8 Books on the Future of Work

Shane Neubauer
Jan 30 · 7 min read

If you ask a friend what the future of work looks like, you may get one of a number of different responses. Some people imagine the dystopian, Matrix-like future where the machines have taken over. Some people prefer to imagine a more happy and flexible scenario, with colleagues operating remotely. What’s the correct answer? Well, only time will tell, but to get a sneak peak into what the experts are saying, we’ve collected a range of books to help you understand what the future likely holds, and be successful in it.

Source: Unsplash.com

Some of these books will alert you to the shocking changes that may lie ahead. Some of these books are a manual for how to deal with some change that is already upon us. All of them are worth a read. See you in the future!


The Great Fragmentation

And Why the Future of All Business Is Small
by Steve Sammartino

Why read?

The Great Fragmentation is a business survival manifesto for the technology revolution. As entrepreneurs and startups enabled by access to technology become genuine threats, existing businesses need to understand how to position themselves to survive and thrive.

As the world moves from the industrial era to the digital age, power is shifting and fragmenting. Power is no longer about might and ownership ― power in a digital world is about access.

This book discusses the history of work since the industrial revolution, and draws a clear trend that leads us into the future. Many of the changes mentioned in the book are already being realised. This is a must-read!

288 pages, Wiley 2014

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Rise of the Robots

Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
by Martin Ford

Why read?

We all know that technology is getting eerily good at doing the things that humans have been doing for a long time. So, will robots eventually take over? Will we lose our jobs, or will new ones be created?

Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making “good jobs” obsolete: many paralegals, journalists, office workers, and even computer programmers are poised to be replaced by robots and smart software. As progress continues, blue and white-collar jobs alike will evaporate, squeezing working- and middle-class families ever further.

Rise of the Robots is essential reading to understand what accelerating technology means for our economic prospects and for society as a whole.

368 pages, Basic Books 2016

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Superintelligence

Paths, Dangers, Strategies
by Nick Bostrom

Why read?

The question we’ve all been asking: Will AI really become all-powerful and take over the world? Nobody knows for sure, but this book offers a deeper insight into just how that might work, how we might get there, and what are the dangers along the way.

Superintelligence asks the questions: What happens when machines surpass humans in general intelligence? Will artificial agents save or destroy us? Nick Bostrom lays the foundation for understanding the future of humanity and intelligent life.

390 pages, Oxford University Press 2016

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It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Why read?

Long hours, an excessive workload, and a lack of sleep have become a badge of honor for modern professionals. But it should be a mark of stupidity, argue Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Sadly, this isn’t just a problem for large organizations — individuals, contractors, and solopreneurs are burning themselves out the same way. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours — it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress.

The authors have a notorious and impressive track record of running a successful multi-million dollar SaaS business, and also publishing fantastic books. So, take that as a sign that this one should find a place on your shelf.

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Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

How to drive your career and create a remarkable future
by Seth Godin

Why read?

As the world of business and technology changes around us, and ‘cogs in a machine’ jobs are being automated more and more, how do we remain relevant as individuals?

Linchpin digs deep into uncomfortable territory, but ultimately provides a brightly valuable perspective on work and career. Do you want to be replaceable? Or do you want to be a linchpin?

Linchpin is about becoming indispensable at work and breaking out of the scape of following the instruction manual.

This is an important read for anyone, and just as relevant for ‘right now’ as ‘the future’.

256 pages, Piatkus Books 2012

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Gigged

The End of the Job and the Future of Work
by Sarah Kessler

Why read?

One in three American workers is now a freelancer. This “gig economy” emerged out of the digital era and has revolutionized the way we do business. From the Uber driver who uses his own car to make some extra cash in the evenings, to the computer programmer who decides which projects she wants to work on for clients, the gig economy is bringing a new level of flexibility, and with it a number of new challenges too.

In the tradition of the great business narratives of our time, Gigged offers deeply-sourced, up-close-and-personal accounts of our new economy. Journalist Sarah Kessler follows a wide range of individuals from across the country to provide a nuanced look at how the gig economy is playing out in real-time.

Kessler wades through the hype and hyperbole to tackle the big questions: What does the future of work look like? Will the millennial generation do as well as their parents? How can we all find meaningful, well-paid work?

288 pages, St. Martin’s Press 2018

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The Future of Work

Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization
by Jacob Morgan

Why read?

Throughout the history of business employees had to adapt to managers and managers had to adapt to organizations. In the future this is reversed with managers and organizations adapting to employees. This means that in order to succeed and thrive organizations must rethink and challenge everything they know about work.

The Future of Work digs in to the dynamic of employers and employees, managers and leaders, and explores how we need to begin to view these relationships into the future.

Reading this book will help you to think more critically about how you structure your teams and your business, and how professional relationships will begin to transform.

256 pages, Wiley 2014

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The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting

A New Operating System for Organisations: What it is and Why it Works
by Steve Morlidge

Why read?

It’s natural for business practices to evolve or transform over time. One example of this is the agile methodology. We design and discover new ways to move, but often there are other business practices that get left behind. Over time this can hold a business back.

Budgeting and business accounting is certainly one of those areas. Who thinks about it these days? Well, as it turns out, as businesses become more agile, the whole suite of business processes need to be redesigned too, including accounting.

The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting is an accountant-cum-entrepreneur’s handbook to help entrepreneurs navigate this very topic.

This small but serious handbook fills in the gaps in awareness and understanding by answering the question what is Beyond Budgeting? in a clear and succinct way to help managers make informed choices about business processes, as an alternative to blindly copying what has always been done before.

90 pages, Troubador Publishing Ltd 2017

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PM Library

Over 200 curated books that everyone who builds products should read

Shane Neubauer

Written by

PM Library

Over 200 curated books that everyone who builds products should read

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