- File Size: 5046 KB
- Print Length: 69 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Robert Paterson (September 30, 2012)
- Publication Date: September 30, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009K8R7OA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
You Don't Need a Job (The Rise of the Network Book 1) Kindle Edition
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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.
This text is a very quick and quite enjoyable read.
I like how Rob has presented links to other sources of material that can be read separately or to accompany this thesis.
While I didn't agree with everything he talked about - many of his ideas are presented solidly and build much many other concepts which will be elaborated upon in future books.
The biggest conceptual area I struggled with was the central network aggregators who would help to distribute work out to people who in essence freelanced. The issue I have is not one that they will exist - it is rather that are we replacing one form of centralization (the corporation) with another (network aggregator - ie. the BnB website Rob mentions)... and why is this occurring - and who then profits by it - are we exchanging one master for another - and is it simply a way that work can be commoditized further - and done cheaper as the costs are downloaded upon the freelancer (eg. real estate, benefits, etc.) so that the consumer benefits. Will this aggregation then lead to further centralization of control in fewer and fewer hands.
I am very much looking forward to reading many of Robs upcoming books.
Rob has an interesting chart that shows that in the early 1800s over 80% of people earned their living as free agents. After the industrial revolution took hold, the number dropped well below 20%. Now it is back over 40% as free agency is growing once again in the networked world. The focus has shifted from top-down command and control hierarchies to networks of skilled participants. This change is even happening within companies and those that adopt it will be the leaders of the next economy. Rob's book provides some very useful historical context so we can see how we got to where we are now and how we can progress beyond it.
I recently re-watched an excellent video produced by the BBC in 1997, Intellectual capital: The New Wealth of Nations. The film portrayed the industrial revolution as a plague on people where workers were treated as mere extensions of machines. Charles Handy makes the same point as Rob, when the workers own the means of production they will be in control. But unlike Karl Marx, Handy was talking about the machines but the intellectual assets within people's minds that provides them flexibility to move from company to company or become free agents.
Corresponding to this change is the rise of the percentage of enterprise wealth driven from intangible assets. Now the percentage of tangible assets in the corporations in the S&P 500 has shifted from 66% in 1982 to 16% in 1999 and likely continues to fall (see Juergen Daum, Intangible Assets and Value Creation). In its place is the rise of intangible assets as the creators of wealth (over 84% in 1999). These are mostly the ideas in people's minds. Yet many organizations are still managing people as though the wealth was created by tangible assets, machines, and people are just servants of these machines. It is the network within and outside the enterprise that releases this potential for wealth. Now, as Rob, argues, the network increasingly allows you to do not need an enterprise to create a living. It is increasingly possible to escape the yoke of top down authority by simply working as a free agent.
Moving form historical context, Rob offers a lot if practical advise on how to survive and prosper in the new networked world. You can join a community of free agents to share possibilities and collaborate on work. There are Web sites that support this networking. You can turn a hobby into a living. You can learn something new. He offers a number of useful sources to further your ability to thrive in this new world. I highly recommend the book, whether you are inside or outside an organization. It contains survival skills for all of us.