Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dying for a Paycheck: Why the American Way of Business Is Injurious to People and Companies” as Want to Read:
Dying for a Paycheck: Why the American Way of Business Is Injurious to People and Companies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dying for a Paycheck: Why the American Way of Business Is Injurious to People and Companies

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  71 reviews
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by HarperBusiness
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dying for a Paycheck, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dying for a Paycheck

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  414 ratings  ·  71 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dying for a Paycheck: Why the American Way of Business Is Injurious to People and Companies
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swap
Really good thoughts and research but a dry and dense read. Too many numbers data hidden in paragraphs. I think I would have liked it more if it was bulleted out and written like more of a business white paper instead of a thesis. But interesting none the less.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You will have to take this rating with a grain of salt. I am not really sure exactly how to rate this book but hopefully I can describe why.

The information in this book is so, so important and really blew my mind when I started learning of the research into healthy workplaces, job control, and workplace stress during my MSc courses last year. It made everything that ever frustrated me about work neatly fall into place. This book summarized pretty much everything I knew or suspected and a bit mor
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I finished Dying for a Paycheck a few days ago but I haven't stopped thinking about it. It's one of those books that stays with you, and makes you see things in a different light. Yes, as other reviewers note, it's written academically, with a lot of figures and analysis within the text. But it's so striking how much external stress affects our health, and how much of that stress is inflicted on us for arbitrary reasons. So many things could be done differently, from the way that healthcare is l ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
A whole book on toxic work environments and why stress in the workplace reduces productivity and causes health-related issues and not a single mention of how the macro-economic system, - i.e. capitalism - rewards employers who create these toxic work environments. His solution: "All that companies need to do... is to understand what I have presented in this book - details about the work environment that cause the most harm - and then work to change them..."

Yes, Mr. Pfeffer, companies just need t
Theodore Kinni
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most depressing business book ever...and a must read. My review for strategy+business is here: ...more
Ian Hamilton
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dying for a Paycheck is largely dry and redundant. The first half to two-thirds of the book consists of Pfeffer regurgitating quantitative data on job-related fatalities, injuries, lost productivity, etc. He exhaustively cites the same data points over and over again and belabors the obvious. He also repeatedly only references a handful of companies throughout the book, those that are both injurious and those that are more forward thinking in terms of employee support. The one saving grace is th ...more
Christine Heron
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I skimmed this book looking for some hard data to use in my argument for streamlining work hours. There’s an entire section devoted to “long and irregular” work hours harm health.” Quite honestly, the book supports almost every reason I have for streamlining hours of operations in a public library.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Strong book. Wasted a bit of time showing all of its work (in a very academic way). I got impatient with it -- I was like, "I get it, layoffs are very unhealthy. Layoffs kill people. Get on with the rest of your point!" on a few occasions. But overall, I think the thoroughness is necessary, because the book is suggesting that we rethink the culture and policies that surround how corporations relate to labor. Also, the examples given in the book were shallow and common; I wish there could have be ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting although at times a dry read because it is written almost like a scientific paper. At the same time, it is these scientific references that make up a staggering stack of evidence about how work affects health and what companies can do to alleviate its impact. I was very surprised with some information gained from research and feel like I now understand better how to manage work.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, but slightly depressing book about where businesses will go on their race to the bottom.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
depressing to read the reality.
TEELOCK Mithilesh
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management
In this book, the author highlights the management practices that are generally accepted but very harmful for the employees, and in turn reduces their output and affects the company as a whole. He speaks on practices managers should adopt instead to create a healthy working environment for everyone.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Super interesting but soooo many facts and figures and anecdotes that it was hard to process in a casual read sort of way.
Interesting premise and well researched... But it's dull and dry reading... Like a textbook. Just not my thing. ...more
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-reads
Interesting and timely study.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was working for MGM in the early 2000s, the management treated the employees so poorly. I saw how the toxic environment actually ran a fellow coworker to her death. She received so little sleep and was under so much stress that she got into a car accident that killed her on the way home.

This book highlights how certain workplaces are as harmful as secondhand smoke. There is a strong link between the amount of stress and a person's decline in physical and mental health.

Businesses must be
Nick Dutton
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book does a great job of discussing economic realities of our current job market. It discusses how the excessive stress of jobs leads to health problems, both physical and mental. How the poor pay that people receive contributes to stress in and out of the workplace. How tying health insurance to jobs hurts the economy by keeping people in jobs they don't care about, reducing productivity. How single payer insurance as well as the concept of finding a way for private industry to internalize ...more
Craig Becker
Oct 17, 2020 rated it liked it
The book is a traditional book outlining the many problems that exist. He documents how we work too much at the expense of our health. He also highlights that organizations don't do enough to help us improve our well-being. He also shows that when organizations help their employee's improve their well-being, it has a positive effect on that organization. Benefits to the organization come from retention, recruitment, satisfaction quality, customer service, quality of life and also profits. He doe ...more
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was written by an academic for an academic audience. The author repeatedly stated that workplace makes individuals safe through management practices, lack of variety in health insurance plans, and other benefits that support workplace longevity, productivity, and efficiency. He hammers the point about stress from the workplace as the cause of poor health outcomes. His analysis covers the impact of social relationships (i.e., friends, family, neighbors, etc. ) on stressors from the work ...more
Sebastian N
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was filled with compelling research for the long term benefits in investing in long term well-being and health for the employees, which evidently also leads to much higher financial rewards. Despite this, many individuals and companies are still driven by short term interests, sacrificing the well-being of others for a pile of cash in this now, instead of a larger pile of cash in the future without any human sacrifices (generally speaking). This of course tells a lot about the underlyi ...more
Michael Mullady
This book spends most of its time being extremely honest and somewhat depressing. But it’s also not a ton of new information. At least if you really either work or pay attention to the working world.

