Bullshit Jobs

A Theory

Published May 15, 2018 by Simon Schuster.

ISBN:
9781501143311

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5 stars (10 reviews)

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory is a 2018 book by anthropologist David Graeber that argues the existence and societal harm of meaningless jobs. He contends that over half of societal work is pointless, which becomes psychologically destructive when paired with a work ethic that associates work with self-worth. Graeber describes five types of bullshit jobs, in which workers pretend their role isn't as pointless or harmful as they know it to be: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters. He argues that the association of labor with virtuous suffering is recent in human history, and proposes universal basic income as a potential solution.

15 editions

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 …

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