The Usefulness of the Useless by Nuccio Ordine

At the start of July 2020 we have enjoyed one hundred days of lockdown in Britain. This has been ample time in which to fail to re-assess our priorities in life. Already we’re urged to get out and spend, spend in order to re-ignite the big engines of the economy. Economic development, population growth, material production, consumption and rampant consumerism must, and will, be resumed. It’s back to chasing wealth and gaily trashing the planet come what may. No long term lessons about happiness will have been learned.

Happiness studies have shown repeatedly that people with accumulated wealth are less fulfilled than those with little money. How, then, do we explain the glorification of profit and the insatiable quest for riches that pervades our culture? From Hippocrates, Plato, and Seneca to Montaigne and Cervantes, many first rate minds have viewed the love of money as a disease. The destructive lust is not confined to material things. The compulsive acquisition of utilitarian knowledge seems to crush the creative spirit as well. This small, brilliantly argued book champions frivolousness and the enjoyable activities that serve no utilitarian purpose. As Nuccio Ordine ( sees it,  it’s these things that produce art, love, truth, and human dignity. See if you agree with him. It’s now Summer. A Summer which should be ‘enjoyed safely’ according to advice from the British Prime Minister. So, out with the croquet set, darlings. The camomile lawn awaits.

Check if this little gem is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at

176 pages in Paul Dry Books

First published 2017

ISBN  978-1589881167

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Nuccio Ordine

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