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Richard Donkin uses his years of experience and the benefit of hindsight to paint a picture of how the next few years of work would look like. Will the fusion of work, rest and leisure still be a source of tension then as it is now? With the wave of technology only getting stronger and stronger, will people still be going to offices and factories? Will there still be fewer women than men in executive positions? What of the youth? Will there even be jobs or will machines totally have replaced human labour?

Will Donkin’s definition of work; “Something we would rather not be doing,” still hold true?

Needless to say, the power of the internet is an overarching theme in this book. He draws from real-life events such as the role an army of activists organized through web-based social networks played in getting President Obama to the Oval; and how the power of the internet has changed the nature of representative democracy and governance.

How, for example, will the fact that much of the internet’s social and information-sharing structure does not belong to some grand strategy or political power broker, but instead that it relies on sparks of innovation, affect the nature of work as we know it today? What of the influence of collective volunteerism as seen in the case of Wikipedia and so much more.

He is however unequivocal on one thing;

“No matter how successful it (internet) becomes in replicating our everyday existence, the virtual world of the internet will never replace the vital, living, breathing, sensory experience of human interaction.”

This is a thorough and riveting book that inspires as much as it enlightens. Take for example his view on the certificates we get from school. It is these certificates that employers use to make their judgements about one’s suitability for a given job. Yet, the truth is, rarely do those certificates we labour for tell employers about our creativity or problem-solving skills. They instead are mere testaments of one’s ability to remember facts.

This book is about work and the way it is evolving and Richard’s assertion is that we must also evolve to meet the grand challenges of the future.

REVIEW BY AURA BILLY OSOGO

 

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