The most recommended books about work

Who picked these books? Meet our 31 experts.

31 authors created a book list connected to work, and here are their favorite work books.
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What type of work book?


My America 1928-1938

By Louis Adamic,

Book cover of My America 1928-1938

Dale Maharidge Author Of Fucked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s

From the list on to understand America in the 2020s.

Who am I?

How I grew up in Ohio informs my work: my raging war-ravaged father dreams of being his own boss; in our basement he grinds steel tools on massive iron machines, a side business after his day job in a factory; as a teen, I begin grinding with him; Dad is hit by a drunk driver and he cannot work for months; I am not old or skilled enough as a machinist to save the business; our mother who drives a school bus feeds our family with charity food. I fear I will grow up to be a blue-collar worker facing all the precarity that comes with this existence.

Dale's book list on to understand America in the 2020s

Why did Dale love this book?

I grew up listening to my elders about the 1930s. I’ve read dozens of books about that decade,  and this is the best in terms of the documentation of average Americans. We absolutely must understand the 1930s to deal with what faces us in the nation and world in the 2020s. Adamic was an immigrant who believed in the potential of America, and about half of this book is his reporting around America, with a focus on the working class. The other half is memoir. The reporting is deep, the writing beautiful. 

Shop Class as Soulcraft

By Matthew B. Crawford,

Book cover of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Rebecca Struthers Author Of Hands of Time: A Watchmaker's History

From the list on for people who love taking things apart.

Who am I?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with figuring out how things work. What started with me pulling apart redundant household tech as a child (thanks to my very supportive parents) has become a lifelong passion in making and restoring one of the most incredible machines invented – the watch. Our millennia-old obsession with making things tells us so much about who we are and the world we like in. I love all of these books as, in varied ways, they inspire curiosity and connect us with our innately human instinct to understand the world around us.

Rebecca's book list on for people who love taking things apart

Why did Rebecca love this book?

Shop Class as Soulcraft is a very special book to me, because it’s the first one I read over 10 years ago that managed to perfectly weave between the philosophy and practice of craft. It was that moment of “wow, I want to be able to write like this!”

Too often, craft is studied by academics or theorists, while the craftspeople getting their hands dirty rarely write about what they do. This book so perfectly balances between the two, it’s an ode to making, with the passion for working with your hands oozing from every page in such a brilliantly funny and engaging way.

By Matthew B. Crawford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Shop Class as Soulcraft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A philosopher/mechanic's wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands 

“This is a deep exploration of craftsmanship by someone with real, hands-on knowledge. The book is also quirky, surprising, and sometimes quite moving.” —Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman

Called “the sleeper hit of the publishing season” by The Boston Globe, Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a…


By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang,

Book cover of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

Shannon Hayes Author Of Redefining Rich: Achieving True Wealth with Small Business, Side Hustles, and Smart Living

From the list on minimalism, materialism, and getting by with less.

Who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur, chef, homeschooler, and third-generation farmer living in the northern Catskill mountains. With that many passions, I had to remove all other distractions from my life so that I could put my attention on what mattered most. My writing has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and national television. During the growing season, I broadcast The Hearth of Sap Bush Hollow podcast, chronicles and lessons from a life tied to family, community, and the land. You can also taste my cooking by coming to my restaurant, Sap Bush Cafe, on Saturdays, 9-2 (I’m too busy living the good life to be open the other days).

Shannon's book list on minimalism, materialism, and getting by with less

Why did Shannon love this book?

The objective of a minimalist, anti-materialist, simple life is to open ourselves up to whatever “something greater” the universe has in store for us. Drawing on rigorous science and historical evidence, Alex Pang helps us understand how the act of slowing down helps bring us closer to that something greater. As a farm kid, I was raised in a culture that embraced overwork and shunned slowing down. So learning to have a simpler life meant I had to buck that culture and develop an understanding of how rest benefited my brain and well-being. 

This book helped me move my business to a place where all owners and employees enjoyed more freedom and lower stress, and where greater fun and creativity unfolded.

