Work Less, Live More


239 pages
ISBN 0-385-25654-X
DDC 158.7






Reviewed by Moira Harris

Moira Harris is a freelance science writer in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Paula Brook recently underwent a major life transition. The former
editor-in-chief of Western Living magazine gave up her demanding
executive position in order to seek a happier, more balanced life.
Brook’s dissatisfaction with her role as a harried, multitasking
worker–parent–partner will resonate with many readers. Her aim in
writing Work Less, Live More was to formulate solutions for working
women overwhelmed with juggling their different roles. Testimonies from
women who have radically altered their working lives are interspersed
with tips on how the reader could effect such a change for herself.

The book is in part an examination of the nature of work. The nature of
work is changing, but for women many things remain the same, in
particular the difficulty of combining work and home responsibilities.
There is a continuing expectation (the reasons for which Brook does not
examine) that child care for working parents is a woman’s, not a
man’s, issue. While her observations are rarely original, Brook brings
together the findings of diverse writers and researchers concerning
work, the workplace, and jobs as they relate to women and families.

A major problem with this book is its limited target audience. The vast
majority of female workers occupy positions that provide low wages and
little satisfaction; their income is, nonetheless, essential. For them,
quitting is simply not an option. Two of Brook’s suggestions for
reducing the family budget to compensate for the loss of
income—selling a second home and giving up $160 shoes—are insulting.
Working from home is a viable option only for a select few. Brook
mentions in passing workers who can neither quit nor negotiate
flexibility, but the advice she offers them—that they at least think
about change—is cursory and inadequate. Stressed-out executives may
find inspiration in this book. Others readers will enjoy Brook’s
entertaining writing style, her obvious enthusiasm for her subject, and
the interesting bibliography and useful list of resources she provides.


Brook, Paula., “Work Less, Live More,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 20, 2024,