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Not Working: Why We Have to Stop (Paperback)
  • Not Working: Why We Have to Stop (Paperback)
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Not Working: Why We Have to Stop (Paperback)

(author)
£10.99
Paperback 304 Pages
Published: 02/01/2020
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'A PROBING EXPLORATION OF THE CREATIVE AND IMAGINATIVE POSSIBILITIES OF INACTIVITY' FINANCIAL TIMES 'To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world.' Oscar Wilde More than ever before, we live in a culture that excoriates inactivity and demonizes idleness. Work, connectivity and a constant flow of information are the cultural norms, and a permanent busyness pervades even our quietest moments. Little wonder so many of us are burning out. In a culture that tacitly coerces us into blind activity, the art of doing nothing is disappearing. Inactivity can induce lethargy and indifference, but is also a condition of imaginative freedom and creativity. Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen explores the paradoxical pleasures of inactivity, and considers four faces of inertia - the burnout, the slob, the daydreamer and the slacker. Drawing on his personal experiences and on stories from his consulting room, while punctuating his discussions with portraits of figures associated with the different forms of inactivity - Andy Warhol, Orson Welles, Emily Dickinson and David Foster Wallace - Cohen gets to the heart of the apathy so many of us feel when faced with the demands of contemporary life, and asks how we might live a different and more fulfilled existence.

Publisher: Granta Books
ISBN: 9781783782062
Number of pages: 304
Weight: 215 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[Writing] clearly and beguilingly, his sentences mostly unclogged with jargon... Cohen is good at revealing all the ways in which, event as the 21st century induces exhaustion, it banishes the expression of it; and everyone will recognise what he has to say about how life can feel like a facsimile, one in which we merely go through the motions, when we should be living it to the full... A light thought alongside all my dark ones -- Rachel Cooke * Observer *
A probing exploration of the creative and imaginative possibilities of inactivity and a decided pushback against the "sacralisation of work" that pervades the west... Cohen usefully grounds the more theoretical wrangling of each chapter with a composite case history gleaned from his consulting room... Not Working not only instructs us in the pursuit of aimlessness, it also teaches us about the psychoanalytic process... Less doing and more being is exactly what Not Working is advocating -- Lucy Scholes * Financial Times *
A compassionate and thought-provoking way of thinking about what work is and might be... a convincing case that human contentment is only possible if we value equally work and non-work and make space for simply being -- David Hayden * Irish Times *
Josh Cohen knows a great deal about the forces that drive and sometimes overpower us. In this compelling new book, he explores writers and artists, brings himself and what he has learned from his patients into the mix, to make a passionate argument for the benefits of floating free from the chains of work. Scintillating -- Lisa Appignanesi
A beautifully written and potently argued post-Bachelardian case for reverie, and for stopping to listen to the quieter manifestations of the inner life' -- Chloe Aridjis
An eloquent defence of the necessity of the daydreamer, the artist and the slacker as part of the essential repertoire of our humanity. Offering the delicious possibility of a world slowly imagined differently and more creatively -- Maria Balshaw
Cohen's lucid and subtle book exposes something we all know but don't know how to recognise - that work doesn't work for most people and that even when it does work it is a refuge from so many other things. Remarkable and timely, Not Working is truly clarifying -- Adam Phillips
Beautifully written and constantly surprising, Not Working combines cultural criticism, psychoanalytic insight and autobiography to cast fresh light on a malaise that every reader will recognise: our compulsion to use time productively, and our fear of what happens if we don't -- William Davies, author * Nervous States: How feeling took over the world *
A good and thoughtful corrective to our age of pathological distraction. Learning to stop, Cohen contends, might just be the way to start living again -- Anthony Quinn * Mail on Sunday *
Not Working is a polemic against our overwork culture and a meditation on its alternatives...a highly personal, eloquent reimagining of our lives as a space for far niente in all its unfettered idiosyncrasy...brilliant...revealing -- Barbara Taylor * Guardian *
There is much food for thought in this erudite homage to catatonia -- Houman Barekat * Spectator *
Gently provocative, intensely humane and exceptionally thought-provoking -- Stephanie Cross * Lady *
Brilliantly strange -- Ian Sansom * Ulster Tatler *
Fascinating -- Rachel Long * Refinery 29 *
Not Working has an expansiveness that far exceeds its modest size... [Cohen's] writing is on the whole beautiful * Times Higher Education *
Cohen is fantastically good at making us question our hard-won strategies of avoidance and resistance to stopping... engaging -- Suzanne Moore * New Statesman *
If you're in the process of trying to stand still in a culture that won't let you, [Not Working] may help you hold your nerve -- Alice Bloch * Prospect *
Refreshing and relatable * Idler *
Interesting and provocative * Irish Tech News *

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