Tom Hodgkinson

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Tom Hodgkinson
File:Tom hodgkinson.jpg
Tom Hodgkinson at 2009 event, "The Great Escape"
Born 1968
Newcastle, England
Occupation Journalist, author
Nationality British
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge
Period 1993–present
Genre Politics, satire
Literary movement Idling
Notable works The Idler (editor); How to be Idle; How to be Free; The Idle Parent

Tom Hodgkinson (born 1968) is a British writer, and the editor of The Idler, which he established in 1993 with his friend Gavin Pretor-Pinney. His philosophy, in his published books and articles, is of a relaxed approach to life, enjoying it as it comes rather than toiling for an imagined better future. The Idler was originally a series of essays written by Dr Johnson from 1758 to 1760.


Hodgkinson was born in Newcastle, England, and educated at Westminster School and Jesus College, Cambridge, during which time he played the bass guitar in the Stupids-influenced thrash band Chopper. He lived in North Devon until 2013. He currently lives in London.[1]

In the early 1990s, he worked at a Rough Trade Records shop in London, where he had the idea for The Idler.[2] In the late 1990s he became an importer of absinthe.[3]

From 1995 to 1997 he was Joint Head of Creative Development at Guardian Newspapers, where he worked for Carolyn McCall and Alan Rusbridger.

From 1997 to 2002 he and Gavin Pretor-Pinney ran Idle Industries, a creative consultancy with clients such as Channel 4, the Guardian, Sony PlayStation, ad agency Mother, Paramount TV and Oakley.

The pair launched the best-selling Crap Towns series of books.

Hodgkinson has contributed articles to The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian and The Sunday Times as well as being the author of the Idler spin-offs, How To Be Idle, How To Be Free and The Idle Parent.

How to be Idle has been translated into 25 languages and was a best-seller in the UK, US, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic.

In 2006 he created National Unawareness Day, to be celebrated on 1 November.[4]

In March 2011 he and his partner Victoria Hull launched The Idler Academy in London, a school running courses in philosophy, public speaking, grammar, ukulele, singing, drawing, calligraphy, astronomy, foraging, bread baking, bartitsu and small business.[5]

In April 2013 he launched the Idler Academy Bad Grammar Award,[6] and in September 2013 he launched the Ukulele Player of the Year competition. Bloomsbury UK and Bloomsbury US published his and Gavin's book, The Ukulele Handbook.[7]


  • The Idler (periodical: 1993–present)
  • How To Be Idle (2005)
  • How To Be Free (October 2006)
  • The Freedom Manifesto: How to Free Yourself from Anxiety, Fear, Mortgages, Money, Guilt, Debt, Government, Boredom, Supermarkets, Bills, Melancholy, Pain, Depression, Work, and Waste (December 2007; the US release of How to Be Free)
  • The Idle Parent (2009)
  • Brave Old World (2011)
  • The Ukulele Handbook (September 2013; co-written with Vampire Weekend)

See also


  1. "Tom Hodgkinson: Having successfully quit the rat race, I now find myself trying to get back into it". The Independent. Retrieved 20 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Great Escape: Tom Hodgkinson (with Neil Scott)". Retrieved 20 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Tom Hodgkinson. "Review: Hideous Absinthe by Jad Adams - Books - The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "November 1: National Unawareness Day". The Guardian. November 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Matthew Reisz (August 2011). "Truth, beauty... idleness". Times Higher Education.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Just how bad is bad grammar?". BBC News. May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Tom Hodgkinson: 'Jeremy Clarkson howled with horror and crawled under the table to escape'". The Independent. August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links