Alain de Botton: The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

pleasures_of_workWe spend much of our lives at work – but surprisingly little gets written about what makes work both one of the most exciting and most painful of all our activities.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is an exploration of the joys and perils of the modern workplace, beautifully evoking what other people get up to all day – and night – to make the frenzied contemporary world function. With a philosophical eye and his characteristic combination of wit and wisdom, Alain leads us on a journey around a deliberately eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art – in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying.

The book amounts to a celebration and investigation of an activity as central to a good life as love – but which we often find remarkably hard to reflect on properly.  As Alain points out, most of us are still working at jobs chosen for us by our sixteen-year-old selves. Here is the perfect guide to the vicious anxieties and enticing hopes thrown up by our journey through the working world.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work contains over a hundred original images specially commissioned from the great documentary photographer Richard Baker.

(from Alain de Botton’s website)