Isn’t it weird that some people pay heaps of money to do ‘leisure’ activities that other people ‘have to do’ as their work? Sewing, fishing, hunting, cooking classes, etc, can be classed completely differently depending on whether or not you’re relying on them to provide you the necessities of life.
Is eating work? How about getting sunlight onto our skin? We need these to survive so they probably are work; but this is a totally different way of looking at it.
Other concepts turned on their head in this book are the thinking around ancient hunter/gatherer humans being hunger-ravaged and miserable all the time; and notions around the advent of agriculture ‘freeing’ us from that horrible sounding existence.
Early on, the book points to data suggesting ‘that for 95 per cent of our species’ history, work did not occupy anything like the hallowed place in people’s lives that it does now’ and that in fact early homo sapiens’ needs were very well taken care of with just a few daily hours of work. This is contrasted towards the conclusion with the fact that people now work so hard there are words for ‘death by overwork’ such as the Japanese ‘karoshi’ – and the reader naturally starts to question work as an inevitable occupier of the majority of our lives.
I really enjoyed this book as an interesting journey through biological and cultural evolution. It strengthened my thinking of work (and therefore wealth) as something that should be shared around more evenly; and definitely something that doesn’t need to dominate our precious days on earth.