By Alex Soojung-Kim Pang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Take a break and read Rest: you'll make smarter decisions, have better relationships, and be happier and more creative" James Wallman, author of Stuffocation

Do you regularly find yourself too tired after a long day at your desk to do anything other than binge TV, or scroll mindlessly through social media? Do you go on holiday and still compulsively check your email? Do you work through your lunch-break, often not even leaving your desk to get some fresh air?

For most of us, overwork is the new norm, and we never truly take the time to rest and recharge. But…

Book cover of The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Vincent Doumeizel Author Of The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

From the list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come.

Who am I?

As an optimistic citizen of the world, I travelled the globe to witness famine in Africa and seaweed farming in Asia. Having worked on food systems for twenty-five years and being the father of three children, I was looking for solutions to feed the coming generation with hopes instead of fears! That’s how I ended up working for a visionary charity (Lloyd’s Register Foundation) and leading a “Seaweed Revolution” for United Nations Global Compact as well as writing book to spread the gospel of neglected Ocean Based Solutions. The books I have recommended here all give hope through examples from the past and present and provide readers with practical toolkits for creating positive change.

Vincent's book list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come

Why did Vincent love this book?

This is another book that can inspire you in your daily life and change your perspective. A call for happiness!

Despite what we believe, happiness breeds success, and not the other way around… quite an important distinction. This very well-researched book by a specialist from Harvard University also argues that our brain is flexible enough to change whatever our age, and that it is always possible to mitigate our negative perception of reality.

This leads to a more positive way of thinking that will create the conditions to achieve what we want and lead an exciting life! After reading this book, you’ll be able to make happiness contagious and promote the cause like an activist! A must-read for the next generation. 

By Shawn Achor,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Happiness Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy. When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. The only problem is that a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology has proven that this formula is backwards. Success does not beget happiness.

Based on the largest study ever conducted on happiness and human potential (a survey conducted by the author of more than 1,600 students),…

God in the Marketplace

By Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby,

Book cover of God in the Marketplace: 45 Questions Fortune 500 Executives Ask About Faith, Life, and Business

Jerry Meek Author Of While You Wait: Finding Purpose in the “Not Yets”

From the list on Christian business leaders.

Who am I?

It has been an incredible journey, starting with $200 in assets 45 years ago and finally starting to achieve what I had dreamed of in life and business after struggling for two decades. I learned through the value of reading and building quality relationships, with God's help, I would be successful in life and business. Based in Cave Creek, Arizona, I've spent my career building Desert Star Construction, known by clients and industry colleagues as "the best team in the luxury home business." It is an online community that helps overwhelmed Christian marketplace leaders rediscover their eternal purpose and find unending joy in their life and leadership. 

Jerry's book list on Christian business leaders

Why did Jerry love this book?

This book allowed me to read 45 questions from Fortune 500 executives asking about faith, life, and business. Have you ever felt you were missing the answers to success in business? If you aren't getting what you need to know, you may not ask the right questions. With God in The Marketplace, we see the emphasis on not letting anyone do your thinking for you. We all consider what we can do to change our family, business, and church. Nothing can happen without first seeing how God wants to transform us. We all know that without solving problems, our company has no profits; by applying the principles in the book and trusting God, we can become more like Christ in every situation. When you finish this book, you will realize that God will raise you up, and people will observe your conduct as a Christian Businessperson. At the end…

By Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God in the Marketplace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aside from Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby has made his greatest impact by ministering directly to Fortune 100 and 500 CEOs, advising them on how to effectively blend their faith with their business. Out of that ministry’s success comes God in the Marketplace, a book to help everyone from the front desk to the executive suite best experience God’s will in his or her work.

Blackaby believes that just as Jesus had businessmen among His original disciples, so may God be calling out businesspeople today in preparation for a worldwide spiritual revival. However, while those in the marketplace may have excellent…

Rupturing The Dialectic

By Harry Cleaver,

Book cover of Rupturing The Dialectic: The Struggle Against Work, Money, and Financialization

Anitra Nelson Author Of Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy

From the list on anti-capitalist struggles for a postcapitalism.

