How to be Free Paperback – 7 Jun. 2007
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
12 years on, I have absolutely no debts, no mortgage and I'm actually considerably wealthier than I ever was before. Oh, and soooo much happier. My wife gave up teaching in the meantime and joined me in my/our business.
Another reviewer here on Amazon felt Tom Hodgkinson writes from a background of privilege and has lofty and unrealistic expectations.
I'd say his tone of voice is more one of sang froid and embracing serendipity - and just trying to have more fun. Me - my background is far from privileged. But I cherry-picked the bits that rang true for me, abandoned my top-flight career, moved to the far reaches of Cornwall for a few years to hang out with all sorts of really interesting people, let serendipity do it's thing and reinvented myself.
A decade later - this year, we're filming again in the Arctic, skiing in Davos, shooting stock photos in Africa, cycling around Scotland and then cycle-touring the length of Taiwan. All frugally and cheaply. Our business ticks along happily by itself and we manage it digitally from anywhere.
The way we're living now may not fit entirely into TH's vision/manifesto, but it's firmly based in his musings.
We live in a small comfortable house, all paid for, we don't ever borrow money now and we have let go of so much "stuff" that we clung to in our earlier years, as status and qualifications of our success. Bollocks to all of that.
And I've got Tom Hodgkinson to thank for inspiring me to take a leap into the unknown and unorthodox. Thanks mate :-)
He is against the idea of a career, saying to go for a year without working to find your gift (and complaining how even women are seeking careers nowadays). This is something that''s not possible for many people, but the more you read the more clear it is that the author has scarcely had to worry about money in his life. Oh, and not to forget one of his suggestions for avoiding a mortgage. "A further alternative is vagabondage. Rid yourself of the mortgage and take to the streets."
He has an idealised version of freedom, and for every good bit of advice there are pages of sanctimonious preaching from someone who seems to have no idea what it is like to live in hardship. On a section on physical pain he advises not to try and seek cures for your ailments and instead recommends to live with it! Again, it's obvious that this is something he's never had any serious concerns with.
There is some good advice (avoiding newspapers, baking your own bread, finding ways to be creative) but a lot of it is clueless of what life is like for many, and in some cases plain insulting with his ignorance and misplaced idealism. And it's baffling how someone who's managed to source so many quotes from historical figures remains so clueless as to the reality of life for most people during the medieval period. But then again, this is the same person who earnestly suggests living on the streets as an alternative to having a home...
If you want to escape the rat race, then the toughest hurdle to overcome is to change your mind - to see the current system for what it is - a mug's game. Time and again I meet people who could escape the rat race but who *choose* not too, because they are still totally invested in the ways of thinking about work and life that came into being with the start of the industrial revolution. This book does a great job at shattering those illusions.
For those that are able, with the help of this book, to gain some perspective, then the actual path to escape is relatively straight forward. Spend a heck of a lot less than you are doing now, quit your job, get rid of the mortgage, live frugally. There are plenty of practical ideas in this book for those ready to escape and be free, and even more if you follow the copious links to further references contained within.
It has been said you can do anything if you know the "why", this book is an entertaining, well written, humurous, and thoroughly researched attempt at providing that. The historical aspects that are covered may seem irrelevant to people who feel something is wrong with their current life, but remember the book's objectives, to change mindset is an important one. The historical context of why things are the way they are is an important part of the anti-dote to our "consumptive" economic system.
If you are looking to make some fundamental changes in your life, and work less, have more fun and be happier, than I would whole-heartedly recommend this book.
While there are some good observations and it does get you thinking about the motives of the large corporations that many of us find ourselves working, the author fails to see that many people gain a lot of satisfaction from work with many working in vocational jobs clearly already not concerned about making money . I think any employee of a supermarket would be quite insulted by some of the authors comments. If i ever meet Tom he can buy me in recompense for the fiver i spent on this book.
Top international reviews
Habe nach der Lektüre drei weitere Bücher von ihm gekauft; das zweitbeste: How to be idle!
Übrigens reicht aufgrund der Überschneidungen eines der beiden Hodgkinson Bücher: Entweder How to be idle oder How to be free - wobei ich dem idle den Vorzug geben würde.
What's boredom anyway? How come whatever we do we always come back to the boring state? Boredom is where life is happening. Entertainment is always short lived, just try repeat the same joke for ten minutes. The place to be is between the walls, in the middle. After peaks come troughs, and vice versa, the only more or less stable state is in the middle. To be free of boredom, not craving entertainment is real freedom. Freedom is when you can sit for an hour and just be.
To the point. If Tom couldn't figure freedom out at the basic, spiritual - sorry, sounds corny - level, he has no business telling me about its other aspects.
So yeah, read the book, find out how to avoid paying unnecessary bills and why you should throw away your watch. There is some good advice here: stop competing, don't chase a career and stop compulsive shopping, among other things. However, all these things are external and secondary to the real freedom. Which , in my opinion, should come within. Once you arrive to the shore you don't need explaining that you don't need the oars.
So, three stars from me. For which Tom should not get too ticked off, he is free from opinions I suppose. Just joking. The book is a good but missed attempt of defining personal freedom. You won't lose much reading it.