Moscow: [Molodaya gvardiya], 1925. 96pp.: tables. 20.3x14.3 sm. In original illustrated publisher’s wrappers by Ruvim Mazel (1890-1967). In good condition. Loss of the small fragment at the lower right corner of the front wrapper, tears of the spine, foxing.
Second enlarged edition. First edition published in 1923. Scarce. Wrapper design by the Soviet artist and graduate of the Munich Academy of Art, Ruvim Mazel (1890-1967).
Dedicated to the problem of time-management, this book was written by Platon Kerzhentsev (1881-1940), one of Proletkult’s leading theoreticians and the founder of the mass social organization “The League of Time” (later The League of Scientific Organization of Labour). The World War I, revolution and civil war had caused a dramatic drop in industrial production in Russia. The situation worsened even further when many workers returned to their native villages in order to participate in the redistribution of the large estates (the general number of workers in industries declined from 2.6 million in 1917 to 1.1 million in 1920). A drastic fall in labor productivity was accompanied by the reduced labor-discipline flowing from the unbearable living conditions during the civil war. With the industrialization underway, the labor effectiveness became a major concern for the authorities.
Against this background, the early 1920s witnessed a proliferation of efficiency-worshipping organizations, among which “The League of Time” (alongside CIT) held particular place. The organization was founded at the initiative of Platon Kerzhentsev in July 1923 and was intended to promulgate NOT (Scientific Organization of Labor) and enforce the socialist time discipline. The League eagerly scolded “tardy embezzlers” of time and unleashed a storm of criticism against lateness and bad organization: NOT, - wrote Kerzhentsev, - teaches how to achieve maximum effect with minimal expenditure of effort and money”. Over the course of time, campaign for efficiency migrated from the realm of production into the larger arena of everyday life: at its height the Time League included some twenty-five thousand members (including Gastev, who later became Kerzhentsev’s main opponent, and Meyerhold who Kerzhentsev vigorously criticized in his work “A Theatre Alien to its People” (1937). Meyerhold’s theatre was shut down a year later) with Lenin and Trotsky as honorary officers. Although the organization was suddenly disbanded in 1926, still “The League of Time” proved to be an important chapter in the study of time-management and selforganization.
This one of the most important books by Platon Kerzhentsev provides an interesting insight into the means of self-organization of the 1920s “new Soviet person” and offers a detailed information on how to achieve labor efficiency in minimal time: “Organizing yourself means developing such methods of work, such a way of life that all your work goes with maximum success” (P.K). The edition consists of three sections: Organize yourself, A Battle for time; How to read a book and, as stated in the introduction is mainly directed at youth. In the first chapter, the author elaborates upon different stages of work organization: creating a plan, defining a goal, setting priorities, matching work with time, documenting results, self-control at the end of the day, organizing a comfortable working/studying environment, etc. In the second chapter, Kerzhentsev pays particular attention to the phenomenon of time, which “we have never appreciated” (P.K) and encourages students to master the sense of time to such extent that they can tell how many minutes they had spent on reading a book without looking at watch. To win the battle for time, the author suggests to minimize a number of holidays throughout the year, to systemize sleeping schedule, to keep
a record of the time one spent or is planning to spent on different activities (with samples included), etc. The final chapter of the edition provides information on the “art” of book and newspaper reading and offers guidelines on how to achieve efficiency in the process.
The book includes Kerzhentsev’s famous article “Vremya stroit aeroplany” [i.e. Time Builds Airplanes] which was published in Pravda on July 18, 1923. The article became a prerequisite to the creation of “The League of Time”.
No copies according to the Worldcat.