Who am I?

I don’t think of myself as a dreamer but, rather, a hard-headed activist scholar. Globally, most of us live under the domination of production for trade. We have ceded co-governance of production—collectively deciding what we produce, how we produce it, and for whom—to the abstract logic of markets operated via money. We face two great challenges reproduced by capitalism—growing socio-political inequities and ecological unsustainability. So, I argue that we must replace monetary values and operating systems with ‘real’, social and ecological, values and production for demand, for the basic needs of humans and the planet. Postcapitalism means moving beyond money to realize our self-value and emancipation. 

Anitra's book list on anti-capitalist struggles for a postcapitalism

Why did Anitra love this book?

Cleaver by name, cleaver by nature? Certainly, as an analyst following in Marx’s footsteps, Harry Cleaver resembles a nimble knife aspiring to a heavy-duty hatchet.

His ideas are impressive but make easy reading. So much so, he has attracted a great following since the publication of his now classic work Reading Capital Politically (1979). Rupturing the Dialectic (2017) is one of Cleaver’s most recent books. In three parts, he sings the praises of Marx’s work-oriented concept of ‘value’, delves into ‘decoding’ the financial sphere that currently mires us, and argues that "getting rid of money and markets entirely is not only a necessary condition for getting rid of capitalism but also desirable in its own right."

Observe the cleaver in action!

By Harry Cleaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rupturing The Dialectic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rupturing the Dialectic rejects the quietism inherent in all economistic approaches to the current crises within capitalism, and furnishes working people with a clear, concrete, sensible program for how to move forward. This is a fine book, and it is one from which activists will greatly benefit." —David Sherman, author of Sartre and Adorno

"Cleaver's theory of the value of labor to capital, explanation of money as a critical mediator of class conflicts, and discussion of strategies for resistance and transformation are remarkable. Rupturing the Dialectic offers emancipating ways to understand everyday life and financial crises in capitalism today." —Anitra…

Love + Work

By Marcus Buckingham,

Book cover of Love + Work: How to Find What You Love, Love What You Do, and Do It for the Rest of Your Life

Khadijah Butler Author Of The CDB Scholarship Monthly Planner

From Khadijah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Entrepreneur Philanthropist Traveler Reader Queen of naps

Khadijah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Khadijah love this book?

Stuck at the “proverbial glass ceiling”? Want to become an entrepreneur? These familiar questions we ponder about our career choices are answered in this book, and it starts with what we Love and what we loathe.

I HIGHLY encourage you to take the Standout Assessment first, which will help you identify your top two roles. Leaning into those roles allows you to explore what strengthens you and what depletes you, and while we’ll never love every aspect of work each day, this book provides the guidance you need to affirm that you’re on the right track.

By Marcus Buckingham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Love + Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal bestseller

World-renowned researcher and New York Times bestselling author Marcus Buckingham helps us discover where we're at our best-both at work and in life.

You've long been told to "Do what you love." Sounds simple, but the real challenge is how to do this in a world not set up to help you. Most of us actually don't know the real truth of what we love-what engages us and makes us thrive-and our workplaces, jobs, schools, even our parents, are focused instead on making us conform. Sadly, no person or system is dedicated to discovering the…

Talent Is Overrated

By Geoff Colvin,

Book cover of Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

From the list on accelerating your career.

Who am I?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

Why did Angela love this book?

You hear the word “talent” used in organizations all the time, with the idea that great workers are talented in ways that others lack. 

But is that true? Are all good workers “talented?” 

In this book, Geoff Colvin dispels the idea that specific natural talents make great performers at work and instead shows us how the secrets and principles of extraordinary performance that can be used to excel in your career.  

