Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone Hardcover – January 26, 2021
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
“An extremely timely analysis of how we arrived at these brutal inequalities and of some of the ways in which a deliberately atomised workforce is beginning to organise to challenge them.”―The Guardian
“The book is also both structurally ambitious, combining essays on very specific industries such as domestic work, teaching, retail, nonprofits, art, academic, tech, sports, and of particular note, interns as it is a narrative feat…The most lucid moments in Jaffe’s writing come in the form of her blunt redefinitions of commonplace ideas. There are several of these brilliant sentences throughout the pages: ‘The labor of love, of short, is a con’; ‘Charity is a relationship of power’; and ‘programming, a field currently dominated by young men, was invented by a woman,’ to name a few.”―The Progressive
“Jaffe and the workers she interviews help us make sense of the messy tangle of emotions so many of us feel about our professional lives; when the lines are blurred between work and play, as Jaffe so astutely explains and historicizes for us, they are simply the messy tangle of emotions about our lives, full stop. The final chapter of Work Won’t Love You Back is at once a brilliant contribution to the growing canon of anti-work political theory and a moving ode to human connection.”―The Baffler
“The prose is crisp and compulsively readable… a deeply engaging work.”
“An important, timely reminder of the meaning of work.”―Los Angeles Review of Books
“By pulling apart the myth that work is love, Jaffe shows us that we can reimagine futures built on care, rather than exploitation.”―Naomi Klein, author of On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal
"Jaffe’s committed, on-the-ground engagement, historical range, and ferocious gathering of revolutionary thought combines to create something genuine and profound. . . . This book is a gift to its reader, and to a possible future."―Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
“Marvelously lucid, thoroughly readable, and wonderfully engaging.”―Kathi Weeks, author of The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries
“Sarah Jaffe’s years as a labor reporter have let her see frontlines where others have failed to look. A book of rare importance.”―Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System
About the Author
- Publisher : Bold Type Books (January 26, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1568589395
- ISBN-13 : 978-1568589398
- Item Weight : 1.41 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.38 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What the book didn't do is demonstrate that work doesn't love you back. It told the story of 10 to 15 people who were not fulfilled or happy in life and blamed work and capitalism for this. I think you could have just as easily found 10 to 15 people who were fulfilled or happy and said work was responsible for this. To me, this was much more of a correlation for these people than a causality. The cause could be a number of things from too much social media, politics being too divisive (like this book) to too much video gaming. I don't think it proved the point that work was the cause here. Personally, while I found work was hard at times, it pushed me into being a much better person. I learned how to deal with my introversion, I learned how to lead people, I learned how to listen better, and I learned how to be a better team player.
Finally, the concluding chapter was weak. It pushed we should all work less and love more. I agree about loving more but I felt the book overlooked the fact that somebody needs to get the food, somebody needs to distribute it, somebody needs to learn to be a doctor, someone needs to fix the cars, someone needs to make the movies we all watch on Netflix. It's not feasible that we don't work and have all the things we want into today's life for free.
This book contains ten chapters each of which profiles a different person who has fought back in various ways against economic exploitation and precarity. The majority are American, although two are based in the UK, one in Canada and the chapter on the artistic life in Ireland features multiple people. All but one of the profiles are women, the male representative being a German video game programmer working in the UK. The general chronological pattern in each of the ten chapters of parts one and two (the main section of the book) is to introduce the profile subject, followed by a lengthy discourse about the historical and present nature of the profile subject’s field of employment and conclude with descriptions of the profile subject’s activism (forming unions, protesting, etc). All the descriptions of the profile subject’s work fields include discussion of American aspects of the field even if the profile subject is not American. Some of the persons profiled include a domestic worker, professional womens’ hockey player and an adjunct college professor.
All of the chapters are interesting but the one I found to be most engaging was the one on the former Toys R US/Babies R US manager. Toys R US was ravaged by private equity firms led by Bain Capital which made hundreds of millions in profits while laid off workers initially got nothing, at least until the company agreed to a very modest payout settlement in a class action settlement. Another engaging chapter features a Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) worker who helped organize a union of PPRM employees which was met with a strong anti-union campaign by PPRM. Yet another interesting chapter features an activist among the Los Angeles teachers who successfully went on strike in 2019. The author writes that the Los Angeles teachers’ strike was an example of the importance of workers’ integrating their struggles with the broader community in which they work. The Los Angeles teachers stressed that their fight for better working conditions was also a fight for better learning conditions for the kids .
Some of the themes of the book include the following. 1. So-called women’s work (child care, home care, educating young children, retail work, etc) has historically been labeled as such in order to justify paying women little or nothing at all. 2. It is very empowering for people to organize in solidarity with co-workers for better working conditions, greater control of one’s job and greater dignity. Fighting back against economic exploitation and drudgery can be incredibly healthy for one’s psychological well-being. The genuine friendship and camaraderie formed among co-workers can be the most healthy thing workers receive on the job. The author makes several references in the book to laid off General Motors workers in Indiana and Ohio whom she interviewed after their plants closed in 2018. None of the workers express love for the job itself; they only did the jobs for the high wages gained through unionization and would most miss socializing with co-workers and union activities. Some of these GM workers, the author notes, were probably headed into the thriving low wage distribution warehouse employment. She also notes that deindustrialization has seen more and more men go into retail work in recent decades.
This book is an attack on modern capitalism, filled with feminist themes, with the author indicating concern with the classical socialist idea of workers having no control over the products of their labor. The book seems intended for a general audience, with the author writing in a clear and simple fashion and using no recondite jargon. As her endnotes show, she relies on numerous left wing scholars in support of her arguments.
Top reviews from other countries
The book fails miserably though in its socio economic analysis of the world today. Capitalism, and in particular 'neo-liberarism' is to blame for everything that has gone wrong and to me the reality is much more nuanced and complex than the author's simple narrative that capitalism is 'evil'.
For a more mature analysis of the world of work today I suggest Richard's Sennet the corrosion of character:
For a sociological view of the world of corporate managers I'd suggest Robert Jackall's the moral maze:
And for a far more elaborate view of socio economic changes in the last 500 years, Charles Mann 1493