10 Best Books on the Future of Work
If you ask a friend what the future of work looks like, you may get one of a number of different responses. Some people imagine the dystopian, Matrix-like future where the machines have taken over. Some people prefer to imagine a more happy and flexible scenario, with colleagues operating remotely. What’s the correct answer? Well, only time will tell, but to get a sneak peak into what the experts are saying, we’ve collected a range of books to help you understand what the future likely holds, and be successful in it.
The Great Fragmentation
The Great Fragmentation is a business survival manifesto for the technology revolution. As entrepreneurs and startups enabled by access to technology become genuine threats, existing businesses need to understand how to position themselves to survive and thrive. As the world moves from the industrial era to the digital age, power is shifting and fragmenting. Power is no longer about might and ownership ― power in a digital world is about access. This book discusses the history of work since the industrial revolution, and draws a clear trend that leads us into the future. Many of the changes mentioned in the book are already being realised. This is a must-read!
288 pages, 2014
Rise of the Robots
We all know that technology is getting eerily good at doing the things that humans have been doing for a long time. So, will robots eventually take over? Will we lose our jobs, or will new ones be created? Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white-collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further. Rise of the Robots is essential reading to understand what accelerating technology means for our economic prospects and for society as a whole.
368 pages, 2016
The question we’ve all been asking: Will AI really become all-powerful and take over the world? Nobody knows for sure, but this book offers a deeper insight into just how that might work, how we might get there, and what are the dangers along the way. Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.
390 pages, 2016
Remote work increases the talent pool, reduces turnover, lessens the real estate footprint, and improves the ability to conduct business across multiple time zones, to name just a few advantages. As Fried and Hansson explain the challenges and unexpected benefits of this phenomenon, they show why — with a few controversial exceptions such as Yahoo — more businesses will want to promote this model of getting things done.
256 pages, 2013
It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the authors of the New York Times bestseller Rework, are back with a manifesto to combat all your modern workplace worries and fears. It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a direct successor to Rework, the instant bestseller that showed readers a new path to working effectively. Now Fried and Heinemeier Hansson have returned with a new strategy for the ideal company culture - what they call “the calm company”. It is a direct attack on the chaos, anxiety and stress that plagues millions of workplaces and billions of people working their day jobs. Working to breaking point with long hours, excessive workload, and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honour for many people these days, when it should be a mark of stupidity. This isn’t just a problem for large organisations; individuals, contractors and solopreneurs are burning themselves out in the very same way. As the authors reveal, the answer isn’t more hours. Rather, it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction, always-on anxiety and stress. It is time to stop celebrating crazy and start celebrating calm. Fried and Hansson have the proof to back up their argument. “Calm” has been the cornerstone of their company’s culture since Basecamp began twenty years ago. Destined to become the management guide for the next generation, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work is a practical and inspiring distillation of their insights and experiences. It isn’t a book telling you what to do. It’s a book showing you what they’ve done–and how any manager or executive no matter the industry or size of the company, can do it too.
227 pages, 2018
Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
As the world of business and technology changes around us, and ‘cogs in a machine’ jobs are being automated more and more, how do we remain relevant as individuals? Linchpin digs deep into uncomfortable territory, but ultimately provides a brightly valuable perspective on work and career. Do you want to be replaceable? Or do you want to be a linchpin? Linchpin is about becoming indispensable at work and breaking out of the scape of following the instruction manual. This is an important read for anyone, and just as relevant for ‘right now’ as ‘the future’.
256 pages, 2012
One in three American workers is now a freelancer. This “gig economy” emerged out of the digital era and has revolutionized the way we do business. From the Uber driver who uses his own car to make some extra cash in the evenings, to the computer programmer who decides which projects she wants to work on for clients, the gig economy is bringing a new level of flexibility, and with it a number of new challenges too. In the tradition of the great business narratives of our time, Gigged offers deeply-sourced, up-close-and-personal accounts of our new economy. Journalist Sarah Kessler follows a wide range of individuals from across the country to provide a nuanced look at how the gig economy is playing out in real-time. Kessler wades through the hype and hyperbole to tackle the big questions: What does the future of work look like? Will the millennial generation do as well as their parents? How can we all find meaningful, well-paid work?
288 pages, 2018
The Future of Work
Throughout the history of business employees had to adapt to managers and managers had to adapt to organizations. In the future this is reversed with managers and organizations adapting to employees. This means that in order to succeed and thrive organizations must rethink and challenge everything they know about work. The Future of Work digs in to the dynamic of employers and employees, managers and leaders, and explores how we need to begin to view these relationships into the future. Reading this book will help you to think more critically about how you structure your teams and your business, and how professional relationships will begin to transform.
256 pages, 2014
The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting
It’s natural for business practices to evolve or transform over time. One example of this is the agile methodology. We design and discover new ways to move, but often there are other business practices that get left behind. Over time this can hold a business back. Budgeting and business accounting is certainly one of those areas. Who thinks about it these days? Well, as it turns out, as businesses become more agile, the whole suite of business processes need to be redesigned too, including accounting. The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting is an accountant-cum-entrepreneur’s handbook to help entrepreneurs navigate this very topic. This small but serious handbook fills in the gaps in awareness and understanding by answering the question what is Beyond Budgeting? in a clear and succinct way to help managers make informed choices about business processes, as an alternative to blindly copying what has always been done before.
90 pages, 2017
Drawn from 26+ years working in distributed organizations, this book gathers what did — and did not — work from my own hard-learned lessons,as well as learnings from company founders, hedge fund managers,software developers, data scientists, accountants, book publishers, economists, political organizers, recruiters, military personnel, executive assistants, therapists and medical technicians.
335 pages, 2018