a far greater extent than was the case formerly." Ha! How many times has that essay been written, I wonder. In Stoicism and Mental Health he has good things to say on how to think about, and treat the subject of, death. Other essays treat bits of education, economics, comets, the soul, and bug. Overall, a nice collection of thoughts.

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