Wage Slave’s Glossary – coming soon!

By: Joshua Glenn
August 17, 2011

In September 2008, Mark Kingwell and I published The Idler’s Glossary (Biblioasis), which offered a serious yet playful defense of idling as the most divine way of life. Our little philosophical book, which was wittily illustrated by Seth, received some very nice reviews:

“Fulminates most entertainingly against labour and industrial amusement, pays happy respect to its guiding spirits Lin Yutang and Henry Miller, gambols gaily in etymological thickets, and poses crucial questions for further research.” — The Guardian

“A utopian book, one that goes beyond the duality of work versus nonwork, beyond leisure activity and slacker cynicism to try to reach a Zen-like ideal of idleness. While the book is tongue in cheek, its irreverent approach to the centrality of work in our daily lives may resonate more deeply in light of recent economic events.” — The Los Angeles Times Book Review’s Jacket Copy blog

“A worthy tome, illustrated by the stupendously talented Seth” — Boing Boing

“A vocabulary-expanding manual for the bootless, malingering and lotus-eating types among us.” — The New York Times‘ ArtsBeat blog

“This little book explains — nay, argues — for the moral superiority (over work, slacking and even leisure time) of idleness.” — The Washington Post Book World’s Short Stack blog

“Though constructed as a glossary it’s essentially a manifesto.” — Utne Reader’s Great Writing blog

[more reviews below]


This September, Mark and I will publish The Wage Slave’s Glossary (Biblioasis); in fact, it’s available for pre-ordering now! This little philosophical book, which is also wittily illustrated by Seth, again tackles such phenomena as work, labor, leisure, freedom, and the good life. Instead of singing the praises of idling, this time around we criticize and analyze what the Lowell Mill Girls were the first to name wage slavery, not to mention what Mark calls the work idea itself. Putting down our Gimlets, we train a gimlet eye upon the ideology of working (as reflected in, e.g., management trends, white-collar culture, the history of industrial capitalism, and popular music) which helps make our screwed-up social order appear natural, inevitable, and eternal.

Stay tuned! We’ll let you know about events, reviews, and more as the situation develops. In the meantime, place your pre-order now.



“A playful little volume that traces the history and etymology of hundreds of idler-specific terms and phrases, and attempts to set the record straight on the benefits of idle hands.” — New Hampshire Public Radio’s show “Word of Mouth”

“An odd and beautiful book, The Idler’s Glossary imagines an alternate world where free time is valued as much as cubicle time. We need to be idle more often, need to have time to read and ponder, so that we can dream up better worlds instead of just living in this crappy one.” — io9, Gawker Media’s science fiction blog.

“With a trim size perfect for fitting into your pocket to read during a long day of non-work at the park, The Idler’s Glossary is your terminological introduction to how best to kill time.” — Dwell

“Rich fare for lean times.” — Katherine A. Powers, The Boston Globe

“A great pleasure and a great read.” — Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler

“Who better to offer sage advice about post-hypercapitalist living than two lifelong experts on idling, goldbricking, scrounging, dawdling, quitting, napping, mooching, laying about, and dreaming?” — Fantagraphics Books’ blog, FLOG!

“The current economic climate might induce worried people to work harder and longer than ever before, but as this delightful and compact volume shows in alphabetical order, perhaps we’ve got it all wrong.” — Sarah Weinman


PS: Note that the two books together would make a terrific gift package for all those angsty wage slaves and would-be idlers in your life! The holidays are right around the corner…

Poster by Joe Alterio.


Idleness, Kudos

What do you think?

Comments are closed.