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Dead Man Working [Paperback]

Carl Cederstrom , Peter Fleming
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

25 May 2012
Capitalism has become strange. Ironically, while the 'age of work' seems to have come to an end, working has assumed a total presence - a 'worker's society' in the worst sense of the term - where everyone finds themselves obsessed with it. So what does the worker tell us today? 'I feel drained, empty - dead.'; This book tells the story of the dead man working. It follows this figure through the daily tedium of the office, to the humiliating mandatory team building exercise, to awkward encounters with the funky boss who pretends to hate capitalism and tells you to be authentic. In this society, the experience of work is not of dying...but neither of living. It is one of a living death. And yet, the dead man working is nevertheless compelled to wear the exterior signs of life, to throw a pretty smile, feign enthusiasm and make a half-baked joke. When the corporation has colonized life itself, even our dreams, the question of escape becomes ever more pressing, ever more desperate.

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Dead Man Working + Non Stop Inertia + Awkwardness
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Product details

  • Paperback: 83 pages
  • Publisher: Zero Books (25 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780991568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780991566
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Cederstrom and Fleming, like a present day Virgil, bravely venture into an underworld full of shades whose entire lives have been put to work, who throw themselves heart and soul into the job, and who are constantly implored by management gurus to 'be themselves,' 'feel free,' and 'have fun' in the office. This fascinating and dark little book is an excellent and disturbing introduction to what increasingly large realms of the world of work have become. --(Michael Hardt, Co-author of Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth)

What has work done to us? Cederstrom and Fleming's brilliant dark and witty book tells us the truth. Working in our sleep? Dressing up as infants? Deprivation tank addiction? Fitness centrers? Suicide? Email? If you didn't already know what work has made you become then this book might have a devastating effect on your life. Read it! --(Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, New School for Social Research)

About the Author

Carl Cederstrom is Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University. Peter Fleming is Professor of Work and Organisation at Queen Mary College, University of London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dead man working grabs your attention from the first line, by declaring that capitalism died sometime in the 1970s. This proposition jars and intrigues in equal measure. It is of course the nature and reach of the dead capitalism that is different; dead capitalism penetrates the very social fabric. Work is virus like, an omnipresent infection that spreads market logic to all our relationships. With this proposition established the authors ask how this, now all-pervading, capitalism can be resisted.

The journey to their answer takes in the modern workplace's mechanisms of self-exploitation, the corporations ever increasing reach into all aspects of society and the self, corporate therapy, corporate social responsibility, the impossibility of escape and the dangers of trying.

An account of ludicrous corporate motivation techniques illustrates just how determined the corporation is to create the dead man working. Some very poignant examples of the damage the dead man working can suffer are also recounted, reminding the reader just how serious the whole thing is.

The book is intellectual, but with a light touch, references include: current philosophy, classic sociology and film. The approach works well, allowing a cogent argument to be presented in very few pages.

The authors seem to take the persistence of dead capitalism as given, leading to a conclusion that is individualistic and existentialist. Notwithstanding any reservations about the seeming inevitability of dead capitalism, a book of this nature is very welcome. Unlike other recent looks at the philosophy of work, it is the engagement with modern work's insidious and damaging effects that sets this book apart. It will appeal to anyone who has ever stood back and wondered how it ever got like this.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have a nice effing day! 24 Oct 2012
This is a really engaging and provocative book that attacks the mawkish shift in corporate life that is forcing us to mobilise our total personality in the shape of infantile work-based team building exercises and aren't-we-all-having-so-much-fun motivation sessions, so that every remaining bit of free time in the work/life balance is thrown into the service of keeping your job. Dead Man Working draws on a wide range of references from popular culture and high brow philosophy to discuss how the world of work increasingly sucks up our moral energies, how we internalise forms of management discipline and kid ourselves that what happens at work defines our existence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 13 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Interesting style and topic. Makes you think. Also informative. Stimulated my creativity. Wanted to get a different perspective which it gave me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars preface and introduction to corporate misery 5 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exposes the dead soul of infantile 'man' under gaseous conditions of terminal capitalism, with dark humour reminiscent of M. Houellbecq or C. Palahniuk. In a world of CSR, employee engagement, inclusion and other such pseudo-philanthropic nonsense, the authors explain why a week at work still leaves you feeling drained of everything: in a word, dead.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Work sucks 19 Dec 2012
By John Hughes - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
A book about how much work sucks. Sucks away your time, and wastes it on stupid management games and rituals you wouldn't subject animals to, let alone humans. I didn't really get the ending but for the most part the book was interesting and eyeopening. Two fingers up to management brainwashing!!
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