In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

Ranked #99 in Stoicism

Intolerance and bigotry lie at the heart of all human suffering. So claims Bertrand Russell at the outset of In Praise of Idleness, a collection of essays in which he espouses the virtues of cool reflection and free inquiry; a voice of calm in a world of maddening unreason. From a devastating critique of the ancestry of fascism to a vehement defense of 'useless' knowledge, with consideration given to everything from insect pests to the human soul, this is a tour de force that only Bertrand Russell could perform. less

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays from the world's leading experts.

Carl Honoré This is wonderful, but feels dated to me. It was written in 1932 so it’s from a different era, when there was still the landed gentry. His basic thesis is that one of the ills of the modern world is the lie that has been sold to us that work is a virtuous and ennobling thing. His argument is that that’s a form of social control – keeping people down by keeping them working. There’s also the puritan idea of idle hands being the devil’s workshop. He makes the counter-suggestion that we ought to be working less, and freeing up more hours to pursue leisure. (Source)

Ed Cooke A great book. (Source)

Similar Books

If you like In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays, check out these similar top-rated books:

Learn: What makes Shortform summaries the best in the world?