by Josef Pieper (1948). Originally published in German as Musse und Kult. On the importance of leisure, or contemplative celebration or serenity. Citing Aristotle’s “we are not-at-leisure in order to be at-leisure”, Pieper argues that leisure is at the basis of true culture and that Modernity, with its insistence on total work, is forgetting this at its own peril. Today, leisure is only meant to serve as a reprieve from work, to make us more efficient or more creative. Leisure stands opposed to this exclusive ideal of work as social function. Leisure does not exist for the sake of work. It is of a higher order than the world of work. Its justification is not that the worker should function faultlessly and without a breakdown, but that he should be a man (in this sense, leisure is totally opposed to laziness, idleness or sloth). Pieper reminds us of the ancient origin of liberal arts. The Artes liberales are those studies that serve no useful function, that are only justified in themselves – while the artes serviles are those practices that lead to useful knowledge including the sciences, engineering, law, and medicine. The book serves as a wonderful antidote, as a counterpoint, to the attitude to life I, and most of my colleagues and friends, embody but that is so difficult to give up: despite, or possible because, of our vast technological powers, we work more than any other educated people in history!