Thoreau's Take on Work-Life Balance

Thoreau's Take on Work-Life Balance

As a transcendentalist, naturalist, and critic of many government policies, Henry David Thoreau sought a lifestyle that maximized contemplation and outdoor exploration. In 1837, he wrote: "The order of things should be somewhat reversed – the seventh should be a man's day of toil...and the other six his Sabbath..." He adopted this one-day work week while living at Walden Pond, and claimed to have worked about six weeks out of the year.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Both Thoreau and Emerson were transcendentalists, prizing the spiritual over the material. (0:49)

  • 2

    Thoreau believed in self-reliance, and strove for both economic and social independence. (2:25)

  • 3

    In 1846, Thoreau spent a night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax in protest of slavery and the Mexican-American War. (4:48)

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