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on March 29, 2015
This is one of those books that ended up getting a good bit of press because it was a novel way of looking at something that is an everyday thing.

The way that white collar workers do their work didn’t just happen that way, but it was a result of deliberate choices – from the architecture of the buildings that the work is done in to the furniture that the workers sit on. I hadn’t thought too deeply about it, thinking that the way things are was just a bit like the way things were, only with computers. I was wrong, and Saval tracks the changes, focused on the United States from the industrial revolution on. The white-collar worker has not been devoid of the standardization and alienation that the blue-collar worker had and rebelled against. The white-collar worker just never saw their white-collar chains; instead, they looked up, hoping to move up the ladder (no matter how false that metaphor is or was).

The potential for striving has, writ large, been the barrier to class to recognition of the white-collar worker for generations. The lack of upward mobility except for into the white-collar ranks is what led to unionism and workers improving their lots. The myth of upward mobility in white-collar terms is a form of social control that is not readily seen.

Saval tracks this, and it makes me think if this has been a deliberate move. As production has been mechanized, there are fewer production workers and more support staff in ancillary roles to production. As more workers move out of production and the workforce is more and more professionalized, white-collar membership is the mass of workers. It is the cube that keeps them apart and alienated. Maybe it is a prison of sorts.

Me?

I’m not part of this at all.

My office has a door.
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on May 30, 2015
Interesting read, but the author goes off on difficult to follow tangents from time to time. Saval's choice of words can be a bit obtuse. If I wasn't currently a college student accustomed to reading academic literature, I would have found this book unmanageable at times. Regardless, interesting content overall.
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on December 26, 2014
Cubed is really about people, their motivations, their successes and failures. It spends a lot of pages on why people, both men and women, wanted to become white-collar workers and how they coped with the office landscapes that organizations built for their employees. Read this book and you will never look fondly at any skyscraper of any vintage with admiration again, for in one way or another too many offices were, and too often still are, dehumanizing.
Saval ranges widely. The author is well read on a large variety of subjects that are important to his overall discussion. He
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on July 15, 2015
Heard an interview of Nikil Saval on 7th Avenue Project and knew I HAD to check this book out—I was NOT disappointed. It's a fascinating accounting on the evolution of the office, its design, and the varied influences (social, economic, etc.) that cross-pollinated to get where we are today. Excellent treatment, especially on design elements and open-concept (open-source) workspace. Kudos!
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on May 29, 2014
If you are working in the field of internal communications or employee engagement, don't miss the chance to read this thoughtful survey of the politics, principles and realities of the physical work environment.
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on June 7, 2016
Nikil provides a wonderful narrative examining management philosophy, architecture and design, and culture over time. As a business school professor I appreciated learning more about how important the physical environment of the office is to the organizational culture that emerges, and visa versa.
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on December 5, 2016
My office furniture salesman son had this on his Christmas wish list.
It's very interesting!
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on November 20, 2014
A good history of a subject that I would not have originally thought would be so interesting. It is more than just about the office cubicle. It is about the history of office work, city architecture, labor relations, changing business structure and much more. If like me you have spent much of your working career in an office cubicle, you will find much to relate to.
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on July 2, 2014
An interesting take on the intersection of design and corporate culture, Cubed's premise is a good one if it's architectural history is somewhat flawed.
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on January 29, 2018
It would have been desirable if the book was better illustrated. The content however, is very interesting.
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