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Not Working: Why We Have to Stop

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  14 reviews
More than ever before, we live in a culture that excoriates inactivity and demonizes idleness. Work, connectivity and a constant flow of information are the cultural norms, and a permanent busyness pervades even our quietest moments. Little wonder so many of us are burning out. In a culture that tacitly coerces us into blind activity, the art of doing nothing is ...more
Unknown Binding, 260 pages
Published September 1st 2019 by Granta
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Paul
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2019
Work is a four letter work according to my long retired father. He is lucky to have left the world of work when he did, before the advent of 24 / 7 emails and messaging, constant stress and the relentless pace that we have today. Work can be a positive thing but it feels at the moment that there is no relief from it. The view from the treadmill of the people burning themselves out, seeing those that are choosing not to do anything is not always the best encouragement.

From his position as a
...more
Rowland Crawte
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book really piqued my interest. Unfortunately I found it very hard to get through. Meandering stories that I couldn’t really link back to the overarching message of each chapter finally caused me to give up on the book half way through. A real shame.
Sachi
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked Josh Cohen’s way of writing. What’s great about this book is that it isn’t prescriptive. It doesn’t give you a list of things to change about your life. What it does is puts forth ideas to mull over - it takes on ideas from Freud, Oscar Wilde, Hannah Arendt, Thoreau, Melville, etc to ask you to consider our relationship with being and doing. I like books that end in questions and not in over simplified answers.

Here are a few quotes/ideas I liked (the ones I remembered to
...more
Sam
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. Rambling.
Jackie Law
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
“So you abandon wage slavery for some long-term freelance project – a novel or invention or fast fortune or cult blog. You wake up now to vast expanses of time, craving the relief of the regular hours and definable tasks you stupidly gave up, feeling chronically deprived of the urgency, direction and clarity of purpose you’d taken for granted when you’d had somewhere to go and something to do each day.”

Not Working is strap-lined Why We Have to Stop – an interesting if somewhat impractical
...more
Esther O'Neill
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
' Untying the bonds of necessity, stopping becomes a step towards freedom .' Not Working, Conclusion'
Untying those bonds made possible by a Universal Basic income ? Captivating.
I read this late at night, after all too typical December days of near-obsessive work. How to stop ? Would stopping be safe ? In a recent column, one journalist equates their work ethic with self medication.


Not Working: Why We Have to Stop
Josh
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Offers an interesting perspective on the positives of "inactivity". Id agree with a review left on amazon where it was said Josh has potentially missed the point & that firefighters, nurses etc are persuing potentially rewarding & challenging work, not to mention it pays bills. Work for me isn't hugely dissatisfying as a bakery assistant either. Everyone is friendly & we are effectively a tribe. Being a psychoanalyst on the other hand is possibly more psychologically intense. ...more
James Winestock
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The only thing stopping me giving this book five stars is that I found that the artist biographies were too long. They interrupted the flow of the book and did not do much to enhance the author's point. The psychology and theorising about work culture was excellent though and they take up the majority of the book. I identify strongly with aspects of more than one of the archetypes in the book. I feel instinctively that slowing down and switching off are natural and healthy parts of the human ...more
Amy
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I absorbed this book more than read it. From cover to cover in one sitting, what deep comfort it was to have these concepts shared so thoughtfully, and with so many lived examples of humanity's paradox with 21st century work.
So grateful to have found this book.
Deepan Banati
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. I have an intellectual framework for not doing anything!
Niall
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
More pretentious than practical. I did get some interesting biographies of Andy Warhol, Orsen Welles, Emily Dickinson and David Foster Wallace. The rest is just mainly pretentious.
Kathryn O'Donoghue
Aug 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I found this book had nothing to do with the title. Overall a very disappointing book. Pretentious and contrived.
Jude Alford
So much of this is repetitive and all the Freud & the Warhol really seemed to be reaching. The David Foster Wallace & Emily Dickinson chapters were interesting.
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Josh Cohen is a professor of modern literary theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the author of many books, including The Private Life: Why We Remain in the Dark