In the Pleasures and Sorrows of work Alain de Botton gives us his insights into a number of jobs. He spent considerable time immersing himself in each and has had access to a multitude of areas within each one - for example following a tuna from being caught in the Maldives to served up on a dinner plate in the UK. From this he has stood back and given a typically Bottonesque view about the occupations, free from the day-to-day involvement that often dissuades such examination, providing insightful observations on the nobility or futility of the cause. Mostly it comes across as futility. There is a good amount of humour - well I found a lot of it quite funny - often at the expense of people involved. Any signs of self-importance are exposed and cut down to size.
Examining several different occupations provides a rich insight into many areas of life illuminating one into operations and practices previously unaware of or unaware of their full extent, subtleties and integration into the whole of society. Each on its own causes the reader to pause for thought and reflect. As a collection the message is less coherent than some of his other books, but none the less well worth a read. A notable point is the inclusion of a copious numbers of photographs; - he teamed up with a photographer to produce and almost photo-journalistic essay. These are a welcome inclusion though I wish the reproduction of the photos was of a higher standard.