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How to Tell When You're Tired: A Brief Examination of Work (Norton Paperbacks) Paperback – January 17, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

PW called this memoir and polemic by a retired longshoreman and "fruit tramp" a "refreshing look at the workplace by a seasoned expert."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Theriault, a former migrant fruit picker and a longshoreman for 30 years, has written this humorous treatise on hard physical labor as a way of life. He gives voice to the thoughts and conditions of the laboring classes and examines the constant struggle for respect and autonomy, the tendency of management to treat workers as merely one part of the production process, the penchant of unions to bargain away the wrong things, the awful grinding tedium and danger, and the sense of accomplishment realized from doing a piece of work right. Theriault's engaging, moving defense of the working class's right to its portion of credit for building our civilization is inspiring. All secondary career education courses should include this title on their required reading lists, making this appropriate for academic as well as public libraries.
Susan Awe, Jefferson Cty. P.L. System, Arvada, Col.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Revised edition (January 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393315576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393315578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
MBA students are taught to look down on labor, to see laborers as resources to be used. Mr. Theriault reminds us of the dignity inherent in labor, the pains and the pleasures. It reminded me of Studs Terkel's books on working. Parts of it reminded me of Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations". Mr. Theriault earned my respect, both as a working man and as a skilled writer. You might also want to read "Fields Without Dreams" by a professor of ancient classics about his family's life as farmers until they lost their farm.
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Format: Paperback
This book offered an insight into the psychology and complex existence of hard physical labor that should throw fear into the hearts of management. I was so sad when this book was over and I find myself referring to it frequently as a student of labor management relations. Well worth owning! Great anecdotes and harsh realities that most college kids will never face makes it all the more valuable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There hasn't been much written on labor from the view of an articulare laborer of long experience, but here is at least one such book. Theriault is a very good writer and his topic is very important and what more could one ask for?
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Format: Hardcover
While reading through this work I found that although the author was lifting 154 pound bags of coffee beans on a daily basis isn't all that dissimilar that being a cube dweller. The fact is that sitting in front of a computer in your cube messing with spreadsheets all day long contains many of the same mental drudges but doesn't affor some of the opportunities for the "on and off" time that the author descirbes in his manual labor work.
Though I am unable to verify his statistics I was still astonished at the number of so called "white collar" workers that applied for jobs in San Francisco when the Stevedores Union opened up their hiring a few years ago.
Interesting thoughts and concepts abound, but I found remarkably similar parallels between "cube Jockeys" and the manual labor workers the author is so familiar with. Certainly worth the read.
Steve in Austin, Tx.
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