By Geoff Colvin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Talent Is Overrated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Excellent.”—The Wall Street Journal

Since its publication ten years ago, businesspeople, investors, doctors, parents, students, athletes, and musicians at every level have adopted the maxims of Talent Is Overrated to get better at what they’re passionate about. Now this classic has been updated and revised with new research and takeaways to help anyone achieve even greater performance.
Why are certain people so incredibly great at what they do? Most of us think we know the answer—but we’re almost always wrong. That’s important, because if we’re wrong on this crucial question, then we have zero chance of getting significantly better at…

Beaten Down, Worked Up

By Steven Greenhouse,

Book cover of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor

David Buckmaster Author Of Fair Pay: How to Get a Raise, Close the Wage Gap, and Build Stronger Businesses

From the list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace.

Who am I?

I’ve worked with business leaders on pay projects all over the world, at companies like Nike and Starbucks, in places like Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore, the UAE, and all over Europe. While many business books are written from a theoretical or academic perspective, I bring an operator’s perspective. I get to work out the ideas in my book, Fair Pay, on a daily basis, and so I wrote the book to be a realistic and practical guide for understanding the perspectives of business leaders, human resources, and the typical employee. 

David's book list on the importance of expecting less from your workplace

Why did David love this book?

Greenhouse’s accounting of union history shares endlessly fascinating stories that could inspire 1,000 Netflix series, but most of us (myself included) know nothing of them. This book is not a pro-union polemic and even for those with a strong skepticism or distaste for unions, we should all understand the history of labor rights and appreciate how many of the things we take for granted now, like overtime pay and weekends, came at very real sacrifice and loss of life rather than through corporate benevolence. 

By Steven Greenhouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beaten Down, Worked Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A page-turning book that spans a century of worker strikes.... Engrossing, character-driven, panoramic.” —The New York Times Book Review

We live in an era of soaring corporate profits and anemic wage gains, one in which low-paid jobs and blighted blue-collar communities have become a common feature of our nation’s landscape. Behind these trends lies a little-discussed problem: the decades-long decline in worker power. 

Award-winning journalist and author Steven Greenhouse guides us through the key episodes and trends in history that are essential to understanding some of our nation’s most pressing problems, including increased income inequality, declining social mobility, and the…

Book cover of The Art of Quiet Influence: Timeless Wisdom for Leading Without Authority

Ian D. Brooks Author Of Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story

From the list on personal development books.

Who am I?

I have a passion for helping people realize being better through sharing my thoughts and experiences to guide them on their path. My curiosity of understanding “why people do what they do?” started when I was 13. The search for this questions evolving answer led me on an educational, career, and personal journey that authored a unique perspective to move people forward. Working with people for over 25 years through clinical therapy, personal coaching, and now through my company Rhodes Smith Consulting, I see patterns in the struggle to transform. Books offer me new perspectives or reinforce old ones in expanding my knowledge and helping people master their own intentions. Enjoy!

Ian's book list on personal development books

Why did Ian love this book?

When we’re transforming our stories, we’re not only asking ourselves to do something different, but we’re also asking the people, places, and things around us to evolve as well. The Art of Quiet Influence fosters awareness of self by bringing in Western and Eastern philosophical wisdom – from Confucius to Rumi to Buddha to Gandhi – to shed light on influencing best practices. While the title implies an influence of others, it emphasizes knowing yourself through your mind, body, and soul prior to seeking changes for anyone else. The book offers a focused presence where output is more important than outcomes and the use of words outweighs yelling and domination. Such inner peace and calmness allow us to be authentic in our abilities to transform.

By Jocelyn Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Quiet Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Influence is getting things done without coercion. It's strength without force-mindfulness in action. Master influencers walk lightly, talk softly and have no need of a big stick, yet collective success hinges on their words and deeds.

Anyone can be a quiet influencer. Featuring twelve specific practices, twelve typical pitfalls and dozens of powerful stories and examples, The Art of Quiet Influence is a roadmap for the journey. Author Jocelyn Davis weaves together the timeless wisdom of Eastern thinkers-from Confucius to the Buddha, from Rumi to Gandhi-with research and insights from modern-day experts, revealing what's wrong with the Western view of…

Diary of a Void

By Emi Yagi, Lucy North (translator), David Boyd (translator)

Book cover of Diary of a Void

Emily Midorikawa Author Of Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice

From Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Reader Mother Teacher Enthusiastic dancer

Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Emily love this book?

