BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS: The Evolution of Work
Observing the growing number of frazzled, drained and dissatisfied workers in today's workplace, Financial Times journalist Donkin recalls the wisdom of noted psychologist Abraham Maslow: "to do some idiotic job very well is certainly not real achievement." He then asks how we have arrived at the point where The Dilbert Principle is one of the world's most popular business books. In his quest to show that cubical cynicism and alienation from one's work are comparatively recent phenomena, Donkin cuts a wide swath through economic and social history. Ranging from Stone Age butchering of livestock in Germany to Abraham Darby's 1709 development of the coking forge (which Donkin believes was the inception of the job "as a constant source of employment and income packaged by the parameter of time"), he brings an engaging spirit of curiosity and an encyclopedic bent to his study. Donkin charts the age-old conflict between the employer 's need to develop a worker as a productive resource versus the urge to control and restrict the worker's contribution, arguing that the latter tendency lies at the root of the current workplace malaise. Yet he is optimistic, viewing new business models of self-management as opportunities to acknowledge workers' value, redefine attitudes toward work and to recalibrate work and leisure in a manner that makes life worth living. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (May 14)
Forecast:Major advertising (in the New York Times Book Review, theWall Street Journal, the London Times and many other publications) and an author tour could stimulate significant sales of this provocative and informative book, if it gets the review attention it deserves.