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Bullshit Jobs

Narrated by: Christopher Ragland
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)
Regular price: £23.99
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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber, read by Christopher Ragland. 

Be honest: if your job didn't exist, would anybody miss it? Have you ever wondered why not? Up to 40% of us secretly believe our jobs probably aren't necessary. In other words: they are bullshit jobs. This audiobook shows why, and what we can do about it.

In the early 20th century, people prophesied that technology would see us all working 15-hour weeks and driving flying cars. Instead, something curious happened. Not only have the flying cars not materialised, but average working hours have increased rather than decreased. And now, across the developed world, three-quarters of all jobs are in services, finance or admin: jobs that don't seem to contribute anything to society. In Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber explores how this phenomenon - one more associated with the Soviet Union, but which capitalism was supposed to eliminate - has happened. In doing so, he looks at how, rather than producing anything, work has become an end in itself; the way such work maintains the current broken system of finance capital; and, finally, how we can get out of it.

This audiobook is for anyone whose heart has sunk at the sight of a whiteboard, who believes 'workshops' should only be for making things, or who just suspects that there might be a better way to run our world.

©2018 David Graeber (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"Spectacular and terrifyingly true." (Owen Jones) 

"Explosive." (John McDonnell, New Statesman, Books of the Year) 

"Thought-provoking and funny." (The Times)

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Read the original essay

Not really much expanded beyond the original essay there is a great deal of filler material.

Whilst the first half of the book is entertaining enough Graeber’s inability to offer much of a solution, or at least template for resistance, means he sails perilously close to doing a “bullshit job” in his analysis

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Generally good, albeit a little one sided.

If you can forgive the author for being a little bit one sided (he knows what he knows and doesn't really entertain how anyone could disagree with him) then you may just be able to see where he is coming from in what is a sensible conclusion on the world of modern work and an enjoyable yarn to get there. At times the author maybe over does things and waxes lyrical on a point that most readers got in his first paragraph introducing the point and in general the book is quite long for a relatively simple conclusion. He also uses anecdote heavily without any real statistical pedigree and focuses far too much on his own limited experiences in academia and liberal circles. Despite all this I tend to find his logic and conclusions sound and found myself enjoying the "story".

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The last great taboo?

Fascinating idea that the author has clearly well researched. Worth the read and adds a new dimension to the UBI discussion. If you've never worked in a large corporate office environment you may be in for an eye opener and if you have worked in such environments you'll likely feel a sense of relief to know you are not alone in having a bullshit job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Vlad
  • Brazil
  • 08-06-18

Excellent

Graeber is an amazing social scientist, with a gift for precise arguments. This book is an development of his 2013 piece with the same title, and his attempt at a social theory of labour - or lack thereof -, and a must read to anyone who wants to think about work and what it means to us humans.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Buy for anyone you care about.

Graeber does it again. With a Black & Red cape this unassuming anarchist Zorro swishes through the Bullshitterisation of the modern work environment. Resonated well with some of my recent excursions into the office environment. Yuck! Managerial feudalism is the perfect description. I was happy enough with wage slavery before. Anyway he also has a go at the statists - clap, clap - and proposes UBI as a stepping stone, to a world where the link between work and necessity is snapped for overall good.

I agreed wholeheartedly. A profound and iconoclastic academic.

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Bullshit job example - this book

Book is just presentation of author's socialistic / social engineering god like opinions. He seems to really think that he know's what is importnant and meaningful for sociaery and what isn't. Then he cherrypick random answers from internet duscissions and similar completelly biased sources and label those as evidence.

Yes probably there is many jobs that are full of not efficeant taskt and burreaucracy. Actually this was reason why I bought this book. I supposed there will be some meaningful discussion and evidence based research of this topic.

Unfortunatelly not at all. I would recommend to buy this book only if you want to hear a opinions of anthropologist who think he knows and probably also can plan whole economy...

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Mainly very good

I really enjoyed this, having done a few bullshit jobs in my time. It did worry me though that a couple of the ‘bullshit’ jobs were jobs he just didn’t understand the motivation, need or funding for, e.g. sex work and specific types of drugs harm reduction. Good book generally though. Would recommend.

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Entertaining, Insightful, and a damn good read

Really amazing. Delves into so many different fields. While still managing to remain grounded in the human experience.

First few chapters can be a little slow at times. While Graeber lays down the framework of bullshit jobs. But overall the whole book is really riveting. The last few chapters especially are mind blowing.