I loved the quirky premise of Diary of a Void, which tells the story of Ms. Shibata, a Japanese single woman who fakes a pregnancy to take a leave of absence from her dull office job—a role in which she makes many cups of tea but finds her intelligence consistently overlooked.

Emi Yagi’s witty prose, translated by David Boyd and Lucy North, brilliantly captures Japan’s workplace culture, expectations of men and women, and the seemingly inescapable loneliness of modern-day society.

Since Ms. Shibata’s ruse hardly seemed to be one she could keep up forever, I wondered as I turned the pages about how her increasingly complicated deception would end. I was very interested to discover how things worked out for her.

By Emi Yagi, Lucy North (translator), David Boyd (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diary of a Void as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A woman in Tokyo avoids harassment at work by perpetuating, for nine months and beyond, the lie that she’s pregnant in this prizewinning, thrillingly subversive debut novel about the mother of all deceptions, for fans of Convenience Store Woman and Breasts and Eggs

When thirty-four-year-old Ms. Shibata gets a new job to escape sexual harassment at her old one, she finds that as the only woman at her new workplace—a manufacturer of cardboard tubes—she is expected to do all the menial tasks. One day she announces that she can’t clear away her coworkers’ dirty cups—because she’s pregnant and the smell…

Book cover of The Fissured Workplace: Why Work Became So Bad for So Many and What Can Be Done to Improve It

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From the list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book—written by a scholar who also works in government—is both infuriating and enlightening. It takes on the real problem of precarious, poorly paid jobs and, by getting way into the weeds of how companies are organized, gives a clear explanation for how so many jobs became so bad and at least some hope for a policy fix. The root of the problem, Weill shows, is basically outsourcing: large companies hire out jobs (cleaners, security, customer service) to low-paying, often badly managed small companies, and that drives down wages, benefits, and job security. The most insane examples of this occur when laborers are pushed into being independent contractors or franchise owners. Officially they are “small business owners” but in practice, they have no control over their work and no opportunities to grow. The book is full of memorable (and enraging) vignettes and examples, making a dry argument about corporate structure…

By David Weil,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fissured Workplace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For much of the twentieth century, large companies employing many workers formed the bedrock of the U.S. economy. Today, as David Weil's groundbreaking analysis shows, large corporations have shed their role as direct employers of the people responsible for their products, in favor of outsourcing work to small companies that compete fiercely with one another. The result has been declining wages, eroding benefits, inadequate health and safety conditions, and ever-widening income inequality.

"Authoritative...[The Fissured Workplace] shed[s] important new light on the resurgence of the power of finance and its connection to the debasement of work and income distribution."
-Robert Kuttner,…

Intellectual and Manual Labour

By Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Martin Sohn-Rethel (translator),

Book cover of Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology

James Steinhoff Author Of Automation and Autonomy: Labour, Capital and Machines in the Artificial Intelligence Industry

From the list on what automation is.

Who am I?

I’m an assistant professor in the School of Information and Communication Studies at University College Dublin. I’m interested in automation because discussions about it often tend towards ridiculous hyperbole or acritical boosterism. Whether it’s killer robots that terminate humanity or “ethical” AI which raises all boats, discussions about the social implications of contemporary machines often neglect to include the critical analysis of the capitalist mode of production. I don’t think the two can be studied in isolation from one another. 

James' book list on what automation is

Why did James love this book?

This book provides an essential analysis of how value functions under capital—and of what value is, from a lucid historical materialist point of view now called “value-form Marxism”. It shows how “real abstractions” arise, and how abstract entities can have material force. This theoretical perspective explains how and why capital is necessarily compelled to seek increasing automaticity—and to minimize its human component.

