The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

Synopsis

A publishing phenomenon--the subject of enormous media attention, lavish acclaim from reviewers, and extraordinary sales--this national bestseller explains why, contrary to all expectations, Americans are working harder than ever. Schor shows how labor supply, unemployment, and the addictive nature of consumption lead to longer and longer hours, and what we can do about it.

Excerpt

In the preface to the hardcover edition, I voiced my hope that The Overworked American would "help revive the public discussion on hours of work which died out fifty years ago." Judging by the overwhelming response to the book--best-seller lists, reviews, author interviews and appearances, letters from readers--I can say that discussion has been reignited. Work and leisure are back on the American agenda.

My book was not the first to recognize that Americans are feeling squeezed for time. What made it different was that it avoided the standard "how-to" approach to time management and timesaving. The "how-to" solution--of which I am generally critical--embodies a blame-the-victim approach. It assumes that the problem lies in personal shortcomings, and counsels that we "try to do too much" or do not organize our lives efficiently. Similarly, the corporate attempt to address "work-family" issues--providing, for example, child care, sick-child care, stress seminars, or a health club at the office--falls short when merely a way to make long hours more tolerable for employees. It does not address the basic problem: an economy and society that are demanding too much from people. I believe The Overworked American was successful because it . . .

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