For centuries we've believed that work was where you learned
discipline, initiative, honesty, self-reliance--in a word,
character. A job was also, and not incidentally, the source of your
income: if you didn't work, you didn't eat, or else you were
stealing from someone. If only you worked hard, you could earn your
way and maybe even make something of yourself.
In recent decades, through everyday experience, these beliefs have
proven spectacularly false. In this book, James Livingston explains
how and why Americans still cling to work as a solution rather than
a problem--why it is that both liberals and conservatives announce
that "full employment" is their goal when job creation is no longer
a feasible solution for any problem, moral or economic. The result
is a witty, stirring denunciation of the ways we think about why we
labor, exhorting us to imagine a new way of finding meaning,
character, and sustenance beyond our workaday world--and showing us
that we can afford to leave that world behind.