"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." - Bertrand Russell

Work is one of the most universal features of human life; virtually everybody spends some part of their life at work. It is often associated with tedium and boredom, in conflict with the things we would otherwise love to do. The idea of work primarily as a burden was also shared by the philosophers in ancient Greece, who generally regarded work as a curse. And yet research shows that it prolongs life and is generally good for people’s physical and mental health. Why is this? What is the meaning of work? To what extent does it determine our social identity? Should we expect to find work fulfilling?

In this book, Lars Svendsen explores these questions and more. He argues that we need to complete this reorientation of our feelings about work and collapse the differences between leisure and work. Work is always with us. But to overcome the sense of being burnt out, we must think of work as not only productive but recreative – in other words, a lot more like leisure.

Revised and updated in light of the global financial crisis, this second edition also includes a new chapter on work and globalization.

chapter |14 pages


chapter 2|22 pages

Work and meaning Two

chapter 3|10 pages

The distribution of work Three

chapter 4|18 pages

Work and leisure Four

chapter 5|16 pages

Being managed Five

chapter 6|12 pages

Getting paid Six

chapter 7|16 pages

Work in an age of affluenceSeven

chapter 8|10 pages

Work and globalization Eight

chapter 9|10 pages

The end of work?

chapter 10|10 pages

Life and work