Great work literature: what’s yours?

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HYDE PARK CORNER — The occasionally quite obtuse Alain de Botton is in The Independent this morning flogging his new book called The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. It’s a philosophical study of… work. And I so want to read it. But I suspect I won’t because my lips still move when I read.

Here’s a quote from the author in the interview:

I think we are still labouring under this Romantic idea of work being evil and there being no real passion in work. And that real life is love and war and murder. I am sure that there is something in the idea of having writers-in-residence in offices. Offices are always full of dramas.

I like that a lot. If I squint I can almost understand it. And I can also turn it to something that we at Able and How believe in a rather sad and vehement way: that companies have their own cultures, sub-cultures, traditions and histories. We think this narrative is at least as exciting as what is happening down at the bus station, in the Groucho Club or backstage at a Girls Aloud concert.

We, as employees and businesses, are just not very good at writing about it, recognising it, or making it work for us.

And that’s a shame. Because there’s so much good stuff there.

What’s your favourite work book?

The article claims there aren’t many. I’d have to say mine would be Great Expectations or another Dickens. And that’s for the reasons above… they opened the door on work in their day and painted a well-rounded picture of what it was like.

Tell me what you think.

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