By Alfred Sohn-Rethel, Martin Sohn-Rethel (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intellectual and Manual Labour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alfred Sohn-Rethel's Intellectual and Manual Labour is one of the major texts of post-war Marxist theory. A tremendous influence on the central figures of the Frankfurt School, with ongoing relevance to current debates about value, abstraction, and domination, Sohn-Rethel's ideas are here presented at their fullest scope and with their greatest theoretical clarity.

Out of print for many years, this Historical Materialism edition contains a new introduction by Chris O'Kane, an afterword by Chris Arthur, and a compilation of the responses to Intellectual and Manual Labour published in the Italian journal Lotta Continua, including a substantial article by Antonio Negri.

Shadow Work

By Craig Lambert,

Book cover of Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta Author Of Ark

From Elisabeth's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Fairy tale mom Poet Teacher Tea drinker Traveler

Elisabeth's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Elisabeth's 9-year-old's favorite books.

Why did Elisabeth love this book?

This book is one of two of Lambert’s books that I reread often and find myself reflecting on long after finishing it (the other is Mind Over Water, which I wholly recommend too!)

But Shadow Work deserves its place in my top of the year canon because of its clear-eyed, damning look at the many ways we human beings willingly donate our time to businesses by doing the “self-service” things—like self-check at the supermarket, or “please listen carefully because our menu has changed” customer service calling systems—that used to require real human interaction.

This book is a wakeup call and an excellent read about the often-blurred lines between our leisure and our work.

By Craig Lambert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the exception of sleep, humans spend more of their lifetimes on work than any other activity. It is central to our economy, society, and the family. It underpins our finances and our sense of meaning in life. Given the overriding importance of work, we need to recognize a profound transformation in the nature of work that is significantly altering lives: the incoming tidal wave of shadow work.

Shadow work includes all the unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations. It has slipped into our routines stealthily; most of us do not realize how much of it…

The Long Deep Grudge

By Toni Gilpin,

Book cover of The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland

Priscilla Murolo Author Of From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States

From the list on labor history bringing personal stories to life.

Who am I?

I discovered labor history during a decade-long hiatus between my first and second years in college. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading about the past, unless it was in a novel. Then I discovered slave narratives and they inspired wider reading about workers’ lives. I loved both the drama of stories about resistance to oppression and the optimism I derived from understanding working people as historical protagonists. Now, as a professional historian, I often approach the past in a more academic way, but dramatic stories continue to attract me and knowledge that working people united have achieved great things in the past still gives me hope for humanity’s future

Priscilla's book list on labor history bringing personal stories to life

Why did Priscilla love this book?

As a reader of history, I’m often drawn to novels, and when it comes to historical nonfiction, I favor books that combine epic tales with personal drama.

The Long Deep Grudge hits that nail on the head. It recounts the long-running conflict between the Farm Equipment Workers (FE)—a small communist-led labor union—and the corporate behemoth International Harvester. It also features a host of memorable individuals: radical and anticommunist labor leaders, captains of industry, public officials dedicated to preserving private wealth, and rank-and-file workers fighting for power on the job out of love for one another as well as anger at the boss.

Although the FE ultimately fell victim to the Red Scare, this is a fundamentally inspiring book about how much a militant democratic union can accomplish. 

By Toni Gilpin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long Deep Grudge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 Book of the Year * International Labor History Association

Honorable Mention * Philip Taft Labor History Prize

This rich history details the bitter, deep-rooted conflict between industrial behemoth International Harvester and the uniquely radical Farm Equipment Workers union. The Long Deep Grudge makes clear that class warfare has been, and remains, integral to the American experience, providing up-close-and-personal and long-view perspectives from both sides of the battle lines.

International Harvester - and the McCormick family that largely controlled it - garnered a reputation for bare-knuckled union-busting in the 1880s, but in the 20th century also pioneered sophisticated union-avoidance techniques…

Help Mom Work from Home!

By Diana Murray, Cori Doerrfeld (illustrator),

Book cover of Help Mom Work from Home!