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Book serves as a guide to avoid pointless work.

This book serves better as a guide to avoid pointless work rather than an overarching explanation of a large number of modern jobs.
I enjoyed the book as someone who is young and thinking of changing career but wants to stay in an ethical field. The book has helped me realise that as long as a job it is socially useful, plays to my skills and pays a fair wage that I would be happy enough in it.
I am not sure if the author intended it to be a self-help guide, but I think this is the book's biggest strength.

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Good, but the argument is simple

This was a really interesting book, but there is a lot of repetition. The author seems to assume his point requires extensive backing up and anecdotes. Whilst his explanation is important, I feel I was often hearing the same discussion again. and again in slightly different words. I also found it a little odd to have an American narrator when 70-80% of the author's examples were UK specific.

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  • Corne Kruger
  • 07-01-19

What a book!

This book is fantastic. well written and concisely explained. entertaining style as well as a well thought out topic. coming from a conservative background favouring the free market and libertarian ideals, this has really opened up my thinking but if you are like me then listen with an open mind

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-12-18

Start thinking

This is a really good explanation of our society and surprisingly accurate for far too many people in the workforce.
We should really think more about this. And absolutely do things differently.

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  • Hector
  • 20-09-18

Interesting ideas but not a great book

The book suffers a bit from the very thing it is criticizing. It could have been written in 2 chapters and make all of its fundamental points. But it's been filled with hours of BS just to justify it be a "book".

It's interesting, nevertheless.

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  • James Laybourn
  • 20-07-18

The "Bullshit" in the title is very descriptive

I almost never give up on an audiobooks but I am giving up on this one after less than an hour because it was just making me angry. The author presents this book based upon his qualifications as an anthropologist but it quickly becomes apparently that this is a political tract. What annoyed me were the extremely one sided arguments about the nature of a BS job and the use of over simplified examples to make his points.

I was recommended this book by a colleague and was intregued because I think there generally are a lot of wasted jobs out there. I was expecting a balanced and well reasoned assessment but what I got instead was definitions such as teachers and nurses are required because if they weren't there society would notice but lawyers are a bullshit job because if they weren't there no one would be affected. I assume that there was a more deep and reasoned argument later in the book but I couldn't bring myself to continue.

Performance was fine - my only issue was with the content.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Christian R. Unger
  • 25-05-18

interesting, depressing, incomplete

The title is focused on jobs that have no meaningful output, wastes of time and destruction of the soul. So much is truly fascinating and depressing and also misses consistently that this is a perception of the individual, which is accepted as true (and in many cases probably is given the stories that back this up). But, this also opens up the question of jobs that just feel meaningless but are badly taught, and although these are discussed, as well as other angles, some angles just strike me as badly explored.

A strong focus, or recurring theme is that much money could be saved if things were done differently (again true), and more just understood what money is (which is either not discussed or ruled out of scope) leaving especially the concluding chapters hollow because new issues are introduced but not pursued.

Overall there is a lot good here but the potential is squandered by not engaging with some of those topics that are hinted at. Also, being an anarchist occasionally seems to be used as an explanation ... which does not explain everything, to simplify: the supplement industry is a scam because I don't believe Oranges are comparable to Lemons on vitamin C content. So running with the simely, I'm not sure what kind of comparison we are talking about and can I get more detail on how it might be a scam. Here this is about governments becoming a thing of the past and being an anarchist, but how are we getting there and how would this work? (generally or in context, I'm curious on either, yet neither gets any details). These things feel like interesting excursions that would bear relevance and are ignored.

Broadly, it's a good title that misses opportunities both in addressing issues it raises or pointing to alternative sources. Similarly some angles of consideration are missed and feel intentionally ignored because they are present but not pursued or obviously absent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sergey
  • 08-08-18

Postmodernist propaganda of universal basic income

The author is a self-proclaimed anarchist hoping for the dismantlement of the states.

Basically, he says that since some jobs are pointless, non-productive and boring, then the salaried employees performing these jobs should be free to quit them and still receive the money from "the government" (i.e. from taxes of people who still would be working).
Don't believe me? Read it and see for yourself.
It's a postmodernistic propaganda advocating for Universal Basic Income.

Spoiler alert - the book ends with a cute story about a bunch of feminists forcing a child to burn the New Testament because it was "sexist".

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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