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Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  50 reviews
"With deep reporting and graceful storytelling, Sarah Kessler reveals the ground truth of a key part of the American workforce. Her analysis is both astute and nuanced, making GIGGED essential reading for anyone interested in the future of work." --Daniel H. Pink, author of WHEN and DRIVE

The full-time job is disappearing--is landing the right gig the new American Dream?

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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Peter Mcloughlin
Capitalism uses cutting edge technology to screw workers. Old Wine, New Bottles. Uber, Mechanical Turk are innovative methods for pushing down wages, shedding benefits, putting all risk on workers in the name of being your own boss as an independent contractor. You are scrubbing toilets for less money and security but guess what, your an entrepreneur in the new economy.
Phil Simon
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
A few years ago, I thought about writing a book on the gig economy. On many levels, I knew that it was going to be a big deal and recent events have only underscored its importance.

I'm glad that I didn't.

I couldn't have done a better job than Sarah Kessler did. A gifted storyteller, she adroitly stitches together facts, key court verdicts, and human stories. This is no screed against the future of work. At the same time, though, Kessler asks tough questions about what we
...more
Stephanie Buck
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jimmy Liu
Decent reporting. Unfortunately, she constrains herself to popular cliches about labor economics, though she questions her orthodoxy a few times. Also, she greatly exaggerates in her Chapter 12.8 reference. The abstract: "This article uses various micro data sets to study entrepreneurship.
Consistent with the existence of capital constraints on potential entrepreneurs,
the estimates imply that the probability of self-employment
depends positively upon whether the individual ever r
...more
Maciej Nowicki
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gig economy is about the use of assets in different ways. I can give two quick examples of that. Think about Uber which allows people to turn their private car into a temporary taxi. The common business model for a taxi is quite different. It used to be that taxi had to be a registered vehicle, you have to pay to get the license to become a taxi driver, buy insurance and so on. Now, the technology which has allowed cars to become taxis is part of what explains why people are temporarily becoming ...more
Charles
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a factual background, I must state that I left a full-time job in the first months of 1998 and became a player in the gig economy. However, I spent a year researching and saving for the move and when I left I had over $10,000 in work lined up and 11 days of vacation pay coming to me. I was successful in my endeavors until I was persuaded to take another full-time job several years later. Therefore, I have some experience in working and not knowing precisely what I would be doing in three mon ...more
Lisa Kranz
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The shift of risk has been subtle in our society. This book puts it into terms that are easy to understand. It is very interesting!
Austin
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Any economy is built by humans, and this book is about them'. I love this as a catchphase and as a good reminder to all of us working on these topics to always think about the human impacts. I am involved in policy research in this area for work and it can get so big and messy that it’s easy to forget that we’re really talking about people at the beginning and end of the day. I appreciated the human stories in the book most of all, as Kessler spends enough time with the people working in this t ...more
Marks54
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a well done and fairly up to date look at the phenomena associated with the “gig” or “sharing” economy, a set of developments in the organization of work that are turning individual people into individual independent contractors rather than more traditional employers. This model has become popularized by such firms as Uber and AirBnB although it has been around for a much longer time, especially since the fallout from the waves of mergers and acquisitions that hit the US economies i ...more
Daniel
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The gig economy has been there for a long time, but it was really brought to the mainstream by Uber. Kessler has investigated it on the frontline with a few gig workers. There is the highly skilled programmer who liked the flexibility and challenge of gig programming and it works for him. There is an Uber driver who earned big bucks at first but struggled as Uber slashed prices. There is a woman doing mechanical Turk work for pennies and helped her family survive when her husband lost his job. S ...more
Kislay Chandra
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, technology
Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work, is written by Sarah Kessler, a reported at Quartz who writes about the future of work. Gigged sheds light on a very important change in our world today, the nature of work. Jobs, as they used to be, perhaps 20 or 30 years ago, are not the same anymore. You were hired by a company for a specific skill set, you worked 40 hours a week (or so), you were paid and you received a host of benefits. The nature of work is changing, and while this change w ...more
Chris Jaffe
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overview of the pros/cons of the new sorts of jobs being created in the 21st century. The early part of the book reads a bit booster-ish, as Kessler notes what the Silicon Valley and venture capitalists think of it all, and how it's oh so wonderful. But Kessler doesn't just look to the industry leaders. She also makes contacts with a handful of people doing gig work, and one person trying his own gig startup. From there, the view looks different. One gig-er has a really positive experienc ...more
Melinda
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fascinating and covered a lot of points of view. It recognizes that people without basic skills are still going to be at a disadvantage in a world where work is easier to connect to online; they're competing now with online workers on other continents instead of with just the poor in their own town or county. The author uses the term, "traditional work", to refer to the American union/healthcare/retirement fund/unemployment insurance/OSHA enforced/pension/limited work hours/minimum wage ...more
Louis
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
Sarah Kessler’s Gigged: The End of the Job and the Future of Work examines the rise of the so-called “gig” economy and the ramifications for workers. The story is complicated and there have been winners and losers, even among workers themselves.

Some have definitely benefited from the flexibility and stayed afloat financially, while a number of others are barely getting by. Likewise, a number of companies have bad reputations, deservedly or not, for their employment conditions. However, there is an
...more
Roger Smitter
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uber is doing more than putting taxi cab drivers out of a job. According to author Kessler, the taxi industry is a test-drive (sorry about the pun) of a whole new employment system. She wants us to think deeply about the coming for the new generation.

In the “giged” world, only a few employees will every have a career. Only a few entertainers and sports players have “gig” jobs that come with million dollars paychecks.

This new empl0yment structure has some benefits, especially for young workers.
...more
Steve Heitkamp
A very readable book built around the narratives of various individuals within the gig economy, including those working various gigs (Mechanical Turk, Uber, Gigster, Managed by Q, Handy, etc.). The stories were engaging and effective in pointing out various opportunities and challenges associated with gig work, as well as the differences between grandiose claims by SV companies and the realities of many of the workers.

That said, I'm not sure there was anything that was particularly r
...more
David
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
pretty straightforward rundown of the pros (flexibility, variety) and especially cons (usually no benefits, no security, no stability) of gig jobs, notably Uber but also the bazillions of "uber for...." that mainly constrain costs for employers rather than providing notable benefit to workers.

addresses big picture issues but also follows some specific people who are making it work for them [e.g., a guy with exceptional coding skills] and a few who are struggling.

some pess
...more
David Albán
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An easy to approach, people-focused look into the "gig economy".

First heard of this book through the Data & Society podcast and the result did not disappoint. A really good starting point to understand how labor is changing amidst all the tech driven hype.

Appreciated the perspective that new organizations between labor, government and private industry will take decades to respond to this change wirh an appropriate social change. Hope this report can serve as a starting point for any lookin
...more
Jack Oughton
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, accessible insight into the newly emerging gig economy. Neither too critical nor too praiseworthy, Sarah's talks with various people act as human-led case studies into people doing well and badly in this temp work reality. Quite Uber centric, as you might expect - but with lots of titillating insights into other businesses, both failed and successful. As you may expect, our newly emerging economy will be a blessing or a curse, depending largely on your background and the skillset y ...more
R
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read with depressing discussions about at least a portion of the current job market. Is this really where we are heading? Let’s hope not. Her writing is a warning: The so-called “gig economy” is less about gigs than it is about taking advantage. