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Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber
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Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (edition 2019)

by David Graeber (Author)

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4901435,941 (4.03)3
" 'Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?' David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative online essay titled On the Phenomenon 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.… (more)
Member:Htom_Sirveaux
Title:Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
Authors:David Graeber (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2019), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
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Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

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» See also 3 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
David Graeber is very smart, he knows it, and he wants you to know it too, but I'm totally okay with that because I am very persuaded by his arguments. ( )
  KimMeyer | Sep 8, 2020 |
A thought-provoking book about the `bullshit` jobs, about their origin, why they`re around and proliferating and what we should do against them. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Jul 9, 2020 |
“Provisional Definition: a bullshit job is a form of employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee can not justify its existence.”

There are five basic types: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickets, and taskmasters.

A funny, scathing, knowledgeable ramble about the proliferation of unnecessary jobs and the effect of working in such jobs on their holders. ( )
  dmturner | Jun 29, 2020 |
Put this at the top of your non-fiction reading list.

It is SO relatable, and why so many jobs are hell. Although everybody wants more jobs, Graeber points out that up to 50% of existing jobs are largely unnecessary, and that working unnecessary jobs is soul-crushing. Or "spiritual violence," as he calls it. He weaves in ~60 people's personal stories to break it down, and those stories are what really make this an excellent book.

I think this is something we've got to take on, and he hits it right on the head.

That said, you can skip the last 1/3rd of the book. He veers hard into the academic worlds of philosophy, marxism, Foucault, etc, etc. It gets a little dicey trying to follow what he's trying to say at times. What's buried in that last section is basically:
1. He's pointing out a problem, but that doesn't mean he has the solution.
2. Universal Basic Income might be one way of dealing with it, but maybe not.

( )
  mitchtroutman | Jun 14, 2020 |
I finished this book in the context of a pandemic that bears out the theses of this book. Most people who have bullshit jobs have been sent to work from home (this does not mean everyone who is currently working from home has a bullshit job, to be clear). There is a wider conversation about essential industries and who is an essential worker and how we should compensate with hazard pay those whose work is considered essential. The government is planning to send out a universal stimulus check for lost wages due to pandemic conditions. There may never be a normal again to which we might return.

The first half of the book is very repetitive, the central argument having been laid out and then explained and re-explained and then given specific examples, interviews, etc. etc. etc. I dropped the book for over a year because the repetition left me feeling like I didn't need further explanation.

However, if you were going to do that, DON'T! You'd miss out on an amazing chapter, Chapter 8, on the origins of wage labor, the anthropology of work as a mixture between Northern European guild-era feudalism and the arrested development of the toiling class after the corporation became a fixture of the economy. If the book had lead with that chapter, it would have felt a little less folksy but would have given a frame to understand the changing course of labor, how much things have changed, and how we got to where we are. It's really brilliant and enlightening, it's a shame to have it tucked in towards the end.

There is also a compelling case for universal basic income in the final chapter, which is actually just a compelling case for universal benefits more than UBI. ( )
  magonistarevolt | Apr 24, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Graeberprimary authorall editionscalculated
Litman, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vogel, SebastianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To anyone who would rather be doing something useful with themselves.
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In the spring of 2013, I unwittingly set off a very minor international sensation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Phenomenon 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.

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