A revolutionary new history of humankind through the prism of work, from the origins of life on Earth to our ever-more automated present
‘A fascinating exploration that challenges our basic assumptions of what work means’
Yuval Noah Harari
‘One of those few books that will turn your customary ways of thinking upside down’
The work we do brings us meaning, moulds our values, determines our social status and dictates how we spend most of our time. But this wasn’t always the case: for 95% of our species’ history, work held a radically different importance.
How, then, did work become the central organisational principle of our societies? How did it transform our bodies, our environments, our views on equality and our sense of time? And why, in a time of material abundance, are we working more than ever before?
There is eminently underlinable stuff on most pages . . . Fascinating * The Times * For too long, our notions of work have been dominated by economists obsessed with scarcity and productivity. As an anthropologist, James Suzman is here to change that. He reveals that for much of human history, hunter-gathers worked far less than we do today and led lives of abundance and leisure. I've been studying work for two decades, and I can't remember the last time I learned so much about it in one sitting. This book is a tour de force -- Adam Grant, bestselling author of 'Give and Take' and 'Originals' A groundbreaking history of work, which exposes the productivity-at-all-costs mindset to strike a blow at the myth of the economic problem. I learned something new on every page -- Grace Blakeley Brilliant ... I thought I had read enough by now to know what work is and why we so often feel compelled to work - but I was wrong -- Danny Dorling Automation of all kinds looms on the horizon. Luckily, James Suzman is here with a revelatory new history that makes a persuasive case: that human industry can light a path forward, even in a future where we're put out of work by our own inventions -- Charles Duhigg Chronicles how much humankind can still learn from the disappearing way of life of the most marginalised communities on earth -- Yuval Noah Harari on 'Affluence without Abundance' Elegant and absorbing ... Rich with ethnographic detail, stylish, perceptive, compassionate and, ultimately, tragic -- Financial Times on 'Affluence without Abundance'
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?