Work in the 21st century: Popular non-fiction books

Analysis of work/life balance and why modern work is making people miserable in two different books; together with a book about the history of Brexit and one about Putin’s Russia, set the tone to our non-fiction new books.

#Chill : turn off your job and turn on your life / Robinson, Bryan E
“Dr. Robinson describes himself as having once being a chain-smoking, caffeine-drinking work junkie, dogged by self-doubt with no close friends. His colleagues were breathing down his neck and didn’t really appreciate his hard work, at least that’s what he told himself. His memory got so bad members of his family wondered if he was developing early onset Alzheimer’s. He scoffed at the idea of work/life balance, yet he couldn’t stop working. He joined Workaholics Anonymous, entered therapy, and stumbled into yoga and meditation. The practice enabled him to climb out of the work stupors into a saner life.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The coddling of the American mind : how good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure / Lukianoff, Greg
“First Amendment expert Lukianoff and social psychologist Haidt argue that child-centered social attitudes dating back to the 1980s have convinced young people that their feelings are always right, and this leads not just to failure (as the subtitle has it) but free speech issues on campus and the rising polarization in politics. (they) show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Reason in a dark time : why the struggle against climate change failed – and what it means for our future / Jamieson, Dale
“In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

The globotics upheaval : globalization, robotics, and the future of work / Baldwin, Richard E
“Richard Baldwin explains how digital technology will bring globalization and robotics, or “globotics”, to previously unaffected professional and service sectors. Jobs will be displaced at the eruptive pace of digital technology, leading to discontent among the professional, white-collar, and service workers whose jobs are threatened. Baldwin analyzes how these rapid changes are likely to affect government policies and envisions the future of employment, predicting an increase in face-to-face interaction that will strengthen bonds in local communities.” (adapted from Catalogue)

A short history of Brexit : from brentry to backstop / O’Rourke, Kevin H.
“After all the debates, manoeuvrings, recriminations and exaltations, Brexit is upon us. But, as Kevin O’Rourke writes, Brexit did not emerge out of nowhere: it is the culmination of events that have been under way for decades and have historical roots stretching back well beyond that. Brexit has a history. ” (adapted from Catalogue)

Putin’s world : Russia against the West and with the rest / Stent, Angela
Putin’s world examines the complex panorama of the country’s turbulent past and how it has influenced Putin and the Russians’ understanding of their position on the global stage. This book looks at Russia’s key relationships — with the United States, China, Europe, NATO, Japan, the Middle East — and with Russia’s neighbors, particularly the fraught relationship with Ukraine.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Lab rats : why modern work makes people miserable / Lyons, Daniel
“Personality tests. Team-building exercises. Forced Fun. Desktop surveillance. Open-plan offices. Acronyms. Diminishing job security. Hot desking. Pointless perks. Hackathons. If any of the above sound familiar, welcome to the modern economy. In this hilarious, but deadly serious book, bestselling author Dan Lyons looks at how the world of work has slowly morphed from one of unions and steady career progression to a dystopia made of bean bags and unpaid internships.” (adapted from Catalogue)

No friend but the mountains : writing from Manus Prison / Boochani, Behrouz
“In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since. People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests. This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile. Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?” (adapted from Catalogue)