How to be Free

date Nov 17, 2007
authors Tom Hodgkinson
reading time 3 mins
  • Book Title: How to be Free
  • Author:Tom Hodgkinson
  • Year written/published: 2006
  • Book Source: Library
  • My Comments: It’s the first of this kind of fun book i’m reading… makes us think about the other side of life. I thought this book really provided a different - alternative to taking life too seriously by reaching out for your career, money, goals, - fighting for time and materials… chill… there’s more to relax and enjoy for.. loved the free spirit of this book.
  • Some extracts:


We have often been told that organisations means efficiency… it would be far truer to say that large organisations are necessarily and by their very nature inefficient because of the endless human chains involved. The small set-ups is more efficient


Belief in the abstract invention ‘career’ is a middle class affliction. The lower orders, wisely, don’t quite have the same faith in progress and self-betterment as the bourgeois classes and neither do members of the aristocracy. The artists are at the top, so they’ve got nowhere to go. Paradoxically, this gives them a humility that is lacking in the successful meritocrats of the middle classes.

reject career…

as an idler and an anarchist, I love people from all classes who are fighting to be free. I love aristocrats, I love the underclass and I love the Bohemian Bourgeoisie (of which I am one). I love the criminals and the drug addicts. If you want to join the elect, the colourful, the creative, it is very very easy. Create your own life. Cast of resentment. Reject the ides of ‘have-tos’. You don’t have to do anything. You have free will. Exercise it.

not enough time…

we also need to abandon the slavish notions that ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’ and ‘i just don’t have enough time’. When we say we don’t have time to do something, what we really mean is ‘I prioritised something else.’… … It is impossible for one person to have less time than another. So, instead of saying , ‘I don’t have enough time, ‘ force yourself to say, ‘I have plenty of time.’ Sometimes words can precede the reality.

consumerism and shopping….

It seems obvious that if we could just extinguish consumer desires and stop shopping, we would get a lot closer to everyday liberty, simply because we wouldn’t have to do so much work. This is not say that one can’t enjoy luxuries, it’s just that we shouldn’t take them seriously as a kind of goal in life. Don’t make luxury into a meaning. The greek philosopher and pleasure seeker Aristippus was well known for his sense of detachment from things. He took pleasures where he found them; he didn’t chase desire. He gathered rather than hunted.


i would abolish retirement altogether. It is an absurd notion: if i enjoy working, then why would i want to retire? In cases where we can simply no longer work, then our own trade should provide us with a living…


self-importance is a trap, because the moment we start to think that we actually matter is the moment when things start to go wrong. The truth is that you are supremely unimportant, and that nothing matters. All of man’s striving is for nothing; all effort is wasted. To realise that everything is meaningless is tremendously liberating, since it then leaves us completely free to create our own loves and ignore the plan other have for us.

live free of supermarkets…

  1. bake your own bread
  2. grow your own vegetables
  3. shop wholesale