Idle Your Way to Success

Last Updated Jan 25, 2008 2:12 PM EST

There's a clever interview on 800CEORead with Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the U.K. literary journal The Idler. Hodgkinson has also written two books, The Freedom Manifesto and How to Be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto.
In the interview, entitled Rethinking Work: An Interview with Tom Hodgkinson, they cover delightful ground on the myths of work.
Hodgkinson on the open office: The trend towards open plan - i.e., observable at all time - fills me with horror.

Hodgkinson on vacations: they can be a lot of work: sightseeing trips, water-sports, horse-riding. But because we have chosen and paid for them, we see them as leisure. The same things, were they imposed on us, would feel like work.

Hodgkinson on technology:
It seems to create more work. Right from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, technology has promised to free us from toil. The steam-powered machines were supposed to do all the work. These days, digital technology is always telling us that it makes our lives easier. But does it? The Blackberry, for example, actually ties us to work 24/7. Ditto mobile phones. Email and computers suck time, and waste it. What happened to dancing, and singing? People have more fun in societies with less technology. Technology actually makes us dependent. When our broadband connection went down last month for a couple of days, I initially felt bereft. Then I read a book and picked up the phone and wrote some letters. That was much better. Labour-saving devices just make us try to cram more pointless activities into each day, rather doing the important thing, which is to enjoy our lives.
I got a good chuckle out of some of his answers. He's a Brit, which honors the eccentric individualist, but he's got interesting notions about work and life.
  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.