Summary of Take Back Your Time

Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America

Berrett-Koehler, more...

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Take Back Your Time book summary
Americans work longer hours than citizens of other industrialized nations. Would you like to just stop and simplify?


8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

5 Style


John De Graaf, a documentary film producer and writer, has collected 30 short articles by various experts on overworked, time-impoverished Americans who lack time for leisure and family life. Having pinpointed the problem, he shows the solutions - alternatives used to give people more leisure time in other industrialized countries. He demonstrates that a more balanced life is more healthy and more productive. De Graaf carefully organized the articles around different themes, beginning with identifying the issue and then showing what to do individually, in the workplace and in society as a whole. While many article collections suffer from being overly academic or repetitive, this collection is targeted to the general reader and the content is quite varied, so it doesn’t feel duplicative, even when writers touch on similar topics. recommends this to all businesspeople, from harried top executives to their overworked assistants. And if you don’t have time to read it, you need it most of all.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How and why Americans are so overworked and have little leisure time;
  • How workers in other countries balance work and leisure; and
  • How to gain more time and balance in your life.


Americans work much more than their peers in Western Europe - generally about nine weeks more each year. They have longer work days and less vacation time. That’s why a new movement called "Take Back Your Time" has developed to raise consciousness about overwork and time poverty...
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About the Author

John De Graaf is co-author of the best-selling book Affluenza and a documentary television producer, who produced the popular PBS specials Affluenza and Running Out of Time. He is the co-chair of the Public Policy Committee for the Simplicity Forum, dedicated to making life simpler, and is the national coordinator for Take Back Your Time Day.

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    John de Graaf et al.

    Berrett-Koehler, 2001


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