The untold history of the surprising origins of the 'gig economy' – how deliberate decisions made by consultants and CEOs in the 50s and 60s upended the stability of the workplace and the lives of millions of working men and women in postwar America.
[An] illuminating and often surprising new book ... A number of books have been published in recent years about the brave new gig economy, but Temp examines the underlying cultural shift that made it all possible ... I prefer Hyman when he gets out of wonk-mode and tells us what is really at stake ... Here, finally, is a book that encourages us to imagine a future that is inclusive and humane rather than sentimentalize a past that never truly was.
Hyman charts the decades-long rise of our automation-fueled 'ad-hocracy' through the companies that helped create it, from the early days of GM to Upwork and Uber today. Despite some overly thorough stretches, the book succeeds as a synthesis of economics, sociology, and history by opting for good storytelling over jargon. Recommended as a topical title for all collections.
This seismic shift in business culture is the crux of the book, but unfortunately Hyman is not clear about what caused the transition. Why did risk become so seductive, when postwar stability yielded such high growth? ... Hyman’s history is incisive when it comes to Silicon Valley’s questionable labor practices ... The concluding chapter is brisk, dark, funny, and limpid all at the same time ... We can’t all be Google bros. But his solution is still digital.