Bullshit Jobs

Bullshit Jobs

A Theory

Book - 2018 | First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
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" 'Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?' David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative online essay titled On the Phenonmenon of Bullshit Jobs. He defined a bullshit job as 'a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence, even though as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.' After a million views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. . . . Graeber, in his singularly searing and illuminating style, identifies the five types of bullshit jobs and argues that when 1 percent of the population controls most of a society's wealth, they control what jobs are 'useful' and 'important.' . . . Graeber illustrates how nurses, bus drivers, musicians, and landscape gardeners provide true value, and what it says about us as a society when we look down upon them. Using arguments from some of the most revered political thinkers, philosophers, and scientists of our time, Graeber articulates the societal and political consequences of these bullshit jobs. Depression, anxiety, and a warped sense of our values are all dire concerns. He provides a blueprint to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture, providing the meaning and satisfaction we all crave."--Jacket.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781501143311
Branch Call Number: 306.361 GRA 2018
Characteristics: xxvii, 333 pages ; 24 cm

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dirtbag1
Sep 29, 2018

Prof. Graeber is admittedly an anarchist and probably puts too much confidence in mans' character to do the morally right thing if only left to his own free will. An anarchist society is like playing baseball without a rule book and umpires. Still he offers a great deal in this book. If I collected books this one would be in my collection. Also includes surprisingly interesting endnotes and a decent bibliography. His book ends extolling the virtues of a guaranteed basic income ala Guy Standing. If you could keep the banksters away there might be something to this.

m
Mrrwmix
Aug 27, 2018

The book regularly alternates between being hilarious, insightful, and depressing. The subject matter is easy to relate to, and its accompanying historical precedence is interesting. It can make you feel hopeless, though. After reading this, the terms and definitions from the book pop up in my head all the time when doing meaningless work for higher-ups. Highly recommend!

d
dirtbag
Aug 15, 2018

Couldn't read it to the end, but may try again in the winter. I found it to be too negative and curmudgeonly for a summer read. I think he has a point though, and the current state of work where everyone subcontracts, has no benefits and has little control over their working life makes me glad that I am not at the beginning of my working career.

s
sarawolfe2010
Aug 08, 2018

I would never read a book with this title. How pathetic.

w
WiebeSandra
Aug 08, 2018

Never shows you new, non-bullshit jobs. Only criticizes and shows a negative light on jobs all around.

SCL_Justin Jun 05, 2018

The book version of David Graeber's widely circulated essay "On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs" https://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/ is a great analysis of the kinds of work people do in late-stage capitalism and why so many people are destroyed by it.

To be clear, the jobs Graeber is discussing (using many testimonies of people who'd read the original essay) are the kinds of jobs that are pointless and usually well-paid. Our insane society has determined that people whose work has a social benefit should not get paid well for it (eg. teachers) and people whose work has no benefit should be paid stupidly well (eg. investment bankers).

He spends a good chunk of the book delineating the types of work that could be considered bullshit and then goes into the systemic reasons why capitalist society tolerates the situation. Though there is an indication of one possible remedy to this situation near the end of the book, Graeber states that this isn't a book about policy, but about delineating a problem, and one that both capitalists and Marxists (for different reasons) often deny exists.

It's a great, clearly written book and is a great window into some radical ideas about economics.

s
StarGladiator
May 25, 2018

Fascinating read, especially the final Notes section.
Truly, anthropologists Joseph Tainter and David Graeber lead the way in the Western Hemisphere at present (am too ignorant to claim the entire planet).

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