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The Joy of Not Working: 21st Century Edition-A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked [Paperback]

Ernie J. Zelinski
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2003
Ernie Zelinski could change your view of the world forever. He has already taught more than 150,000 people what THE JOY OF NOT WORKING is all about: learning to live every part of your life-employment, unemployment, retirement, and leisure time alike-to the fullest. With this completely revised and expanded edition, you too can join the thousands of converts and learn to thrive at both work and at play. Illustrated by eye-opening exercises, thought-provoking diagrams, and lively cartoons and quotations, THE JOY OF NOT WORKING will guide you to:Be more productive at work by working less.Discover and pursue your life'¬?s passions.Gain the courage to leave your corporate job if it is draining life out of you.Pursue interesting leisure activities that make a difference in your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.Vanquish any guilt you may have about not working long and hard hours.Be financially independent with less money.Plus, new to this edition are inspiring letters from readers detailing how the book helped them improve the variety, tone, and quality of their lives.A revised and updated edition of the classic guide to living life to its fullest.Previous editions have sold more than 150,000 copies in 14 languages.

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Product Description

From Booklist

An odd mix of amateur psychology and self-help is offered by this engineer happily and creatively unemployed for 14 years. His clear-as-a-bell message is that making the most of leisure involves knowing yourself inside and outside of work. And that, for most overworked and undersatisfied Americans, amounts to an overwhelming task. To some extent, Zelinski tames the process with a combination of humor, cartoons, quotes from the famous (and the not so), fan mail excerpts, and a host of exercises to try. Explored in depth are the nature of boredom (complaining is one sure sign), the value of work, inner passions and goals, and the potential maleficence of money. None of these thoughts are new; Abraham Maslow, for one, advocated the stages toward healthy humanity. Nor are the statistics, remarks, or observations unique. But the notion of how to enjoy free time is finally geared to a mass market. Barbara Jacobs --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"The message is that leisure, not work, is critical to happiness. . . . Zelinski points out that no one'¬?s dying words have ever included, '¬´I wish I had worked more.'¬? "-Financial Post"Ernie Zelinski helps others find time to live."-Boston Herald"[Is the] key to success and keeping life meaningful."-Contra Costa Times

