Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £25.99

Buy Now for £25.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

From mechanical looms to combustion engines to early computers, new technologies have always provoked panic about workers being replaced by machines. In the past, such fears have been misplaced, and many economists maintain that they remain so today. Yet in A World Without Work, Daniel Susskind shows why this time really is different. Advances in artificial intelligence mean that all kinds of jobs are increasingly at risk. 

Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think or reason like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. As a result, more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers - from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts - are now within their reach. The threat of technological unemployment is real. 

So how can we all thrive in a world with less work? Susskind reminds us that technological progress could bring about unprecedented prosperity, solving one of mankind's oldest problems: making sure that everyone has enough to live on. The challenge will be to distribute this prosperity fairly, constrain the burgeoning power of Big Tech and provide meaning in a world where work is no longer the centre of our lives. In this visionary, pragmatic and ultimately hopeful book, Susskind shows us the way. 

©2020 Daniel Susskind (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about A World Without Work

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    59
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    54
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very thought provoking

It’s easy to fall into a basic dichotomy of world view. , of wealth creators as against wealth sharers. This book deals with the massive changes happening in the world of work, and the massive rise both of joblessness and wealth inequality, and proposes radical but profound avenues of discussion.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book for our times!

I am an educator, and our role as educators is to prepare learners to become independent thinkers, ready for the world of work, or, as Susskind puts it, for a world without work.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to this book. It is thought provoking and clearly examines the impact advances in technologies have had, and will have on our society. The book is written clearly and is very accessible. Even though I am not an economist, I found it easy to understand. Susskind’s analysis is pertinently researched and evidence-based. It is informed through other economists’ and philosophers’ work, while constructive solutions are proposed to respond to the problems of inequality, power and meaning.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars

Good ideas and hopefully a brighter future

I really enjoyed listening to this book, some of the ideas were familiar to me. I hope that we will get to that society where work will be a gift and not a requirement

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An absolute must read for politicians!

Very thought provoking and also worrying. Clearly the author has thought through the subject matter in great depth and more people should be thinking about this subject

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

an absolute masterpiece and thorough analysis!

loved this book and couldn't get enough of it. Completed in less than a week during my commute to work.
easy to listen and to stay focused on.
a masterpiece and thorough analysis with data of what the future will be and how the society will adapt to changes. Life is dynamic and changes keep happening. it's up to us to be ready and adapt our lifestyles to it. great book. highly recommended

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not much new here

Didn't learn much new from this book. What was well-justified was not new to me, and what was novel was not well-justified.

The chapter on Big Tech was the most interesting, but also seemed off-topic for the book - an entertaining digression, in other words.

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

OK

A few interesting ideas in here but much of this has been stated before. Not as good as everyone says it is. But if you are new to this genre you might find it interesting. If you've read Piketty and Mazzucato and the like, Susskind doesn't really expand on what they've written already.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very important book

I think that this is a very important book, that follows on naturally from the argument set out by Daniel and his father a few year ago, giving shape to a possible and likely future.

It’s the kind of book you will return to, containing both grand arguments and delightfully subtle nuance.

However, I feel that there is a further book needed that leaves the well made technological and economic arguments behind, and that focusses on the psychology of incentives.

In a world where self betterment is economically unnecessary, how to persuade those we need to work still, to deploy their unique talents, to endure the pain and hardship of skill development, when so many alternative routes of gentle easier fulfilment arise.

I’ve yet to meet a young engineer with a passion for Fourier analysis. Who would study it as an end in itself. Especially if the alternative is guitar or painting, or an afternoon’s student politics.

The answers offered seem to me to be almost Stalinist - that the state will treat you equally unless it decides that you dear comrade are selected to toil for the engine.

The central problem thus remains - in a world with little work, how do you prevent a dystopian outcome with an underclass and a privileged class of technocrats.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Provoking

I read this based on my appreciation of his previous work on the future of the professions. This book takes the same basis themes, but extends the scope significantly.
When we consider the unsustainability of current levels of inequality, and combine that with the impact of technology to erode, or replace, much of what we currently think of as work, this book provides a great thinking tool. You may or may not agree with his conclusions, but it’s wonderful to have his views to push against. An excellent read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A very important book

The book looks at why work will be replaced by machines and how we should cope with this change in the 21st century. It will happen... talk to about it, especially to your political representatives!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pumpapa
  • Pumpapa
  • 08-12-20

a careful economists' analysis

This is a careful economists' analysis of the impact of AI and robotics on our economy and to some degree society. What mechanisms are at play and how can we cope when our technology makes human work gradually redundant. Both the text and the performance (by the author) are solid. I enjoyed reading the thoughts, the many examples and the thorough analysis.