Bullshit Jobs

A Theory

hardcover, 333 pages

English language

Published Oct. 7, 2018 by Allen Lane.

ISBN:
9780241263884

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5 stars (37 reviews)

Be honest: if your job didn't exist, would anybody miss it? Have you ever wondered why not? Up to 40% of us secretly believe our jobs probably aren't necessary. In other words: they are bullshit jobs. This book shows why, and what we can do about it.

In the early twentieth century, people prophesied that technology would see us all working fifteen-hour weeks and driving flying cars. Instead, something curious happened. Not only have the flying cars not materialised, but average working hours have increased rather than decreased. And now, across the developed world, three-quarters of all jobs are in services, finance or admin: jobs that don't seem to contribute anything to society. In Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber explores how this phenomenon - one more associated with the Soviet Union, but which capitalism was supposed to eliminate - has happened. In doing so, he looks at how, rather than producing …

15 editions

Of particular interest to both academics and Fortune 500 middle management.

5 stars

Political and economic philosophy is a dangerous subject to write. Your words will have a natural target audience. Fail to properly shade your text to your audience and your book will end up in (large) piles in a discount book warehouse. Or, in the age of digital books, with a 7-digit rank in the overall store...

Fortunately for the readers of this book, Graeber's commentary is equally caustic towards the movement conservative, the country club liberal, and even the well-meaning but slightly sanctimonious social democrat. The central thread of this work, which builds on an earlier essay that he published, is that regardless of whether you speak of the public sector, the academy, or private industry, the desire to build fiefdoms and heirarchies in the workplace give rise to the proliferation of meaningless jobs that are as damaging to the mental health of their incumbents as they are wasteful.

I …

J’ai tagué ce livre « Coup De Cœur » sur mon blog. Il me faudrait créer une étiquette « Indispensables ».

5 stars

Ce livre fait partie de ceux qui changent votre vision du monde ou qui corrigent ce que vous croyez savoir.
Le précédent livre m’ayant fait cet effet est « Tout sur l’économie (ou presque) ».

Avant de lire cet essai : * Je savais que des « jobs à la con » existaient, mais je pensais que c’était un peu anecdotique * Je croyais les « bullshit jobs » beaucoup plus répandus dans la fonction publique et les grosses administrations. * Je ne connaissais pas suffisamment les racines historiques, religieuses de la « valeur » ou des « valeurs » que l’on accorde au travail * Je croyais à la fable de l’efficience du capitalisme

Et bien cet essai : * S’appuie sur des témoignages pour illustrer son propos. Mais même une foule de témoignages n’est pas une preuve. Alors justement…
* Trouve des preuves de ce qu’il avance …

Ammettere l'esistenza di lavori del cavolo è un taboo

5 stars

Saggio dell'antropologo anarchico David Graeber. Il libro affronta a mo' di testo argomentativo come più della metà dei lavori della nostra società siano senza senza senso e/o frustranti. Per farlo l'autore riporta testimonianze e dati raccolti da un campione di persone che hanno risposto al suo sondaggio. Consigliatissimo, soprattutto per le prospettive nuove e stimolanti.

Review of 'Bullshit jobs : a theory' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

My first intro to Graeber. The book is poignant, funny, and well-argued, tying together anthropological, economic, and political theory into a satisfying web of connected ideas about labor, value, and human happiness. I'm not surprised that a lot of readers got mad because they were expecting a libertarian lambasting of government regulation of markets; I, for one, was pleasantly surprised at how well-situated his argument was in anarchism, marxism, and feminism.

Review of 'Bullshit Jobs' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

David Graeber presents his theory - that an alarming number of jobs in western society (37-40% at least) are made up just to waste time or fill space, for various reasons. Each chapter digs a little deeper into these reasons, from the overcomplexity of western capitalist systems, to a puritanical attitude toward work (and suffering) being humanity's lot. Finally, he puts forward ideas on what can be done about this. This is all presented with Graeber's artistically analytical eye, his fierce political views, and his wry sense of humour.

Bullshit Jobs was Graeber's final book, which is a pity as it feels like it's building up to a crescendo. He observes western society as an anthropologist, unapologetically making sweeping statements, but using interview and survey as means to reinforce his theory. And it is very convincing. Few people who read this book would fail to identify with some of what …

Review of 'Bullshit Jobs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I wish I could go back in time and give this book and Tom Hodgkinson's "How to Be Idle" to my 27-year-old self. It would have opened my eyes to what was going on with me and my career at the time. I was pretty miserable after a few dead-end jobs, and starting to despair. Hodgkinson would've shown me I wasn't alone and I wasn't broken. This book would've shown me exactly where the working world WAS broken, and why I was having such a hard time with it. Sadly, neither book was available back then.

The main question of this book is "Why aren't we all working 15-hour weeks, as we were promised in the 1930s?" The answer Graeber finds is that we absolutely could be, but because of some unfortunate political and cultural choices made by society in the 20th century, 94% employment was taken as the greatest …

Review of 'Bullshit Jobs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

J’avais envie de lire depuis un moment ce livre, tiré du célèbre article du même auteur sur les « bullshit jobs » (les jobs à la con) qui avait fait beaucoup de bruit à l’époque de sa parution.

J’ai beaucoup aimé cet ouvrage, qui aborde frontalement une réalité vécue par beaucoup. Je dois tout de même avouer avoir survolé certains chapitres, en particulier les derniers. Non pas que leur contenu ne soit pas intéressant, bien au contraire, mais ils sont plus théoriques que les premiers et comme je m’interroge beaucoup depuis un moment sur mon rapport au travail, et à mon travail actuel en particulier, j’avais peur d’y retrouver de trop près mes préoccupations actuelles. Manque de courage peut-être, mais je suis persuadé que je reviendrai vers ce livre pour une lecture plus approfondie quand je m’y sentirai prêt.

Review of 'Bullshit Jobs' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Sooooo disappointed in this book after Graeber's excellent Debt: The First 5000 Years.

While I do believe there are bullshit jobs, and those that harm or subtract value from society, I found his analysis fuzzy, arguable, and to be honest, sloppy and way too tied to Marxist and elitist arguments as to value, labour, and capitalism. I felt the subjective definition of a BS job to be way too fuzzy, though ultimately I think he's on to something about the fact we should all be working less, there are many roles that adds little value (if not harming society), and there needs to be recognition of this, I felt this was shoddy. His assertion that work of value in undervalued compared to work that he says provides none lacks deeper analysis (imho).

However, I do think he is onto something in our need to decouple livelihood from work. While he …

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