Top Ten

Nonfiction

Not all of these are exclusively about work, but what they do say about it is important either in a historical sense as to how the past has shaped the present (Democracy in America, The Human Motor, Voltaire’s Bastards) or in a practical sense in regard to living a fulfilling life which will contribute to a better work experience (The Conquest of Happiness).  The rest are more obviously about work and will be interesting to anyone desiring a better understanding of Corporate Culture, technocrats, the history of working men and women and the decline of genuine leisure in modern society.

  1. Leisure, the Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper
  2. Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West by John Ralston Saul
  3. Of Time, Work and Leisure by Sebastian De Grazia
  4. The Importance of Living  by Lin Yutang
  5. “Strength Is Ignorance; Slavery Is Freedom: Managing Culture In Modern
    Organizations,” by Hugh Willmott, Manchester School of Management, UMIST, Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 30, Num 4, 1993, pp. 515-542.
  6. Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel
  7. Democracy in America by Alexis de Touqueville
  8. “The Working Day,” Chapter 10 in  Capital: A Critique of Political Economy: Volume 1by Karl Marx
  9. The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work by Joanne B. Ciulla
  10. Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life by Joe Robinson

More good books and articles in no particular order.

  • The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisureby Juliet B Schor
  • Tuesdays with Morrie  by Mitch Albom
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death  by Neil Postman
  • The Oxford Book of Work  Edited by Keith Thomas
  • The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell
  • A Great Place to Work:  What Makes Some Employers So Good (And Most So Bad) by Robert Levering
  • Life is a Miracle; An Essay Against Modern Superstition, by Wendell Berry.
  • The Human Motor: Energy, Fatigue, and the Origins of Modernity  by Anson Rabinbach
  • Waiting for the Weekend by Witold Rybczynski
  • “Is This Any Way to Train a Doctor: Medical residencies: the next health-care crisis,” by David Ewing Duncan, Harper’s, Vol. 286, No. 1715, April 1993, pp. 61-66.
  • Chaos on the Shop Floor: A Worker’s View of Quality, Productivity, and Management by  Tom Juravich
  • Empty Promises:  Quality of Working Life Programs and the Labor Movement,by Donald M. Wells
  • Working and Thinking on the Waterfrontby Eric Hoffer
  • In Praise of Idleness and Other Essaysby Bertrand Russell
  • The Sane Societyby Erich Fromm
  • Orbiting The Giant Hairball:  A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Graceby Gordon MacKenzie
  • Technics and Civilizationby Lewis Mumford
  • If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Businessby Tom Morris
  • The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate Americaby David Whyte
  • Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbookby Scott Adams

Fiction (in progress)

These are not necessarily exclusively about work, but all of them have subplots or themes that relate to some aspect of work, corporations, corporate culture, bureaucracy, technocracy, etc..  They are in no particular order and suggestions are welcome.

  • The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson
  • Fahrenheit 451  by Ray Bradbury
  • “The Door in the Wall”(a short story)  by H.G. Wells
  • The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Howards End by E.M. Forster
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

Movies (in progress)

These are not necessarily exclusively about work, but all of them have subplots or themes that relate to some aspect of work, corporations, corporate culture, bureaucracy, technocracy, etc.  They are in no particular order and suggestions are welcome.

  • Haiku Tunnel
  • Office Space
  • The Hudsucker Proxy
  • Wallstreet
  • Brazil
  • Next Stop Wonderland
  • The Matrix
  • Modern Times
  • Being John Malkovich
  • About Schmidt
  • Human Resources (French with English subtitles)
  • Glengary Glenross
  • Jerry McGuire
  • Working Girl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *