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Bullshit Jobs

A Theory
Narrated by: Christopher Ragland
Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (661 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs and their consequences.

Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs”. It went viral. After a million online views in 17 different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. 

There are millions of people - HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers - whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. 

Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.

©2018 David Graeber (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

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Don't be fooled by the "pop" look of the cover

This book goes deeper into its subject than the title or cover would lead you to believe. Graeber starts with examples of people who have bullshit jobs, a working definition of a bullshit job, then builds to a larger structural analysis of the societal forces that caused the proliferation of jobs which are economically wasteful but useful from a perspective of the holders of power. He also takes this analysis to a broader view of theories of value, accessibly presenting the labor theory of value and how it's been seen over the years. He concludes with a possible solution, or at least a stopgap to address the problem. Overall, I found the material very well presented and personally cathartic.

The reader's great too. He very much didn't do a bullshit job.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The book was great but I didn’t like the reader

The reader changed his voice when reading quotes, which would normally be a good thing because it signals to the listener when the quotes begin and end, but he didn’t change his tone, he literally changed his voice. He made his voice higher than his own when quoting women, and strangely, lower than his own when quoting men. The result is that quotes from women were read in a childish voice and sounded simpering, while quotes from men sounded authoritative. The voices were annoying, but the gender bias they introduce is pernicious, and this should not have gone unnoticed by whomever makes the decisions.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great perspective on how the world is really run

This was a great listen, although a little tough to hear sometimes, consider I have a full-time bullshit job.

Only criticism is Ragland using accents and changing his pitch when quoting people sourced in the book.

Universal basic income!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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feeling like an ant under a magnifying lens

this book shines an at times uncomfortable light on the bullshittery that comprises most office work today.

the breakdown of BS work into sub-categories makes it easier to separate what is useful from what is, essentially, fluff designed to pad out a bloated work day. My only wish is for some follow-up with meaningful action one can take to reduce the amount of useless activities, or at least reclaim that time for more personally fulfilling endeavors. While a great conversation starter to talk about the greater issues that society faces, individuals need some kind of action plan to help extricate themselves from the honey trap of a BS job.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Not a bullshit book.

This book is in no sense bullshit.

It is composed of detailed accounts from people performing jobs that they percieve as meaningless. Accounts that are explored and analysed by Graeber to a masterful degree. With quantitative data to back up his qualitative exploration David creates a powerful narrative where he estimates that about 50% of all labour in the west is unecessary. An estimate that paints a bleak picture of how our society functions and must produce work wether it is useful or not.

After feeling unhappy at my workplace for quite some time I just managed to put the finger on why. I learned that my job is almost completely bullshit, composed of advanced forms of box ticking and some duct taping. I won't say if this revelation is correlated or causal to reading this book. But I will say that I recommend the read to anyone that reads this review, their relatives and friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Required Reading

This book put into words what I have felt for years. David Graeber plumbs the noxious depths of a very insidious part of late-stage capitalism: a job that exists so that you can have a job that exists. It is no hyperbole to say that Graeber offers us up the real dystopia. So let's fight it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The best book I've read this year.

Ive spent 3 years at a major international bank as a manager and am currently a Government employee. When I tell you this book is as well researched as it is entertaining, I hope you'll believe me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very important work

The assumptions of our civilization must become a subject of regular discussion. This book is an important contribution. More discussion about the problem of sociopathy is needed. More discussion about the central question of the role of the commons is needed. Very well spoken book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Powerful ideas

This book is filled with very well thought out ideas, however in some cases the author relies too much on testimonies or personal anecdotes to back up his beliefs. The concepts proposed here are relatively new in so it is understandable that not much evidence has been gathered up to now in order to back them up.

I am sure this book will change that, as it helps us look critically at the structure of our society and realize that it has many flaws.

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Great material 4 us prepared to rethink society...

Even for people who've worked hard to avoid the many conventional and widely accepted views there's still a bunch more deconstructive work to do to follow it all but it's well worth the effort.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful