15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fascinating reading for the intellectually curious, 4 May 2006
I completely loved this book. Coming from an anthropological background, I was aware that different people experience time differently, but found the way a very bright, creative social psychologist decided to go about studying this interesting facet of human societies absolutely fascinating, and at times hilarious. We think, because most of us have been brought up with watches and clocks, that time is something fixed and measurable. And on a physical level I'm sure it is.
On the cultural level, on the human level, of course, it is a very different matter. Not only does the tempo of our lives vary from place to place, and, according to Levine's research, with the size of the community we live in, but the way we think about it does too. We experience time through the way we use it, breaking it down into useful parcels that reflect our needs and priorities, that mirror and even structure our daily lives, and in many cases reflect the natural world and its seasons. This last is what Levine calls "nature time". It goes much further than "milking time", but you'll have to read the book to find out.
Choosing countries and communities that are very different from each other, Levine gives us a round the world trip and an exhilarating read that changes the way you think about time, including your own.
A minor caveat - obviously one could expand on this comparative study exhaustively, but any researcher only has so much time, so I think the author can be forgiven for not going to every corner of the earth, and perhaps focusing a little too much on his home state. But good research and a very accessible and entertaining style make this a book I am happy to recommend. Enjoy, and learn!