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful what you wish for... Feb. 26 2002
Mr. Zelinski's book is dangerous stuff. I was warned by the people who recommended the book to me... don't read it unless you are ready to make a change. I bought the book, and managed to pull myself away from my 4 hours of evening television one night last summer. I finished the book, and I've never looked back. Ernie's book helped me to figure out what it is that I am really passionate about. And from the book I gained the courage to leave the Corporate job that was sucking the life from me. I now have a whole list of active, engaging activities from which to choose. No more vegging in front of the tube. No more letting my career be the defining pillar of my life. Do yourself a favor, and read The Joy of Not Working. But be warned, you'll never look at TV the same way again...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe you are working too hard Nov. 28 2005
By Gail H.
This is a fantastic book for anyone who is going to die in the next 100 years. In other words - it is time to wake up and realize that you don't have forever to get a life. If you don't have time today - when will you?
This book will get you thinking about what you really want in life. It might be more than money, stuff and a job title. Maybe you don't have to work quite so hard (according to Zelinski, even 8 hours a day is too much). If you are unemployed or retired maybe you could be enjoying your time more.
I recommend this book to just about anyone. It if full of life changing material, but at the same time is easy to read and entertaining. It is the type of book you will want to read more than once.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful book. March 17 2004
My brother and I just spent a year on a sabbatical. When we were planning our time off, I searched the Internet for ideas and articles on the subject. I came across Ernie's book and went to Amazon to look it up. The description intrigued me and I ordered a copy. I am glad I did! The Joy of Not Working is a very helpful and funny book. The chapters on Zen and Money are my favorite. I have reread them several times. It is full of wit and wisdom with some funny cartoons to keep you laughing. I enjoyed in immensely and recommend it for anyone planning a sabbatical or about to enter retirement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting the Most Out of Your Life Jan. 26 2004
By Sue K
I found The Joy of Not Working a fantastic read. It is full of advice, stories and excercises on bettering the quality of your life. It focuses on valuing your time - nurturing interests and talents that may have been ignored because of society's focus on working hard to make a lot of money. It is inspiring and talks about such topics as: putting money in perspective, getting the most out of your spare time, finding out what is really important to you, enjoying your own company, introspection, not wasting time worrying, along with many other topics. I highly recommend this book for those who feel a bit empty about what mainstream society deems important in life and want to search for a more meaningful life.
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The biggest liability this book has for many still-working American readers is the fact that Americans _must_ work in order to have health insurance. Canada has some sort of 'safety net' free healthcare, making the idea of getting out of the corporate rat race (Whoops! That's offensive to rats - read the book :-) much more of a potential reality for a very wide audience of Canadian readers.
However, as the author points out in an exercise in the book, it is wrong to just come up with one negative comment on an idea and leave it at that. The book's lack of acknowledgement that Americans must work to get health insurance is a substantial flaw, but does not negate the basic points: people are sacrificing leisure for work, in order to buy bigger houses, cars, etc. Or put in a familiar way: 'People buy things they can't afford, to impress people they don't like.' The author is justifiably incedulous to this M.O. that so much of society embraces without question. The author understandably speaks to this issue often, but unfortunately does get on a soapbox at times, making sometimes repetitive arguements.
Note, though, the above comments don't apply for retirees who have retired but find that they end up going back to work because they don't have a clue what to do with themselves. The portions of the book that speak to this issue are the ones that truly shine, most notably his 'thought map' for building a life of leisure, based on different categories of leisure activities.
I would definitely recommend this book to Americans at or near retirement age; still-working Americans might be better off talking this book out of the library. Maybe the book "Your Money or Your Life," recommended by other reviewers, addresses the health insurance issue for us poor Yanks, which, unfortunately, makes the idea of quitting one's dead-end job a non-starter for most Americans.
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By Stephen Pletko TOP 50 REVIEWER
This practical, reliable, and many times humorous guide (first published in 1991) helps you to create a paradise away from the workplace whether you're retired, unemployed, overworked, or just want to alter your lifestyle for the better. But to attain this paradise requires knowing certain principles and these are found in this book.
What makes Canadian author Ernie Zelinski, who has an Engineering degree and M.B.A., an expert in this matter? He was fired from his job at age 29 for taking an unapproved extended vacation. For the next two years, he decided to make his purpose in life happiness without a job. This happiness was attained through leisure and he now calls himself "Doctor of Leisure."
So what will you find in this book? Zelinski explains, "I will share my thoughts about leisure along with a number of my experiences. To give a much broader perspective to leisure, I am not drawing only on my own experiences. A greater part of this book is the result of studying and listening to stories, experiences, and aspirations of other people...This book's format encompasses text, exercises, cartoons, diagrams, and quotations to appeal to the many learning styles that individuals have."
Another aspect of this book is the inclusion of letters from readers. They describe how this book helped them to have a more exciting and rewarding life.
This book is jam-packed with useful information. Here are just ten examples of that information:
(1) "Success in life's adventures doesn't come from having a huge advantage over others...the key is to acknowledge your own talents and use them.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
As I get close to retirement, I really needed this book. So inciteful and inspirational!! Love it! Wish I would have read it a long time ago
Published 14 months ago by Monique Sanche
5.0 out of 5 stars Will be revisiting this book after 18 years
I was caught in a corporate downsizing crunch in the early 90's at age 32. My whole identity was wrapped up in that job and when the carpet was pulled out from under, I was bereft... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2011 by Karen Betzema
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!
A friend sent me this book that coincided with the day I quit my very, very stressful job. After I finished sleeping for a month, I picked up the book and was amazed! Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2010 by Brenda Thompson
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and fun reading
The author repeats himself from his other book about Retiring happy, but, still he has an interesting perspective and writes with an easy and humourous style. Read more
Published on June 14 2010 by D. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars The Joy of Reading Ernie J. Zelinski
Warning: You will see the world and your place in it differently after reading this book. If you want things to stay the same, go bark up another tree. Read more
Published on April 4 2009 by Oliver Luke Delorie
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
I picked up this book just because I liked the title. It wasn't what I thought it would be about, but I was pleasantly surprised when I read it. Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by grumpydan
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful book.
My brother and I just spent a year on a sabbatical. When we were planning our time off, I searched the Internet for ideas and articles on the subject. Read more
Published on March 17 2004 by Steven Page
2.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not worth the price
This book is interesting and had some very good points, but not worth the price I paid. It is more philosophically orientied than practically - bad. Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by Robert R.
5.0 out of 5 stars You Go Ernie!!
I lost my job awhile back when my company relocated. While perusing the Want Ads one Sunday, I noticed an interesting review of this book in the newspaper books section. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by Robin G
5.0 out of 5 stars Living every moment of your life
If your feeling over-worked, under-worked, bored, unsure, tired, depressed- whatever your feeling, Ernie Zelinski just might be able to get you to take a step back. Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2004 by Nuria
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