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The Hedonism Handbook: Mastering The Lost Arts Of Leisure And Pleasure [Paperback]

Michael Flocker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 13 2004
In the age of Oprah, Dr. Phil, and countless other self-help disciplinarians, indulging in any kind of pleasurable pastime is on the brink of extinction. But it's not too late to revive those lost pleasures that make life worth living. The Hedonism Handbook can help put the three-martini lunch, the baguette with real butter, the deep tan, the unfiltered cigarette, or the simple act of lying in a hammock under the stars back within our grasp. A tongue-in-cheek, satirical guide to the "good"life, The Hedonism Handbook will help us reclaim it all.With his characteristic wit, author Michael Flocker combines humorous reviews of historical excesses, suggestions for everyday indulgences, lists of hedonistic icons with famous quotes and earnest warnings about the perils of structured living. Made up of ten worldly wise chapters arranged to form a journey for the reader-a path from the straight-and-narrow into wide-open fields of frivolity-The Hedonism Handbook will help readers master the lost arts of leisure and pleasure. It provides an entertaining, yet (if you're not careful), life-changing read.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Built around the notion that a new wave of self-help puritanism—abetted by the good ol’ American drive toward success and eternal youth—is stifling the nation with "tedious" ideals, Flocker’s campy little volume aims to redirect readers toward a more lofty goal: the pursuit of pleasure. Fans of Flocker’s previous book, the bestselling Metrosexual Guide to Style, will appreciate his clever lists and section titles: e.g. "Top Ten Reasons Big Rats Abandon the Race" and "Looking Good—Buy the Outfit, Screw the Phone Bill." The pages are delightfully laid out, with amusing marginalia and wonderful Victorian-era illustrations, and there are plenty of barbs to keep readers chuckling. For example, writing of May-December relationships, Flocker quips: "The trick, on both sides of the fence, is to feign serious interest." But the book nonetheless feels a bit too weakly espoused. For one, Flocker’s ideas and examples appear grasped-at rather than pondered-on. For another, he’s constantly hedging his argument, always calling for caution and balance in the indulgences he espouses, as though afraid of a backlash from the very forces that he mocks. Flocker’s first book was notable for its dissection of an existing trend; it seems unlikely that his second will spark a new one. That said, this little red book does have its moments of wit, joy and even profundity and, as a novelty gift, it could make a charming nudge to one’s partner in crime.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

The author of the best-selling 'The Metrosexual Guide to Style', 'The Hedonism Handbook', and 'The Fame Game', Michael Flocker lives in New York City.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IN ORDER TO GRASP THE TRUE MEANING OF HEDONISM, IT IS necessary to travel back in time to ancient Greece where the concept was first defined. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book tremendously and it has actually helped me get sane again. This book can serve some use to several target audiences - there's a little bit of history, there's a little bit of advice, an easy read and a lot of fun. I initially bought this book for my hedonist boyfriend, but then I started reading it (I haven't given it to him yet :-)...I recognised my past hedonist self in there. Over the years, I have become a little more obsessed with my career and was increasingly becoming unhappy. This book put a lot of things in perspective. It describes the different kinds of people who would greatly benefit from a good dose of hedonist attitude and recognising my current self among them made me realise that I had put this stress upon myself while it needn't be. There are so many great quotes and words of wisdom and info bits in there, it also makes a great coffee table book for anyone to pick up and enjoy at any random page. He's a few examples: "One symptom of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is incredibly important" - Bertrand Russel; "We must get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us" - Joseph Campbell. I highly recommend this book for all stressed out workaholics in the world!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EUREKA! Nov. 16 2005
By Matt - Published on
This book is exactly what I have been looking for!

I am the type of person who puts a great deal of pressure on myself in all aspects of my life. This obviously results in a heightened level of stress, discomfort and overall disillusionment.

This book will truly debunk those of us who find ourselves constantly rushing so that we may eventually "live the good life". Most of us do this, only to find that it is too late to enjoy it by the time we get there. This book will help you to realize that the good life must be led, in moderation, on a daily basis.

There are plenty of lines in this book that will stun you, as you will realize that you've said that in your own mind, but never heard anyone else say it. The idea is not to be lazy or perverted (as the modern hedonist has come to be known), but to learn to let loose and enjoy your life.

The author takes you through a history or hedonism, from the worlds' greatest and most reknown to the modern laws that attempt to trap the would-be hedonist into a life of self-deprivation and distress.

Wonderful book. This is the best thing I've read in years!
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing book, makes stop and think for a second Nov. 1 2004
By Jan Klier - Published on
I grew up with the notion that hedonism is a bad character trait and has to be avoided at all cost (it even made me hesitate for a moment picking up the book from and checking it out), only to end up in the extreme workaholic, career-chasing crowd of today's America. I picked up the book because I felt something was wrong with the way I was living my life. And it was just the right book for that situation: it examines the silliness we all have put in our life, as well as the misguided puritan and martyrlike behaviors of the other extreme and advocates a way of healthy balance between focusing on what's important in your life, without going over the edge on either end of the spectrum. Well done!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But this book! Oct. 13 2004
By Brian Williams - Published on
Every once and awhile a charming little book comes along that leaves you refreshed, and maybe a bit giddy.

This is such a book, it is one of the best and least expensive vacations I have ever taken. At the end you want to take the author out for a great time just to say thanks. I owe him two because of his last book as well.

Many of my friends will be getting copies this holiday season.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a cure against the rat race ?? May 13 2007
By Franco Arda - Published on
In particular interesting book for people who work 60h+ per week and have no fun. Or people feeling in a mid life crysis. A gem of a book. Some highlights;

o our obsession with dieting (enjoy food, dress well...feel well)
o the mad race about being number one (yes, there are alternatives)
o review on your deadbed (can be a wake up call for some)

Well written and always with 'littel slap on the head' remarks like; if i want it it must be right or life is short, so i must dress well.

I'm finishing now and enjoy with my partner some care-free time, wine, s... and a cigarette ;-)
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this Dec 29 2004
By Karen - Published on
Its way too easy to forget to relax and enjoy life. I'm in college right now and found myself kind of unhappy and I couldnt' really figure out why. When I read this book, it reminded me that life is there to enjoy and that I needed to find some balance. Plus, its fun to read. The author has a good sense of humor about things (and is kinda cute based on the picture in the back, by the way). Just reading the book makes you kind of reevaluate your life and what really makes you happy rather than what you are doing now to make yourself happy. Of course achievement is still important, but its the little things that make life fun and worth living. I had fun reading it, and its probably nto meant to be taken that seriously, but it really did make me think about what makes me feel good.
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