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The Future of Success Hardcover – January 9, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (January 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375411127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375411120
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,041,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From his dual perspective as former Clinton administration secretary of labor and academic social scientist, Reich (bestselling author of Locked in the Cabinet) offers a knowledgeable overview of the pros and cons of today's economy for the average worker. New ways of doing business spurred by digital technology, he states, have led to "eye-popping deals and bargains, opportunities never dreamed ofAexactly what you want, from anywhere, at the best price and value" for consumers. At the same time, the ease with which potential buyers can switch to any better new deal puts all producers under intense competitive pressure. Reich argues that the choice between innovation or death that producers now face has filtered down to workers in the form of reduced loyalty from employers and sharply curtailed retirement and fringe benefits. Those who suspect that they are working harder over longer hours will find confirmation here that they are in good company, as well as a keen analysis of the impact of our new working arrangements on marriages, children and how we enjoy our lives. Then Reich pops the $1 million question: Would we willingly accede to the new demands of the workplace if we fully appreciated the consequences for our family lives? Sensing a growing dissatisfaction across the nation, Reich offers tantalizing proposals for moderating the more disruptive influences that have arrived along with the blessings of the emerging economy. (Jan. 15) Forecast: Reich's personal, engaging approach to the hot button topic of worker burnout in the new economy, combined with his high visibility in the traditional media, should raise the profile of this title, which has an announced 100,000-copy first printing, as well as a simultaneous audiobook release from Random.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The former secretary of labor, author of best sellers like The Work of Nations, analyzes the benefits and stresses of the new Internet-driven economy.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book clearly deserves more than 5 stars.
Donald Mitchell
All in all, a very inclusive, incisive book with such disparate citations as Oscar Hammerstein and brain chemistry research to promote the thesis.
JackOfMostTrades
The future won't look any brighter or more stable after you read this book.
James H. Choi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book clearly deserves more than 5 stars. It is Professor Robert Reich's best book, and the first to go beyond Professor Peter Drucker's thinking about the future of "knowledge" work. It is well written, and designed to stir a debate and self-examination . . . rather than answer all of the questions in an opinionated way. Nicely done!
In sharing an epiphany that he had, Professor Reich describes the trap of success that he ran into as Secretary of Labor for President Clinton. "My problem was that I loved my job and couldn't get enough of it." Sounds okay so far, doesn't it? Well, read on. " . . . [A]ll other parts of my life shriveled into a dried raisin." He quit after calling to tell his children that he would not be home before bedtime for the sixth night in a row, and he son begged him to wake the son during the night simply for the comfort of knowing his father was in the house. As a result of having had that experience and happily changing his life balance, "I am writing here about making a living and making a life . . . [and it's] geting harder to do both."
The book is an excellent summation of the reasons why the most successful people typically work the longest hours and the most intensely. Trends suggest that this imbalance is likely to get worse.
Basically, the current economy puts a huge premium on finding new, creative solutions whether as a technologist, designer of new business models, new product conceptualizer, or marketer. Most people cannot synthesize all of those roles into one person -- the perfect entrepreneur. Those who can are even more valuable. The digital society vastly increases the rewards for these innovations by making them available to more people faster.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By ConsultantsMind on June 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Reich (personal bio covered by other reviewers) covers
some of the mega-trends that are affecting our lives.
The book follows this train of thought, if only roughly.
1) Technology and globalization is breaking down barriers for competition. With so many suppliers, buyers have more choice. There are better deals everywhere and switching costs are going down. You can change (your house, job, lifestyle) easier than ever before.
- Every year 17% of American¡¯s change residences, and 20% of them change jobs.
2) It is a buyers market and sellers are forced to innovate. Everything must be better, faster, and cheaper. The innovators are increasingly independent, and networked free agents (rather than a vertically-integrated conglomerate). These free agents seek market visibility by associating with large recognized brand portals: Disney, Dell, Harvard, and AOL.
- 90% of the 7,000 entertainment firms in Los Angeles have fewer than 10 employees.
3) Loyalty? Companies are constantly trying to cut costs and looking for cheaper suppliers (and employees). "The underlying cause isn¡¯t a change in the American character. It is to be found in the increasing ease by which buyers and investors can get better deals, and the competitive pressure this imposes on all enterprises. As the pressure intensifies, institutional bonds are loosening.¡± (page 71)
4) The nature of work has changed. There is more emphasis on the individual; they must provided for themselves, and constantly define their value. It is an opportunity, but also a great source of insecurity.
The gap in wealth is increasing.
- In the US, the top 1% of people hold 18% of the wealth.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful By JackOfMostTrades VINE VOICE on January 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
What Former Labor Secretary Reich does say, he says with insight and clarity: the transformation of society into one that is obsessively "bottom line" driven, whether it be a company seeking highest profitable returns or an on-line customer seeking the quickest delivery time for an item. However the result of this thinking, according to the author creates two major problems: it widens the income gap between economic classes and it makes "time is money" the paradigm of the new millenium--at the expense of personal and family relations, self-reflection and understanding, enjoyment of life outside of work. The well-off have access to service (massage, personal trainers, limousines,); as for the poor: let them do stretching exercises, jog, and take the bus. The author insists that as the more affluent become more insular, they do not intentionally separate themselves from the needy or disadvantaged; it's just that they follow the dictates of common sense that says why not get the best bang for the buck (for example, not caring or acting on the fact that low prices of computers is at least due in part to woefully low wages among foreign workers who produce the chips). We need to reassess our values, according to Reich, and ask ourselves whether indeed do we really want to live overworked if pampered lives with less and less time for those things which traditionally display our humanity. All in all, a very inclusive, incisive book with such disparate citations as Oscar Hammerstein and brain chemistry research to promote the thesis.Read more ›
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