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The pleasures and sorrows of work
De Botton, Alain.
Adult Nonfiction HD4901 .D35 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This pensive study explores work not as an economic or sociological phenomenon but as an existential predicament. Observing an eclectic sample of workers, from fishermen to a CEO of an accounting firm, de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life) counterposes "the expansive intelligence" embodied in vast business organizations with the blinkered routines of their human cogs and finds that tension rife with philosophical conundrums. Cookie marketers illustrate the link between happiness and triviality in bourgeois society; office drones wear "a mask of shallow cheerfulness" over "the fury and sadness continually aroused by their colleagues"; a visit to a satellite launch center contrasts the restrained self-effacement of rocket scientists with their power to "upstage the gods" during fiery blastoffs. De Botton's humanism recoils at the banality, crassness and forced optimism of the business mindset, but he admires its ability to construct the world-and even finds poetry in a supermarket supply chain that flies "blood-red strawberries... over the Arctic Circle by moonlight, leaving a trail of nitrous oxide across a black and gold sky." (The book includes evocative photos of commercial and industrial sites.) De Botton's sprightly mix of reportage and rumination expands beyond the workplace to investigate the broader meaning of life. (June 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Swiss author/TV presenter De Botton ( follows The Architecture of Happiness (2006) with this book exploring the highs and lows-mostly the lows-of work. De Botton asserts that work keeps us from facing the reality of impending death, but his argument seems to reflect his own insecurities rather than some universal truth. Veteran actor/narrator David Colacci sounds bored here, not wholly effectively conveying De Botton's dry wit. The Pantheon hc edition contains approximately 100 original images by documentary photographer Richard Baker; listeners can view the images that didn't make it into that edition at A good match for The New Yorker crowd.-Johannah Genett, Hennepin Cty. Lib., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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