Rob is planning an ambitious series investigating the impact of thinking about our society as a network rather than a machine. I'm fully behind this idea, as it informs much of my own research. And Rob does an excellent job of taking findings from the natural and social sciences and thinking through their potential impacts. This first book looks at the world of work through this lens.
The basic premise is that the world as we know it is currently changing due to a combination of the emergence of new technologies, the need for sustainability, and the current set of financial crises facing us. The implications for work are that we can achieve many things now through activating a network of acquaintances and supporters that previously required more formal institutions. In other words, we no longer need to have a job working for someone to get by.
While I'm highly sympathetic to Rob's project, there are parts of the book that I don't agree with. This is good though - it's definitely a though-provoking piece of work. One question that I think will need to be addressed as the series progresses concerns the role of expertise. One of the basic premises of this model is that we now have access to all of the information and tools that we need to do many things ourselves that previously required experts. We can educate ourselves, manage for our own retirement, and construct our own work. But can we do all of it? I still think there will be important roles for people that have developed skills in particular areas more fully than others have been able to.
This is an optimistic book, and well worth reading for anyone that is looking for a job, or thinking about the work that they're doing on a day-to-day basis. Everyone should have work that is fulfilling, and some of the ideas in this book might help you achieve this for yourself.