Critically acclaimed journalist Ellen Ruppel Shell uncovers the true cost—political, economic, social, and personal—of America's mounting anxiety over jobs, and what we can do to regain control over our working lives.
[The Job] is a sweeping, snappily written survey that looks unsparingly at what the author calls “our national jobs disorder” — which she characterizes as a constellation of ills that include low wages, stagnant incomes and sick corporate cultures ... There is a lot that’s wrong [with our relationship to work], and Shell expends a lot of energy looking into it. She is a lively, engaging writer, with a gift for translating economic abstractions into plain English ... Shell has written a spirited 'dare to dream' book with a tantalizing promise, that 'work as it can and should be is well within our reach.' Despite her detours into Neverland, she is persuasive enough to make it seem that it might even be true.
This is an unconventional book, providing a vantage point far removed from the economics-based analyses that tend to dominate discussion of the American labor market ... This observation is at once obvious and underappreciated ... Ms. Shell highlights the logical inconsistencies in discussions of the oft-lamented “skills gap” and the shortcomings of an education system ... Through it all, The Job remains ardently optimistic about the prospects for improving people’s working lives regardless of whatever economic changes may come. The book’s quirky examples are best understood not as a blueprint but rather as part of the author’s argument that certain principles held inviolable may deserve a second look ... Ms. Shell evinces an instinctive antipathy toward the business world, largely ignoring the employer perspective ... Good work, the author rightly notes, requires that 'someone is willing to pay for that work to get done' ... Getting 'the job' right demands understanding of, and concern for, their interests, too.
...[a] sweeping study ... According to Shell, Americans as a people must change their way of determining what constitutes a good job and even upend the concept of work as they know it. General readers will appreciate the breadth and scope of Shell’s thoughtful, inquisitive work.