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How To Be Free

How To Be Free [Kindle Edition]

Tom Hodgkinson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

How to be Free is Tom Hodgkinson's manifesto for a liberated life.

Modern life is absurd. How can we be free?

If you've ever wondered why you bother to go to work, or why so much consumer culture is crap, then this book is for you. Looking to history, literature and philosophy for inspiration, Tom Hodgkinson provides a joyful blueprint for a simpler and freer way of life. Filled with practical tips as well as inspiring reflections, here you can learn how to throw off the shackles of anxiety, bureaucracy, debt, governments, housework, supermarkets, waste and much else besides.

Are you ready to be free? Read this book and find out.

'One of the most provocatively entertaining, creatively subversive and, frankly, essential manifestoes of this or any moment' Time Out

'Crammed with laugh-out-loud jokes and witty put-downs . . . acts as a survival guide for everything from the government to housework. Random in its details, essential in its advice' Knave

As a follow-up to his charming How to be Idle, Tom Hodgkinson offers nothing less than a manifesto of resistance to the modern world' Guardian

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'.

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About the Author

Tom Hodgkinson was born in 1968 and is the author of the bestselling How To Be Idle. He is editor and co-founder of the Idler and contributes to the Sunday Telegraph, Guardian and Sunday Times. He also imported absinthe for a while. He lives in Devon with his family.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 739 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Jun 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9KN6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,037 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tom Hodgkinson was born in 1968 and is the author of How To Be Idle and How To Be Free. He is editor and co-founder of the Idler and contributes to the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Independent on Sunday. He also imported absinthe for a while. He lives in Devon with his family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
147 of 153 people found the following review helpful
Do you feel that we live in an overly regimented, joyless, conformist, colourless, soulless and work-obsessed society? Do you yearn for a more spontaneous, exciting, and creative life? If you do then this very well may be the book for you! It is another polemic from the patron saint of idlers, the one and only Mr Tom Hodgkinson, who wrote the wonderful `How to be Idle'.

The central premise is that of Jean Paul Sartre's existential philosophy - we live in an absurd, meaningless universe, but we are free to create our own lives and our own meaning. It is our own "mind forged manacles" that condemn us to lives of robotic tedium and wage slavery. Hodgkinson examines the different factors that inhibit our freedom and looks at alternative ways of thinking and living. The underlying political message is essentially that of anarchism. He believes that we should take far more responsibility for our own lives, create mutual support mechanisms, be a lot less materialistic, resist consumerism, and grow our own food. He attacks the current obsession with owning property, making the case that we are in thrall to the banks who really own our homes. He also attacks the soul crushing tedium that most paid employment involves, and the way in which it devours our time on this earth.

He quotes the great critics of industrialised society, John Ruskin and William Morris, who deplored their society's denigration of individual creativity and beauty. Hodgkinson explores the idea that the Middle Ages actually offered comparatively more freedom and fun than the modern, hi-tech society offers today. There were far more holidays and festivals, and peasants did not have to work as hard for their feudal masters as today's wage-slave has to do for the omnipotent multi-national corporations.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read! 17 Aug 2007
I found this book by chance, really - I needed a third book for a '3 for 2' offer in the bookshop, and it had a particularly attractive title. At first I thought that it would just be another of those useless books that claims to be able to 'change your life for the better,' or that he was another author attempting to make a quick buck from a lot of worthless twaddle. But once I'd started reading it, I realised how wrong I was.

Tom Hodgkinson essentially looks at modern society - decides it's all utter nonsense - and then presents you with a laid-back, enjoyable and free way to live life. He rants and raves about how rubbish the world is nowadays, his train of thought twisting and dancing as you turn the pages; but it's all true - and it really is enlightening.

While I don't argue that it's possible for everyone to follow his instructions for life (how would society achieve advancements in science, medicine, the arts etc if we all relaxed and tended our allotments?) I seriously recommend you read it, as it offers - at the very least - a new and freer way of looking at life.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A curate's egg... 11 July 2009
... in other words, good in parts.

It's clear from the book that whatever Tom Hodgkinson has to say about work, he put in his time in putting this book together with quotations from thinkers of past times. There are quite a few good ideas in here. Unfortunately they are knitted together in a rather loose and at times incoherent manner.

