slackerdude, August 29, 2006 (view all comments by slackerdude)
Now I know what to buy my worthless, lazy shiftless no good for anything brother in law for his birthday. I wonder why his picture isn't on the title page!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (23 of 31 readers found this comment helpful)
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Lutz eases readers into this sparkling cultural history of stylish American torpor with an anecdote about his 18-year-old son, Cody, moving into his house and bivouacking on the couch — perhaps indefinitely. Lutz himself spent a decade before college 'wandering here and abroad,' so his intense anger at Cody surprised him — and inspired him to write this book about the crashing fault lines between Anglo-America's vaunted Calvinist work ethic and its skulking, shrugging love of idling. An English professor who admits to being personally caught between these warring impulses, Lutz (Crying) has a gimlet eye for the ironies of modern loafing: that the 'flaming youth' of the 1920s were intensely industrious; that our most celebrated slackers (Jack Kerouac, Richard Linklater) have been closet workaholics; that our most outspoken Puritans (Benjamin Franklin, George W. Bush) have been notorious layabouts. Lutz's diligent research on a range of lazy and slovenly subjects, from French flneurs to New York bohos, ultimately leads him to side with the bums. Flying in the face of yuppie values and critics of the welfare state, his 'slacker ethic' emerges over the course of this history as both a necessary corrective to — and an inevitable outgrowth of — the 80-hour work week." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
by Larry Sears, The Christian Science Monitor,
"[A] fascinating — although at times also frustrating — analysis of both workers and slackers throughout the past 250 years of Anglo-American history....[D]espite occasional slowdowns, the journey this book allows us to make is well worth taking. The questions it raises will remain the topic of serious discussion for many years to come." (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
by Los Angeles Times,
"Given his subject, it's perhaps fitting that Lutz rambles on at a slacker-like pace as he traces the rise of this lovable if exasperating cultural type."
"Though a serious study of spongers, this wry book is fun to read. With layabouts such as Theodore Dreiser, the Beats, and our epoch's own Anna Nicole Simpson on offer, cultural-history mavens won't be able to pass Lutz up."
by Library Journal,
"[Full] of supporting cultural and historical references, this is an entertaining, enlightening, and engaging history."
by Denver Post,
"[Lutz's] incredibly engaging and offbeat meditation on the history of the American work ethic and its development over the past few centuries, and the various counter movements that have arisen to challenge it."
by Dave Barry, New York Times Book Review,
"A thoughtful and very thorough author... [Doing Nothing] left me with a deeper appreciation for the value of not working. In fact, I wish I could do more of it. Alas, I cannot: these toenails aren't going to clip themselves."
by Gary Kamiya, Salon.com,
"Like Lutz's brilliant study of weeping, Crying: A Natural and Cultural History of Tears, Doing Nothing is a highly intelligent, stimulatingly eclectic, and impressively learned book.... A fascinating social history of the changing face of work and the wildly varying rebellious responses to it."
by Washington Post,
"Razor-sharp analysis and a thoughtful argument — that antipathy toward employment is often a reaction to changing societal norms rather than an aversion to work itself — make for a surprisingly lively read."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"A superbly detailed analysis of how our culture has reflected on these issues throughout time. Each historical period — from the first machines of the Agricultural Revolution, through the Industrial Revolution, through two World Wars and up through the dotcom '90s — is carefully examined.... The questions it raises will remain the topic of serious discussion for many years to come."
Couch potatoes, goof-offs, freeloaders, good-for-nothings, loafers, and loungers: ever since the Industrial Revolution, when the work ethic as we know it was formed, there has been a chorus of slackers ridiculing and lampooning the pretensions of hardworking respectability. Whenever the world of labor changes in significant ways, the pulpits, politicians, and pedagogues ring with exhortations of the value of work, and the slackers answer with a strenuous call of their own: "To do nothing," as Oscar Wilde said, "is the most difficult thing in the world."
Moving with verve and wit through a series of case studies that illuminate the changing place of leisure in the American republic, Doing Nothing revises the way we understand slackers and work itself.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.