Book: How to be free by Tom Hodgkinson

How To Be FreeMr Hodgkinson telling you how to be more free and enjoy life. The tune is more down to earth (and joy!) than a guide to zen-like harmony with your inner and outer aspects of your so highly spiritual life.

What’s it about

It’s about Tom slapping you in the face [a friendly slap, that is] and thus making you think for a while about the world and how you live in it. It’s about how to live more freely in a society where everything seems to be based on consumption. Many examples and situation and many more thoughts around them.

About that the system we’re living in isn’t solid proof. People create the system with their own actions.

First impressions

For first, there’s a good sense of humor in the book and that’s good because being more joyful and happy is also the message here.

I also had some mixed feelings on this; at the same time I agree on many things and feel those solutions he gives are basically OK, but also sometimes I feel the world has been, intentionally or not, watched through some naive goggles.

Still I feel this is a book everyone should read. It’s easy to get lost in a world where the pace is often ‘run’. Maybe the biggest achievement this book has is that it points out the value of things really worth for and unveils the curtain of false satisfaction some behavour [like over consuming and joyless protestant way of an attitude towards life] can give you.

The chapter by chapter format is nice. I read it through couple of chapters per night.

Possible inspirations

  • Stress less about things you don’t have.
  • Makes you ponder the things what are really valuable in life. There’s nothing too spiritual in Tom’s thoughts, more like “Do you want to live kicking and screaming from birth to death, or would you rather laugh and show you bottom to those who wrinkle their forehead all the time?”. Why to punish yourself all the time from nothing.
  • State of things is always a result of the things in the past.

Possible turn downs

  • Like I said, there are some things and ideas that may sound a bit odd. I don’t know if they are only meant as provocative or does the writer really mean them. I think Hodgkinson sounds smarter than the latter option.
  • Sometimes I feel that Tom tries to justify drinking and smoking with his philosophy. Also there’s no mentioning about exercising in this book, except just one: gyms are  bad for people. Which I feel is a bit lame expression about the subject.
  • Not everyone can grow their own vegetables and collect wood from the forest [there’s just too much people and too much living in the city]. But, I enjoy an occasional gardening and can underwrite the idea that it reliefs anxiety and can give you a peaceful mind. But still, I wouldn’t have time to watch over a kitchen garden.

Some things from the book

  • One creates his own chains.
  • Nice look into history giving us some thoughts why we are in this mess.

For who?

To people who sense there’s something wrong with the system and want to hear more thoughts about the subject. Basically to all, but sadly I know there are people out there who consider this kind of thinking as some kind of liberal hippie thing.

Other reading from the author:

How To Be Idle
The Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, Work, and Waste
The Idle Parent


Wikipedia article about Tom Hodgkinson
The Idler website

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