Charlotte Offsay Author Of A Grandma's Magic

From the list on picture books to gift for Mother's Day.

Who am I?

I'm a picture book author living in Los Angeles with my husband and two children. I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes and began writing stories for and inspired by them after they were born. Watching their relationships flourish with their grandparents and the grown-ups in their lives inspired me to write books that celebrate family and foster connection. My grandmas both live overseas and I treasure the time I spend with them. Just like my own children, the simplest moments together are the ones I hold onto and carry with me the most. I love books that celebrate these magical relationships and hope these books encourage readers to celebrate their own relationships.  

Charlotte's book list on picture books to gift for Mother's Day

Why did Charlotte love this book?

Have you ever had children around while trying to work from home? Thanks to the pandemic, many working parents have had to juggle even more than usual over the past couple of years. Help Mom Work from Home! is a brilliant ode to that frazzled, sometimes-humorous often-hair-pulling juggling act. Formatted as a step-by-step guide from the kid’s perspective on how to ‘help’ mom while she works from home, it includes tips such as bedazzling her business cards and helping her relax with some yoga moves. This adorable book had my kids and me in giggles and is a lovely way to recognize and show appreciation for all that working moms juggle. ⁠ 

By Diana Murray, Cori Doerrfeld (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Help Mom Work from Home! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mom works at home all week long, and her little one is right by her side. After all, she's a natural boss at organizing, leading meetings, and making calls-or so it seems. But when Mom starts looking frazzled, her little helper knows just how to make it all better.

Diana Murray's rollicking rhyme paired with Cori Doerrfeld's energetic and adorable illustrations will bring parent and child together after a long work day.

Book cover of Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone

Kristen Corning Bedford Author Of A Generous Heart: Changing the World Through Feminist Philanthropy

From the list on changing the way you change the world.

Who am I?

From earliest childhood I have been passionate about creating community, always seeking a sense of place and cultivating belonging. While completing my master's degree in Whole Systems Design, I co-founded a nonprofit which began my 20+ year career in philanthropy. I enjoy examining community-wide challenges and working with others to ask better questions and find the levers for systems change. Never satisfied with ‘the way things are,’ I actively pursue ways to make the world better. I’ve worked for nonprofits and foundations, founded several community initiatives, and held retreats for women philanthropists, all with a focus on being an informed, intentional and joyful philanthropist.

Kristen's book list on changing the way you change the world

Why did Kristen love this book?

This whole book is mindblowing, laying out the ways that the success of our current economic system of work is built on the unpaid labor of women and people of color. The section on nonprofits is essential reading for anyone working or volunteering in the sector. This is not a treatise for not working or quiet quitting; it is a case study of why we work and how we can work better, and surprise surprise, it also comes back to understanding the economics of power and privilege, who is benefiting, and who is being left behind. This book gave me the confidence in my convictions that my work in the nonprofit sector had been contributing to the problem rather than reimagining new ways of being.

By Sarah Jaffe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Work Won't Love You Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A deeply-reported examination of why "doing what you love" is a recipe for exploitation, creating a new tyranny of work in which we cheerily acquiesce to doing jobs that take over our lives.

You're told that if you "do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." Whether it's working for "exposure" and "experience," or enduring poor treatment in the name of "being part of the family," all employees are pushed to make sacrifices for the privilege of being able to do what we love.

In Work Won't Love You Back, Sarah Jaffe, a preeminent voice on…

Book cover of The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters!

Mitch Joel Author Of Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.

From the list on creating content that put your butt where your heart is.

Who am I?

I’ve been creating content since I was a day camp counselor (launching a newsletter for the staff!). Since then, I’ve done everything from interview Motley Crue, Metallica and Nirvana to Tom Peters, Susan Cain and beyond. I started my blog, Six Pixels of Separation, back in 2003 and my podcast (of the same name) is the longest running business podcast in the world. I wrote two books, Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete. With that, I even run a private Facebook group for some of the world’s most known business and non-fiction authors. I’m a word nerd. I collect comics (and graphics) novels and spend too much time reading. I’m also a huge collector of books on writing, how to write, interview with writers, and other content creators. So… what’s going to get your ideas into actionable content? I think these books might help ☺

Mitch's book list on creating content that put your butt where your heart is

Why did Mitch love this book?