I read this over a couple of months in quiet moments at work (don't tell anyone). In doing so, I got a frisson of anti-establishment excitement, and it made an amusing an distracting read. I'm not sure I could have tackled it in a more systematic manner, though - Tom's manifesto at times became a diatribe, and also somewhat repetitive.

The repeated theme was that if we just turned back the clock to the Middle Ages, everything would be dandy. Well, yes, maybe, if only a few of us did. If we all did as Tom suggests then things might not be so rosy. I found a delightful irony in the last appendix to the book, where Tom points out a number of internet resources that will aid your passage to bucolic delight - in the bright new world, who's going to be maintaining the telecoms cables, the power supplies, the server farms, building the computers...?
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this and prevent a heart attack 9 April 2007
Considering Tom Hodgkinson is editor of the Idler and places being idle as a life aim he's not exactly workshy when it comes to research for this book. All around us we see stressed out workers competing for the best parking space, snatching at every opportunity and consuming with a vigour that would put most drug addicts to shame - Hodgkinson, with a broad sword that takes in medieval merrymaking and our 21st century tax burden (higher now than in fuedal times according to the author) puts forward an almost unarguable point that we all need to slow down, consume less, laugh more and stop striving for the next big thing. As most people deep down know this to be true it took "How to Be Free" for me to finally stop and, like being gently slapped in the face with the fish of happiness and quit rushing around like an idiot. It's rare for books to actually stop you in your tracks (The Corporation - Bakan, Stupid White Men - Moore, The Culture of Fear - Glassner, How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World - Wheen) but I was the road rage, drag the dog around the park, five meetings a day, make more money screaming bundle of stress that somehow defines modern man. How to Be Free points to an alternative way of life that drags the absurdity of this modern capitalist lifestyle out into the bright sunshine and stabs it repeatedly with his observations, facts and comparisons. Buy this book or alternatively, on Tom Hodgkinsons advice, buy a ukulele .. or was it a banjo. Buy two, one for yourself and one for someone you know who screams at cyclists.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A floored schizophrenic ran
Some tidbits of pretty obvious but sound advise in places, but the author's blinkered, hyper romanticised view of medieval life rubbed me up the wrong way, as did his slavish... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Steamface
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
Life affirming peaceful radical book loved it very much everyone should just read this book you won't regret it now
Published 25 days ago by Mr. J. W. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this so much I got it for my kindle so I can carry it around...
Is it possible to be free? Read this, it might just alter your perspective on life and help you make some small steps towards casting off those chains!
Published 3 months ago by Sockie girl
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book
Really a mind blowing book to read

Wrote to the author but didnt hear back though : (

Can't praise this little joy high enough!! Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ms. REA Mcdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting in places
Worth a read, agree with a lot of it, some of it I thought was nonsense but it's all stuff that can spark debate which can only be a good thing as much of the West seems to be in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by WillB
5.0 out of 5 stars Great manifesto
This book is his best, imho. It has lots of practical info about how to live freely, and also enough philosophy to understand the history of movements like the Diggers. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Liverpool Lass
5.0 out of 5 stars a liberating read
makes you feel as if it is actual possible to break free of the rat race. inspirational rather than totally practical though!
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment
This book is poorly written playground psychology. It is just a vast array of self-indulgent fluff. The writer is the Kate Hopkins of the literary world. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amy kitten
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice one
Cool. Well written. Well researched. Readable. Funny (sometimes). Enjoyable. Affordable. Available in libraries; now, that Is free. Makes you think.
Published 8 months ago by Blimey O'Reilly
4.0 out of 5 stars How to be free
I enjoy Tom Hodgkinson's writing style...this isn't freedom having to write fourteen more words on this review...and now three more
Published 10 months ago by Lynette Day
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Popular Highlights

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Above all, stop trying. Career is a try-hard notion. The free of spirit have stopped trying and instead let things happen. &quote;
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We bore ourselves in order to earn the money that we will later spend in trying to de-bore ourselves. &quote;
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It is the same with your mind: mulch it with quality ingredients, books, food and beauty, and it will become fertile and produce useful and beautiful things. &quote;
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