Features

Book review: Meaningless work

Book review: Bullshit Jobs: A TheoryA thought-provoking work even if it doesn't quite live up to its title.

898-Bullshit-100

Published by Allen Lane, £20

Buy at Amazon

Think your job is pointless and a waste of time? You might be right. In 2013, David Graeber, a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, wrote an essay wondering why, despite promises of great material wealth and leisure, we all seemed to be so busy with what seems like pointless work. The essay went viral and has now been expanded into this book.

But this is not a book for the fastidious, says David Goodhart in The Sunday Times. "There is no intellectual precision and there are almost no facts beyond obviously false anecdotal ones." Even the people who contacted him with accounts of their work, which form the backbone of the text, "come across as clever people bored with their work" rather than people in employed in "bullshit jobs".

"It is hard to imagine companies around the world have quietly conspired to subdue the mob by creating or paying for mountains of meaningless work," agrees Pilita Clark in the Financial Times.

Indeed, some of the "mind-boggling" stories of corporate waste that he has sourced from his contributors are "sometimes difficult to believe". Still, this remains a thought-provoking work "that captures the imagination and deserves our attention".

Most Popular

Are we heading for another bond market tantrum?
Government bonds

Are we heading for another bond market tantrum?

The last time the US central bank tried tightening the purse strings, the bond markets threw a tantrum. With yields now rising, could we be about to s…
25 Feb 2021
Expect more turbulence as the market calls central bankers’ bluff
Stockmarkets

Expect more turbulence as the market calls central bankers’ bluff

With bond yields climbing and stockmarkets sliding, markets are hoping central bankers will step in again to repress interest rates – but that won’t …
26 Feb 2021
Invest in water and provide a buffer against future pandemics
Soft commodities

Invest in water and provide a buffer against future pandemics

Global water shortages have long hampered growth and development, and climate change has exacerbated the problem. Will the coronavirus pandemic be a t…
25 Feb 2021