This is not an easy book to find. It’s a small and short hardcover book where famed management legend, Tom Peters, lays out the how to turn your personal brand (and your work) into a project… but not just any project. Tom believes that every aspect of your work should be a Wow! Project. The book is 50 easy-to-grasp sections that have, without a doubt, changed my approach to everything from writing an article to starting a business. This book is a hidden gem… I’m quasi-mad that I’m sharing it publicly, it’s been a great secret advantage. ;)

By Tom Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Project 50 (Reinventing Work) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The common denominator/bottom line for both the professional service firm/PSF and the individual/Brand You is: the project. And for the cool individual in the cool professional service firm there is only one answer: the cool project.
A seminar participant said: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." So, how many of you are at work -- right now -- on "mediocre successes"? At work on projects that won't be recalled, let alone recalled with fondness and glee, a year from now?

We don't study professional service firms. (Mistake.) And we don't study WOW Projects. (Worse mistake.) There is, of course, a…

Book cover of Splat the Cat Gets a Job!

Cathy Ballou Mealey Author Of Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle

From the list on entrepreneurship and jobs for kids.

Who am I?

I have never picked a peck of pickles, but I have been a crossing guard, pet-sitter, and professional gift-wrapper. I’ve worked in department stores, banks, libraries, colleges, and even a middle school cafeteria. Every job has taught me about the value of hard work, allowed me to pursue a passion, and inspired me to connect with all kinds of people. My current job - picture book author - is my favorite! I write to empower and inspire readers with new ideas and encourage them, like my characters, to succeed by maintaining a positive attitude and a growth mindset!

Cathy's book list on entrepreneurship and jobs for kids

Why did Cathy love this book?

When Splat gets a newspaper delivery job, he finds it isn’t easy work! From getting up early and not hitting the snooze button, to tossing the papers accurately onto each neighbor’s doorstep, Splat struggles to succeed. Splat’s good friend Kitten helps him invent solutions for each and every challenge, and their teamwork ultimately saves the day. This easy reader encourages kids to ask for help and find solutions to their problems while still getting the job done.

By Rob Scotton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Splat the Cat Gets a Job! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You know Splat the Cat from his bestselling picture books and phonics fun in Level One readers. Now get ready to graduate with Splat into Level Two readers!

This all-new I Can Read features splat-tastic inventions as Splat tries his paw at a new job—newspaper cat.

Splat is so excited to be the new newspaper cat! But getting up super early, keeping track of all those papers, and delivering to all those houses sure isn’t as easy as it looks. With help from Kitten, and some cool inventions, can Splat figure out how to toss papers like a pro?


The End of Loyalty

By Rick Wartzman,

Book cover of The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From the list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book captures the decline of the traditional job—stable, well-paid, with a good chance of moving up—between World War II and the end of the 20th century. Wartzman is a clear, engaging writer who tells gripping stories about workers, bosses, chief executives, and politicians to explain what the old “social contract” between big companies and American society was, and why it disappeared. But he’s also particularly good at not overly romanticizing the earlier era, when huge swaths of people—like women, people of color, immigrants, the disabled, and others—were cut out of the workforce by prejudice and racism. This book makes business and labor history engaging and entertaining, even while it will make you mad about how bad things have become.

By Rick Wartzman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of Loyalty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this richly detailed and eye-opening book, Rick Wartzman chronicles the erosion of the relationship between American companies and their workers. Through the stories of four major employers--General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, and Coca-Cola--he shows how big businesses once took responsibility for providing their workers and retirees with an array of social benefits. At the height of the post-World War II economy, these companies also believed that worker pay needed to be kept high in order to preserve morale and keep the economy humming. Productivity boomed.

But the corporate social contract didn't last. By tracing the ups and downs of…