People in Thailand smile - a lot. They are happy. "We do not believe in this work-hard, play-hard mentality. Our fun is interspersed throughout the day" one Thai tells Weiner. They also intersperse their fun throughout the year taking bits of time off here and there, rather than working like crazy to get their one-week vacation.
Americans should really take more time off. I think we would be happier. The Take Back Your Time movement "is a major U.S./Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment." Recently they have begun working on a legislative bill, the Paid Vacation Act, that would guarantee minimun vacation for all workers who work over 25 hours per week. Everyone should be able to take time off now and then. We are not a free country if people are not free from work occasionally. I think the Thais have the right idea, too. We should take enough time to have a week or two off for a family vacation, and also occasionally have a three day weekend. The book Time Shifting: A Revolutionary Approach to Creating More Time for Your Life by Stephan Rechtschaffen makes a good case for this.