8The Power of Pleasure

In a nutshell: In the 19th century, the upper classes didn’t tend to work much. As the dowager countess on Downton Abbey asked: “What’s a weekend?”1 It was assumed that increased productivity would mean more leisure. Instead, being busy became a status symbol. Now that’s starting to change, and having control over one’s life and time is the new sign of success.

Pleasure and Leisure

Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher, wrote an essay “In Praise of Idleness,” published in 1935. In it, he laid out his thinking on work and the importance of leisure.2 He saw the Industrial Revolution as a way to reduce the amount of time workers spent laboring and believed that the ultimate goal of technological advancement was to increase ...

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