The Anthropology of Work

From the blog

Thanks to Night Owls Press

Either later this week or early next week my new book, The Fifth Age of Work, will finally be available, both from the publisher, Night Owls Press, and from  The book represents several years of hard-to-painstaking work.  As I look through the proof copy of the book, I am overwhelmed by how much better the book is because of the editorial and production work of Night Owls co-founder and Managing Editor, Genevieve DeGuzman, and co-founder and Production Editor Andrew Tang.  Writing a book is often, as this one was, a solo journey for the long first leg.  However, as Genevieve began to steward the project to maturity, it evolved into something much better.

Indeed, it is not too much to say that the Night Owls team is absolutely central to the book’s story.  Not only have they had an important and entirely constructive hand in the book itself, they too are on a journey to becoming a new and dynamic type of publisher. Their tag line on their web site tells the story:

We’re a small, independent press that publishes nonfiction books that challenge and re-imagine prevailing conventions about business, work, and life.

The Fifth Age challenges much in the world of work.  Not all publishers would have been as enthusiastic about posing, as Gary Hamel puts it, “a root and branch alternative” to conventional ways of managing, as was Night Owls. For this I am truly grateful!

Now begins the long process of traveling, speaking, and promoting the central themes of the book:

1.  Large swaths of knowledge workers in the economy are ‘checking out’ of corporate life and ‘checking in’ to the artisan life of small scale entrepreneurism (including coworking)

2.  Large, legacy firms are facing a huge (though as of yet unacknowledged) dilemma: Are you going to be able to attract top talent in the future, or are you going to continue to attract compliant yes-men who just want to work for benefits and vacation-time?

3.  How can the two- the artisan economy and large firms- be bridged together in new, mash-up models that are a source of gigs and career viability for freelancers AND a source of innovation and creativity for large firms?

Hope to see many of you on the road soon!


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