The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work is a series of essays about various kinds of work and how the work shapes the workers, and vice-versa. It starts with a wonderful description of a logistics center in the UK that orchestrates shipments of all kinds of goods throughout the country, much of which done at night from vast warehouses that look like bleak boxes from outside, but are minutely organized and streamlined inside. How interesting to read about the invisible and usually neglected world of operations folks. It travels to the Maldives for tuna fishing (gruesome!) It’s back in the UK for the Pylon Appreciation Society, yes, you read it correctly, people who travel along power lines to appreciate the various types and sizes of the pylons that support them! It ventures into cubicles and attends management training seminars and employee motivation speeches.
While I found some of the rifts annoying (what’s so wrong, really, about living one’s life as product manager for a line of cookies? Does the anonymous peasant in the field truly have a more meaningful life than the cookie manager?) and some factual errors surprising (there are more than 26 departements in France, surely, since Paris is in #75!)I very much enjoyed the books including the stark photographs that accompany the essays. Highly recommended!