How to be Idle, Paperback
1 out of 5 (1 rating)


How to be Idle is Tom Hodgkinson's entertaining guide to reclaiming your right to be idle.

As Oscar Wilde said, doing nothing is hard work. The Protestant work ethic has most of us in its thrall, and the idlers of this world have the odds stacked against them.

But here, at last, is a book that can help. From Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the Idler, comes How to be Idle, an antidote to the work-obsessed culture which puts so many obstacles between ourselves and our dreams.

Hodgkinson presents us with a laid-back argument for a new contract between routine and chaos, an argument for experiencing life to the full and living in the moment.

Ranging across a host of issues that may affect the modern idler - sleep, the world of work, pleasure and hedonism, relationships, bohemian living, revolution - he draws on the writings of such well-known apologists for idleness as Dr Johnson, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson and Nietzsche.

His message is clear: take control of your life and reclaim your right to be idle. "Well written, funny and with a scholarly knowledge of the literature of laziness, it is both a book to be enjoyed at leisure and to change lives". (Sunday Times). "In his life and in this book the author is 100 per cent on the side of the angels". (Literary Review). "The book is so stuffed with wisdom and so stuffed with good jokes that I raced through it like a speed freak". (Independent on Sunday). Tom Hodgkinson is the founder and editor of The Idler and the author of How to be Idle, How to be Free, The Idle Parent and Brave Old World.

In spring 2011 he founded The Idler Academy in London, a bookshop, coffeehouse and cultural centre which hosts literary events and offers courses in academic and practical subjects - from Latin to embroidery.

Its motto is 'Liberty through Education'.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Anthologies (non-poetry)
  • ISBN: 9780141015064



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

Be idle - with the help of tobacco, alcohol, and ecstasy. If he needs drugs to be idle, I don't want his advice.

Also by Tom Hodgkinson   |  View all