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by Alain de Botton

Why do so many of us love or hate our work? How has it come to dominate our lives? And what should we do about it? Work makes us. Without it we are at a loss; in work we hope to have a measure of control over our lives. Yet for many of us, work is a straitjacket from which we cannot free ourselves. Criss-crossing the world to visit workplaces and workers both ordinary and extraordinary, and drawing on the wit and wisdom of great artists, writers and thinkers, Alain de Botton here explores our love-hate relationship with our jobs. He poses and answers little and big questions, from what should I do with my life? to what will I have achieved when I retire? "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work" will not only explain why it is we do what we do all day, but through its sympathy, humour and insight will seek to help us make the most of it.
Download The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Alain de Botton epub
ISBN: 0141027916
ISBN13: 978-0141027913
Category: Business
Subcategory: Business Culture
Author: Alain de Botton
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Books (March 1, 2010)
Pages: 336 pages
ePUB size: 1530 kb
FB2 size: 1510 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 825
Other Formats: rtf doc azw lrf

de Botton's treatment of ten occupational sectors ranging from factory floor to rocket science is a poingant, thought-provoking, often funny and sometimes downright depressing glimpse into the lives of working people, what they do, how they see themselves, and most importantly, offering a way for readers to see them too. At times hopeful and at others cynical, the author observes the work of many during the course of a routine day at the symbolic or actual office, examining both the work being done and those doing it. He artfully describes in poetic detail the nuances of daily life at work, capturing snap-shot after snap-shot of moments in time and labor, which permits the reader to pause and wonder about what may seem to be trivial: who ARE the people involved in the products and services we in the modern world must have?

Just when one thinks he has gone over the top with what sounds like a jaded view, he enters a softer, more philosophical place in which he asks himself AND us: do we really even notice those who work so hard, earn so little, work late hours, or in the case of rocket science, really even understand? As I read, I thought to myself, "I've learned a lot about what rocket science isn't...but I never really stopped to consider what it IS."

His writing style and skillful weaving in and out of the working world and the lives of others is compelling. Just how many hands have played a role in a fish one buys at market? How many of us turn our lights on and off all day and night without ever thinking even once about the men and women who make that magical thing called electricity possible with a simple flip of a switch? Who are the ones who make certain the cookies I buy are neatly arranged in a perfect package at the grocery store--and who are the ones that got it there?

As an artist, I paricularly appreciated that he included a chapter about a painter whose career mostly centered around painting the same grand tree in any number of conditions from seasonal to weather variations, in morning light, late light, and high noon. I could not help but wonder about the richness of such a collection of paintings--a single tree with a thousand-thousand faces (not unlike a single person with a thousand-thousand faces).

I recommend you not read the book in a hurry. Go slowly, Savor it. Ponder it. Turn in over in your mind and heart. Wonder why YOU do what you do, day in and day out, ask if your work brings you joy. If you don't like the answer, perhaps this book will give you the courage to go on and find something more in tune with your soul's purpose in this short life.

Reminds me of Mary Oliver's line: "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
A great success from modern day philosopher Alain de Botton. I read this book while between jobs, and it was incredibly insightful and thought provoking. It makes its readers ask the question "What am I working for, what is the point of work, what do I enjoy and what don't I enjoy?"

While at times the author's viewpoints seem to be a bit... condescending towards the types of modern work that many of us must endure, and perhaps even *enjoy* (accounting, data entry, and other "non-creative" fields), he does a good job of dissecting the modern day job and its place in our lives.

A great read for anyone trying to search for some meaning in their careers and figure out "why am I doing this every day?"
Legend 33
Most of us work for money. That fact was glossed over in this book which instead focused more on the actual work through vignettes of various jobs. Each one captures something unique about the kind of jobs that exist, the people that do them, and how the work contributes (or doesn't) to the world. The book could be a little depressing and the tone mocking at times but nevertheless, I recommend it. It will make you think about the work you do and how it fits into the bigger picture. I wish the author had omitted the summary at the end - something like: work is good because even if it is meaningless, busy work, it keeps us out of trouble and keeps us from thinking about death. That conclusion did not do justice to the words and stories that preceded it. Better to draw your own conclusions.

This guy can write! I kept calling people over and telling them to read this or that sentence - amazing sentences packed with great word choice, meaning, and humor. For example, with respect to tuna killing: "The mallet strikes again. There is a dull sound, that of densely packed brain and experience, shattering inside a tight bony cage, triggering the thought that we too are never more than one hard slam away from a definitive end to our carefully arranged ideas and copious involvement with ourselves." Good, right? Read it. Savor the unique stories of people killing tunas, painting, inventing, accounting, etc. Enjoy the beautiful photos. Some of the stories and images will stay with me, as I ponder the world of work.