Sunday, 16 Dec 2018

Triathlons, ultramarathons and ambitious baking: why is modern leisure so competitive?

Everything from reading to swimming to cooking can now be tracked or optimised. What is this quest for perfection doing to our free time?

If you spend much time mooching around the internet, you will probably have come across articles on sites such as Quartz and Forbes called things like “17 habits of highly successful people”. Life hacks of the rich and famous have become the capitalist equivalent of the tales of hardworking coal miners that were once impressed upon Soviet schoolchildren.

Invariably, these people wake up at 4.30am; Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, does so at weekends, too, so as not to fall out of whack with his weekdays. Unfailingly, they make time for exercise: Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, goes for a hike every Saturday before spending his Sundays reflecting on long-term strategy. Presumably, it was from such contemplative heights that he hit upon his recent scheme to remove the “like” button.

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