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The Future of Work Hardcover – 6 Nov 2009
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'Richard Donkin's book on the history of work managed to be both groundbreaking and universally admired - it is a neat development that he has now turned his attention to the future of work. No one is better suited to steer managers and workers to a realistic view of the future and he does so with all his usual insight, readability and fair-mindedness.' - Will Hutton, Executive Vice-Chair, The Work Foundation
'Donkin's purpose in writing this book is to "make sense of work." He does so, and does it so masterfully and comprehensively that I can compare it only to the writings of the three giants of the last century: Veblen, Berle and Means, and Daniel Bell, who tackled the same issue. What I have to say about this extraordinary book will sound like a cliche but until someone invents a better phrase than "instant classic," I suppose that will have to do.' - Warren Bennis, University Professor, University of Southern California and author of On Becoming a Leader.
'Few journalists in the world are as insightful or as knowledgeable as Richard Donkin on a question that matters to us all – how the world of work is changing for us, and for our children.' - Robert Peston, Business Editor, BBC
'Donkin orchestrates an in-depth look at one of the world's and businesses' next challenging milestones - the intersection of technology, work, culture and human nature. He does an excellent job of balancing his own personal experiences with the philosophy and history of work, and his insight into how we view ourselves, our jobs and our role in world is enlightening, entertaining and futuristic. Donkin brings to the table a deep understanding that today's technologies will help to usher in new, more intelligent management processes to link people and their management teams to success.' - Lars Dalgaard, Founder and CEO of SuccessFactors, 2007 and 2008's Fast Growing Publicly Traded Software Company
'Richard has written one of the best histories of work and now repeats the trick looking forward at the future of work. Separating popular myths and dogma from the truly transforming trends in the workplace, he ably reveals what is, will and should be happening at work in response to key environmental, social and business changes. Essential reading for executives with any responsibility for people in work and for all those of us trying to plot our own way successfully through this shifting employment landscape.' - Duncan Brown, Director, HR Business Development, IES
"Richard Donkin has written a serious book on the subject of work...It is an incredibly important topic, and this is a thoughtful and worth-while contribution.' - Management Today
'Donkin presents a cohesive argument for policy reform...' - Finance& Management Faculty
'Richard Donkin is a humane, thoughtful writer who has spent years considering the changing shape of work.' - Financial Times
The author presents a cohesive argument for a fundamental change in attitudes to work if we are to create a healthier society capable of meeting the expectations and concerns of a developing economySee all Product description
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I think the book is complete waffle. 50p would be a fair price for it!
Donkin might know more about the work situation than most of us, but as a futurologist I wouldn't rate him any higher than Mystic Meg and her crystal ball. Because most of his ideas are based on the boom times, many of his more optimistic predictions became outdated even before the book was published, thanks to the financial crisis. Do employers need to worry about a shortage of skilled workers? With 50% youth unemployment in much of Europe, it seems unlikely.
A related problem is that there's little here that's really new. It feels like a few thoughts stretched to book length, padded out with some rather obvious points such as the need to raise the retirement age and the changing role of women in business. The author flits about all over the place, from the deck of a racing yacht to the invasion of Iraq, via the parliamentary expenses scandal, relating just about every news item and every experience he's had (or so it seems) in an attempt to liven up some rather dull points about management theory, with too many pages devoted to things like the need for employers to provide workers with incentives to live healthy lives.
The book also contains a lot of statements of the obvious (eg: "Some people are more adept at using networks than others and these are the ones who are likely to derive the most benefit from them ...")
Combine this with a whole bunch of missing commas and other typographical errors, plus an odd mix of American and British spellings (even though it's mostly about Britain) and this doesn't make for an easy read, nor for good value. I stuck it out because I thought it might help with a project I was working on, but in the end I was disappointed.