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This delightful shortish (234 pages) book is a sort of rambling essay on first the development of the seven day week and the two day weekend (which unlike the 365 day year, the 30 day month and the 24 hour day, are not dictated by celestial phenomena) and then on the rise of leisure.

Rybczynski provides many interesting facts: where the names of the days come from; how the Depression led to shorter workdays; that Henry Ford was one of the early advocates of shorter work hours because he foresaw that workers would be better consumers if they had more free time, etc.

It also raises several fascinating arguments: that thanks to automation and specialization in the workplace, most of us probably require greater skills in our leisure pursuits than in our jobs (one inevitably thinks of Chuck's 4 handicap); that the recent increase in folks average hours of work is a result of the rise of leisure, most 40 hour jobs will pay for life's necessities, the increased hours pay for vacation houses, country club memberships, boats, etc..

It all makes for a very diverting & thought-provoking entertainment.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Witold Rybczynski (2 books reviewed)
Witold Rybczynski Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Witold Rybczynski     -WHARTON: Witold Rybczynski   Martin & Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism; Professor of Real Estate
    -Wharton Real Estate Review: published by the Center and edited by Witold Rybczynski (The Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center)
    -EXCERPT: Chapter One: "Tough as Nails"
-ESSAY: The Next New Thing: In architecture, the gulf between the traditional and the modern seems wider than ever before (Witold Rybczynski | June 3, 2024, American Scholar)
    : On Frederick Law Olmsted’s Bicentennial (Witold Rybczynski, March 2022, Hedgehog Review)
-ESSAY: The Unbearable Burden of Invention: A corollary of giving priority to invention is that imitation, once the foundation of creativity in architecture, is banished. (Witold Rybczynski, Hedgehog Review)
    -ESSAY: Building to Last (Witold Rybczynski, March 3, 2021, American Scholar)
    -ESSAY: More Perfect Union of Function and Form: The National Constitution Center, which opened in Philadelphia on July 4, is destined to take its place among the nation's leading public monuments. (WITOLD RYBCZYNSKI, 7/08/03, NY Times)
    -ESSAY: Why We Need Olmsted Again (Witold Rybczynski, Wilson Quarterly)
    -ESSAY: Keeping the Modern Modern: By trying to keep up with the times, the Museum of Modern Art may obliterate its architectural diary of modernism (Witold Rybczynski, The Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: Moving the Bell:  Soon America's most venerated icon will have a new, and more appropriate, home (Witold Rybczynski, The Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: Sounds as Good as it Looks: Sounds as Good as It Looks:  Seiji Ozawa Hall, at Tanglewood,  is modeled on the world's few great concert halls (Witold Rybczynski, The Atlantic)
    -ESSAY: The Virtues of Suburban Sprawl (Witold Rybczynski, Wall Street Journal)
    -INTERVIEW : A conversation with Witold Rybczynski The architect turned author talks about the beauty of the screw (Loren Fox, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of Country, Park & City: The Architecture and Life of Calvert Vaux by Francis R. Kowsky (Witold Rybczynski, NY Review of Books)
    -FORUM: "I Have a Dream" Ideas for Rebuilding American Culture (Policy Review, March-April 1996, Number 76)
    -INTERVIEW: (Booknotes, CSPAN)
    -INTERVIEW: Landscape Artist: A conversation with Witold Rybczynski, whose biography of Frederick Law Olmsted tells a story of nineteenth-century America through landscape architecture (The Atlantic)
    -INTERVIEW: Our Cities, Ourselves An interview withWitold Rybczynski (KERRY MICHAELS,  Home Arts)
    -Biography on Book TV: Biographer Witold Rybczynski (C-SPAN)
    -INTERVIEW: Sitting Down With Witold Rybczynski: The writer and architect talks chairs (Stephanie Bastek | November 27, 2020, American Scholar)
    -REVIEW:  (Suzanna Lessard, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: (David Laskin, Washington Post Book World)
    -REVIEW: Olmsted's glorious wide-open spaces (Craig Whitaker, USA TODAY)
    -REVIEW: On Architecture: The Cultivator by Martin Filler  Frederick Law Olmsted, and what Witold Rybczynski doesn't understand about him. (New Republic)
    -REVIEW : of A CLEARING IN THE DISTANCE: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the Nineteenth Century By Witold Rybczynski (Anthony Bianco , Business Week)
    -ARTICLE: Biographer shows Olmsted's influence in shaping Seattle (Robin Updike, Seattle Times)
-REVIEW: of The Story of Architecture by Witold Rybczynski (Amanda Kolson Hurley, American Scholar)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Interview (The Atlantic)

If you liked Waiting for the Weekend, try:

    -The History of Pi

Boorstin, Daniel
    -The Discoverers

Ferris, Timothy
    -Coming of Age in the Milky Way

Petroski, Henri
    -The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance