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The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked

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The Joy of Not Working:  A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked- 21st Century EditionReview by Klark J. Perez, Orlando, Florida

Book by Ernie J. Zielinski

“The Joy of Not Working” is a must read in my opinion. It’s an easy enjoyable read that you may not want to put down once you start.

At some point in life you may have been unemployed and you definitely should be looking forward toward how to handle retirement. The author makes you think outside the box about your work ethic, material objects and the value of leisure time. Work is not everything and how can you balance all facets of your life. Have you lost your creativity? Do you still see and approach daily living the same after working hard all these years? Are you following your Bliss? How’s your health in that high-pressure job?

If you keep an open frame of mind when you read this book, (especially if you are used to constantly working or you’re a workaholic) you may come up with some interesting answers to these questions.

Ernie Zielinski’s style of writing is enjoyable; using cartoons, quotations, examples and he even gives you tools to help, such as his Get-a-Life Tree. Let go, and enjoy the book. Like going to see a movie, you should enter the book without any preconceived notions and hear what he has to say, and then decide what’s right for you.

As soon as you start feeling the author is repeating the same ideology from time to time, Zielinski intermixes his exercises, letters from previous readers and challenges, to make you stop and think along the way. Just when you start challenging that his thoughts won’t work for you, he interjects a letter received from a reader that has successfully followed his suggestions.

Leisure time may not be what you think, as it takes some work to achieve the easy life, or as he says the Life of Riley. You’ll be testing your notions about material objects, what is achieving success, and having more items in life than you really need.

I particularly liked his “Easy Rule of Life”, which actually takes a bit of work upfront to have life end up easy later on. Here’s how it goes… do the easy and comfortable thing at the beginning (such as continue to be a workaholic as an escape from other aspects of life, or don’t try to quit smoking) and life ends up being difficult.

On the other hand, do the difficult and uncomfortable decisions (like don’t work as much and indulge in life’s other pleasures besides work, or quit smoking) and life ends up being easy.

The less you work, you overcome boredom, have a more fulfilling life, connect with family, friends and society and might even achieve great things. Obviously if you quit smoking you have achieved a great accomplishment and your health later in years is much better. All of this leads you to a better more fulfilled life, especially in retirement.

Zielinski doesn’t constantly preach to you in this book, but he does make his point of view quite clear that your life should be one of leisure.  Life is not about your work but rather living, laughter, love, venturing onto another path, so many more things than what has been engrained into your upbringing.

As I was reading I could not help thinking of several people that I would like to give a copy of this book too. I even thought of a few that probably would not let themselves go and actually read the authors thoughts, as they have spent too many years as a workaholic and justifying every step of the way.

Ernie Zielinski believes it is not too late to start and maintain a good work to life balance. This book can help you plan now for those later years. Indulge in more leisure time to really reach fulfillment, especially when you do have more time and are not working. You’ll know how to handle it much better. As the author says, become a Leisureholic.

So you say you want statistics and research? The author includes facts and findings from different studies, psychologist and organizations that show you people are not quite prepared for retirement and don’t take leisure time seriously. This book leaves it up to you and it at least makes you think about your life and your future.

Don’t retire from life, find that feeling of freedom and start living now. It will payoff in the end. That’s the message I take from this book. Let me know what you think and hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.

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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

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Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.