How to: Stop Working and Start Living – With Josh Cohen

By on March 12, 2019

Psychoanalyst and critic Josh Cohen explores the apathy so many of us feel when faced with the demands of contemporary life, and asks how we might live a different, more fulfilled existence.

More than ever before, we live in a culture that demonizes idleness. Work, connectivity and a constant flow of information are the cultural norms, and a permanent busyness pervades even our quietest moments. Little wonder so many of us are burning out. Can you remember a time in the recent past when you had nothing at all to do?

Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen joins the How to Academy to show us that inactivity is a necessary and creative condition for a life worth living. Drawing on case studies from his consulting room and examples of famous slackers, slobs and daydreamers including Andy Warhol, Emily Dickenson and David Foster Wallace, Josh will argue that true imaginative freedom and flourishing comes not in spite of indifference, withdrawal and slothful indulgence – but because of it.

Whether you’re a banker or portrait painter, research scientist or a homemaker, this talk will inspire you to down tools and focus on what really matters.


Praise for Josh Cohen:

Cohen’s lucid and subtle book exposes something we all know but don’t know how to recognise – that work doesn’t work for most people and that even when it does work it is a refuge from so many other things. Remarkable and timely, NOT WORKING is truly clarifying.
– Adam Phillips

Josh Cohen knows a great deal about the forces that drive and sometimes overpower us… a passionate argument for the benefits of floating free from the chains of work. Scintillating.
– Lisa Appignanesi

An eloquent defence of the necessity of the daydreamer, the artist and the slacker…. Offering the delicious possibility of a world slowly imagined differently and more creatively.
– Maria Balshaw, director of the Tate galleries


Josh Cohen
Josh Cohen is a psychoanalyst in private practice, and Professor of Modern Literary Theory at Goldsmiths University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles on modern literature, psychoanalysis and cultural theory.

His books include How to Read Freud and The Private Life. He has written for Guardian, New Statesman and TLS and appeared on BBC Radio 4.

He lives in London.

How to: Stop Working and Start Living – With Josh Cohen will be held at Portland Hall on Monday 18th of March 2019.

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