The book does a good job of focusing on the fact that employee health and organizations unhealthy practices are a global problem and not only related to the US. Some how not surprising that China is a clear country of concern as well.

The bright lights used as examples are also sadly a small and con
An important and valuable book about the huge human and economic cost of working conditions in the U.S., and what can be done to remedy it. The author draws a parallel between environmental pollution and what he calls “social pollution” . The former is subject to myriad controls and regulations, whereas the latter is often ignored, when companies put their employees under great stress and provide little or no health coverage they are creating a costly problem which society as a whole must pay fo ...more
Alexander Moriarty
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book does a great job of interpreting, for the layperson, the statistical causes of stress at work on healthcare costs, as well as laying out the case for why employers offset a lot of healthcare costs back onto their workers—or ultimately the healthcare system itself. It achieves that goal admirably, and in that sense is a success.

There are only a few pages of recommendations for individual workers seeking to cut systemic stress at work, however, and it ends on a pretty realistic note (nam
Kevin Rhodes
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is so much to this book that it’s hard to know what to say about it. If your business is business, or if you do business with business, and if you’re a worker now or ever have been, of if you know or have known someone who is … and if you care … then there’s something here for you. The book is brilliantly conceived, rich with anecdotal examples and scholarly research , and concisely and clearly written from the perspective of someone who is both level-headed and passionately committed to b ...more
Richard Franco
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good but rather depressing book about the workplace. Much of what was written I was somewhat familiar with, but never read a comprehensive and stark detail of the costs and human toll of life that companies exact on their workers. Working in a high stress job that focuses on metrics to a fault, I can empathize with many of the descriptions in this book. I would recommend this book to all as I think that the only way these practices will ever change is if they are brought out into the light. Co ...more
Matt Fitz
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was data dense, but purposely so. There is a large body of evidence presented that points to what most people probably know and experience: Our American way of business: human resources management, gig economies, alternative work arrangements, seasonal/part time work creates a lot of economic instability and from there a lot of economic insecurity. And the indirect consequences of economic insecurity is poor health management, poor health choices, and poor health itself.

Good read for p
Steve Granger
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important and timely book on the growing necessity for us to up our game in confronting the significant impact that work has on health and well-being. Jeffrey Pfeffer is a strong and persuasive writer that is adept at framing issues in such a way as to make them a target of investigation and intervention. Anyone interested in (un)healthy work should give this book a read as it is one of Pfeffer's best to date. ...more
Felipe CZ
Many people can relate to this book. Stress from unemployment, overwork, and bad jobs in general, affect health negatively. From heart attacks to depression, millions of people are affected so much that it is the fifth highest cause of death in the US and millions die in China for the same reason. But it doesn't have to be that way. Giving employees control over their work, as well as more social support and better workplaces, it will allow people to prosper. ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly researched look into how modern business and management practices and cultures are literally killing people, and when they aren't killing them, doing a great amount of harm to human health, dignity, and prosperity. It's not all doom and gloom though - Pfeffer offers a number of solutions, including case studies of how these solutions are working in the real world, at successful organisations. Highly recommended. ...more
Kelley Smith
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Listened to audiobook. So, I cannot tell the quality of references, etc. I'm giving it five stars because there is so little information on this point of view, and I think the author shows some real courage to publish on this topic. It just can't be an easy subject for a business professor to approach. There are some redundancies... but such a need for the overall message to be heard by a wide audience. ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need
  • Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Is Conquering the World
  • Alternity
  • The Book Business: What Everyone Needs to Know®
  • Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
  • It Won't Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching
  • The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty
  • Scarlet Moon: A Retelling of Little Red Riding Hood
  • Midnight Pearls: A Retelling of The Little Mermaid
  • The Light Princess
  • Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us
  • 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
  • Marlon James Collection 3 Books (A Brief History of Seven Killings: WINNER of the Man Booker Prize 2015, The Book of Night Women, John Crow's Devil) Boundle
  • She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History
  • Tendre Violette 3: Malmaison
  • Me and My Sewing Machine: A Beginner's Guide
  • Het paradijs
  • De Lijst, Eet jezelf gezond(er)
See similar books…
Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of thirteen books including The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First; Managing with Power; The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action; Hidden Value: How Great ...more

News & Interviews

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
87 likes · 13 comments
“One study of relatively highly paid contractors in Silicon Valley found that free agents didn’t really feel free because of the need to be always searching for their next gig and therefore frequently took less leisure time than regular employees.” 1 likes
“Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger found that the proportion of people working in alternative work arrangements had increased some 50 percent in the ten years from 2005 to 2015. Moreover, “94 percent of the net employment growth in the US economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.”4” 0 likes
More quotes…