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  • Work

  • A History of How We Spend Our Time
  • By: James Suzman
  • Narrated by: Matt Jamie
  • Length: 11 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary new history of humankind through the prism of work, from the origins of life on Earth to our ever-more automated present. 

The work we do brings us meaning, moulds our values, determines our social status and dictates how we spend most of our time. But this wasn't always the case: for 95 percent of our species' history, work held a radically different importance. 

How, then, did work become the central organisational principle of our societies? How did it transform our bodies, our environments, our views on equality and our sense of time? And why, in a time of material abundance, are we working more than ever before?

©2020 James Suzman (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Work

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book but not really about Work

Overall the book is OK but the title is a bit misleading. It is more like a Deep History like 'Selfish Gene' or Sapiens

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Thoughtful enquiry into the history of work

Suzman has researched his subject well. The story is a mix of anthropology, sociology, biology, history, science & politics. There are no easy concusions, but plenty of food for thought.

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From werk to Work to werk - Again

Chaps/Comrades: This is, without any doubt in my mind, the best book I have ever listened to, and Read: on this fascinating topic. Throughout the history of the Human Species. ... WORK .... Energy, Entropy/Negative entropy, Civilisation, in it's myriad forms. And the Eras/Generations dominated by innovation but also human destructiveness.

Even though it deserves - the very widest of readership - this Work will probably receive the same fate: as all the other Books on my shelves that consider 'Work' in it's broadest sense - And Humanities Future. My 3 Grandchildren's futures!

One has James's Susman's and Toby Ord's many predecessors - Socrates, Chuang Tzu, Erich Fromm, David Smail, James Lovelock, Jung, James Hillman, R H Tawney, Galbraith, Rivkin, David Attenborough and (also) a myriad of others. I exclude persons such as Steve Pinker and Yuval Noah Harari even though they are brilliant writers on 'human work' themselves.

That is, I fear that, James's Susman's amazing book will suffer the same fate - Of the MAD Ruling Elite - largely ignoring him. As they have all the others.

Too late now?

Dr M E (Mel) Henderson
Existential/Work/& Survival Psychologist
British Trained Ergonomist

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Interesting ideas

A good book which is narrated clearly and with enthusiasm. I enjoyed the new way of thinking about work from the perspective of hunters and gatherers moving on to agriculture. Some interesting ideas a good interaction between anthropology, economics and history.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-2021

Excellent with rich insights

A fantastic book with wide ranging images insights about humanity; I’m enjoying every minute.

The narration is good, but the narrator seriously needs to work on his pronunciation. Not only is his pronunciation of foreign words often wincingly wrong but he even pronounces a number of English words wrongly—as if he’s reading them with dyslexia or just not paying attention by missing out (or adding) a letter here and there. (Eg Oceania, the continental region, becomes “Oceana”... etc). His pronunciation of foreign language words could easily have been corrected with a quick internet search; it’s not that he’s unable to produce the sounds. In one persistent example that spans much of the book, he pronounces the ethnic term
“Ju/‘hoansi” without the click, yet he pronounces the click correctly in another word (“n/om”), demonstrating one of his many inconsistencies. Although his tone and rhythm were good, his pronunciation errors were a continual irritation.

Narration aside, this is a highly informative and engaging book that I will enjoy listening to again.

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  • Eliza M Vintage Sewing.co.uk
  • 18-02-2021

Thought provoking analysis

Overall I found this to be thought provoking and very enjoyable. However, I’m yet to come to a firm conclusion about the true nature of our species relationship with work intertwined as it is with societal influence and expectations. A door to more research.

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  • Ms. L. Gordon
  • 24-01-2021

It wasn't hard 'work' to listen

This is an excellent book looking a humankind from a specific perspective. It's clearly written, utterly absorbing and wonderfully read by Matt Jamie. Suzman allows the subject matter, work, to meander from the laws of thermodynamics, the creation of life, to stone age tools, hunter and gatherers, the advent of fire to humankind's contemporary situation...fascinating!

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