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Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale Paperback – 14 May 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719560160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719560163
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Ayres is a contributing editor at The Sunday Times Magazine and GQ, and the author of four books, including War Reporting for Cowards, which he is currently adapting for television. His other books include two major international bestsellers with Ozzy Osbourne: I Am Ozzy, winner of the Literary Achievement honor at the 2010 Guys' Choice Award, and Trust Me, I'm Dr Ozzy, based on Chris's long-running column with Ozzy in Rolling Stone.

Chris lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Product Description


'Ayres is beautifully self-deprecating, very funny and he's clearly a brilliant blagger, all of which makes for a diverting read' (Daily Mail)

'Part anthropological study of LA, part self-deprecating comic misadventure' (Independent on Sunday)

'A hilarious look at the excesses of LA life, with a sobering undercurrent' (Daily Express)

'Ayres' gaffes as a narcissistic wannabe are written with self-effacing wit' (Times)

'Hilarious, this is Hollywood laid bare' (The Sun)

'What is most fascinating is that this is the best book around to explain the origins of the credit crunch ... fascinating stuff' (News of the World)

Death by Leisure presents a delicious vicarious thrill for the reader (Herald)

'(Ayres) carries it off with wit, panache and wry social observation . . . this may be death for leisure but its reading for pleasure' (Tatler)

'Ayres second (book) chronicles his life as an LA show-bix hack. Highlights include when he takes a date to Michael Jackson's Neverland and slams a door in Mike Tyson's face' (GQ)

'A very funny book with nice comic timing' (Guardian)

'A frank, gonzo-esque account of his life among the glittering stars of Hollywood' (Gay Times)

Ayres, a Times journalist, not only has a gift for comedy . . . but nails the complicated character of the world's maddest, saddest city (thelondonpaper)

'(Ayres) is disarmingly honest and his many gaffes make hilarious reading' (Sunday Business Post)

'Hugely entertaining memoir' (Word)

Book Description

Caviar facials, air-conditioned convertibles, desert lawn-sprinklers. Welcome to the Leisuretocracy.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Miller on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
my third holiday read and my second chris ayres book - and I enjoyed it even more than his first. somehow he even manages to make things like selling one tv and buying another one funny. he makes his disastrous date to michael jackson's ranch (how topical that seems now ...) funny, he makes just doing his job seem funny. It's a real insight into how it must be to move to LA and try to carve out a career there. If things aren't quite working out the way you would want them to in your own life or career then read this book - you'll either feel that at least things aren't as bad as they are in LA, or that at least you're not alone - chris would probably inadvertently mess things up just as much if he were in your shoes. I think the overall message is to live life like he does - by laughing at it and turning everything into a good story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Brown on 7 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Judging by the cover, this is not the sort of book I would usually read. However, once I'd picked it up, I grew interested when the author mentioned his childhood in Northumberland (me, too!) then (having spent all of 3 days there!) thought that the LA theme is bound to be good.

I read this book in 4 days despite frequently forcing myself to put it down because I didn't want the story to end. Never has one man suffered so much to make his life's journey a deserving read. It's funny, it's real, it's understated, it's scary... and it taught me a lot of stuff about the weather and the world economy. The topics in this book are relevant NOW - so read it as soon as possible!

Off to buy Mr. Ayres' previous book while hoping that it won't be too long before he writes another :o)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Baby Blue on 30 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book entertaining. Disbelief was willingly suspended. Didn't worry about the character or morality of the author. Didn't care that the same narrative ploy was used again and again. The roller coaster rolled on without hitting any bumps or lurching over the edge.

The numerous references to modern technology/culture were very tastefully done. Refreshing without feeling as if it was gratuitous or a gimmick. The bottom line is that it was disappointing to see the last page. Will read his other book now.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
He never met a bubble that he didn't love... 27 Jan. 2009
By S. McGee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When journalist Chris Ayres arrives in Los Angeles after his misadventures as a war reporter (see War Reporting for Cowards), he writes that his plan "was to max out on leisure (and) binge on self-gratification, until I could take it no more." He does a pretty good job of that, but ironically seems to enjoy retelling the early years and his escapades (including forking over thousands on Ebay for tickets to a hilarious bizarre Michael Jackson party at Neverland) more than he enjoyed the first had experiences themselves.

Ayres was probably the ideal choice of reporter to cover a world as quirky and sometimes downright surreal as L.A. and Hollywood. And the memoir he has produced of his first few years in la-la land will make you laugh out loud while simultaneously wincing in agonized recognition: you realize that you and everyone you know has made at least some of Ayres's idiotic mistakes. Racking up credit card debt on food delivery services, spending so much on a high-definition flat-screen television so that he can't afford to pay his rent, and ultimately buying a house using some of that now-infamous floating-rate mortgage financing.... It seems there is scarcely a single foible that Ayres avoided. He even starts driving a block or two to pick up his morning coffee, instead of walking.

But then, as Ayres cheerfully admits, he's a big fan of American culture - particularly the part of it that allows people to understand the risks of their behavior - and then ignore them. He's ruthlessly honest about his own mistakes. The ownership of his new HDTV, for instance, demonstrates to his (male) peers "my stealth in the retail wilderness, my mastery of advanced financing tools; my bravery in the face of certain obsolescence." And as he recounts his own antics, including his plot to meet girls while selling his furniture on Craigslist in order make that pesky rent payment, he's simultaneously chronicling the bigger picture for his London newspaper. He writes about obese bears getting fat on human food, cappuccino cows (cows bred to produce milk that froths better), the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jackson's pedophilia trial, and Scott Peterson. And the weird weather - wildfires, hurricanes, imported smog in California and suicidal giant squid in the Pacific Ocean.

Gradually, Ayres makes the connection between his personal habits - consuming gargantuan amounts of electricity, gasoline and debt - and the slowly emerging economic and environmental woes. That epiphany doesn't always make him happy. "I'm a big fan of bubbles ... they're my idea of a good time," Ayres argues. A bubble is all about short-term thinking and human beings, by definition, are creatures of the extreme short term, he contends. So it takes a while for Ayres to adjust to the new realities. Even after meeting the woman of his dreams, he heads off to Vegas to try and gamble his way toward a downpayment on his house. Needless to say, he loses - but then his agent sells his first book to a publisher and the advance finances a Range Rover, as well as a house on top of 16 fault lines in a landslide area and fire hazard zone. With an adjustable rate mortage issued by a now-defunct banking institution.

It isn't long before interest rates start to climb, and Ayres must confront reality - including "feelings of deep personal animosity toward the chairman of the Federal Reserve" after those rate hikes cause his adjustable rate mortgage to, um, adjust - upwards. I won't spoil the fun by telling you how Ayres tries to come to terms with his own folly and that of the country's other residents. I'll just say that the whole book is a wry, self-deprecating and offbeat look at the excesses of the last few years, disguised as an expat's memoir of life in California. Read it and weep - often with laughter.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very Funny and a great second book 4 Feb. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Chris Ayres the LA correspondent for The Times (London) has certainly lived an interesting life in this his second book he details his move to LA and the way he was swept along with the lifestyle and the creative mortgage broker who got him finance for his house. If you buy this book you need to get War Reporting for Cowards as well as they go well together and both are very enjoyable. How many journalists have been sent to LA and Iraq by their employer and then meets his wife via Craiglist while selling a sofa. If you like books and have a sense of humour then get this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who wants to know about LA, read this book 4 Feb. 2009
By Slopey The Bear - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's the perfect description of Los Angeles in the early 00's. Also frequently laugh-out-loud funny, charming, and yet oddly hopeful, Ayres does a wonderful job with this book.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not Hip Enough To Appreciate This Book 25 April 2009
By BookLover - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Considering the other reviews, I have to offer an obvious caveat: maybe I'm not hip enough to appreciate this book. What others found humorous, entertaining and satirical, I found annoying and pompous.

This guy is a self-involved dolt who loves to name drop and is impossible to root for. Consequently, his "messages" about greed and consumerism come off as trite and disingenuous.

To me, this was pure blathering from a clueless, self-involved twenty-something. Oh sure, just blame Alan Greenspan for everything. He MADE you buy a house you couldn't afford......
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
constant LOL moments.... 1 Feb. 2009
By Lucie Lucie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Amazing book, hilariously funny, and so damn timely. I loved his first book, but really this one just blows my mind - his date at Neverland?!? met his wife on craigslist buying furniture? and the idea of our leisurely society and "yuppy" guilt is so timely.
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