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Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure

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This pathbreaking book explains why, contrary to all expectations, Americans are working harder than ever. Juliet Schor presents the astonishing news that over the past twenty years our working hours have increased by the equivalent of one month per year—a dramatic spurt that has hit everybody: men and women, professionals as well as low-paid workers. Why are we—unlike every other industrialized Western nation—repeatedly ”choosing” money over time? And what can we do to get off ...

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Hardcover Very Good 0465048390 NO dustjacket. Copy has been read but remains in nice & clean condition. Pages are crisp. Spine is tight; Some minor shelfwear, a clean read. ... From a personal collection. Read more Show Less

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Overview

This pathbreaking book explains why, contrary to all expectations, Americans are working harder than ever. Juliet Schor presents the astonishing news that over the past twenty years our working hours have increased by the equivalent of one month per year—a dramatic spurt that has hit everybody: men and women, professionals as well as low-paid workers. Why are we—unlike every other industrialized Western nation—repeatedly ”choosing” money over time? And what can we do to get off the treadmill?

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
The most important road map to political change since The Affluent Society.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An important, hard-hitting, well-documented look at the overworking of America, this study finds that Americans now spend more hours working than at any time since WW II. 75,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Mar.)
Library Journal
This is a book with an important message that unfortunately will probably not be taken seriously. Schor, a Harvard economist, argues from statistics what the rest of us know from experience, that ``in the last twenty years the amount of time Americans have spent at their jobs has risen steadily.'' And the statistics, if accurate, are stunning. Each year our work year increases by one day. We average only 16 hours of leisure a week after jobs and household chores. Working hours are longer than they were 40 years ago. And if present trends continue by the year 2000, we will be spending as much time at our jobs as we did in the 1920s. However, as Schor notes, we are also willing victims of this erosion of leisure as we pursue promotions, bigger salaries, and conspicuous consumption. Her solution? Hold jobs to a set number of hours per week, offer comp time for any overtime, and lower our living standards. Recommended for academic and public libraries.-- Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
Booknews
How did the American Dream turn into one of those nightmares where we run harder and harder and get nowhere? Schor (economics and women's studies) shows that Americans work the equivalent of a month a year more than at the end of World War II. She traces it to employer demands coupled with unemployment, and the addictive nature of consumption. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
How much leisure time do you have? Think carefully. If you're like most Americans, the answer will be very little. Counting paid employment as well as necessary tasks at home, most people spend upward of 55 hours a week working. Because they still do most of the houswork and childcare, women often work 70, 80 or even 90 hours a week. Why is this when technology should be making our lives more leisurely? Juliet Schor points out several reasons, the main one being that Americans have let themselves be convinced that they need a bigger house, a newer car and a large-screen TV; of course then we need more money to pay for them, which means more work. We are caught in a work-spend cycle like rats on a treadwheel. There is a way out, but it will require a big change in two fundamentally American ethics: work and consumption. Indulging in leisure does not make a person lazy; it has been shown repeatedly that when people work less, there work is more productive. So why are we neglecting our families and killing ourselves? I, for one, am taking a vacation...next year.
—FGP
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465048397
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/1957
  • Pages: 272

Meet the Author

Juliet Schor is associate professor of economics at Harvard University

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