Wm's Reviews > The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism

The Corrosion of Character by Richard Sennett
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Dec 13, 08

bookshelves: socio-poli-religio-cultural
Read in December, 2008

Sennett may be a little too nostalgic about unions and hierarchical corporate structures and some readers will not like how he frames his arguments in relation to a few people he meets and interviews, but that shouldn't get in the way of his real achievement here: Sennett brings clarity to why the emphasis on teams and flexibility and leaders who don't take ultimate responsibility but let everything slide off of them confuses, depresses and, yes, corrodes the character of workers, many of whom would prefer more clearly defined roles and processes and some real leadership from their bosses.

Ever wonder why your team leader manages to come out on top even though the project he/she was ostensibly in charge of falls to pieces?

Do you hate committees and team work where more is about how people feel and what the vision of the project should be than, you know, actually doing the work?

Ever been frustrated by new technologies that leave you dependent on others, dumb down your work and don't really produce a superior product to the old way of doing things?

Sennett explains what that's all about. And he does it well. He doesn't provide any major solutions. He doesn't go super in depth with statistics and trends (although there is some of that). But he captures the general malaise of many a moder worker and manages to knead and shape it into a coherent narrative.
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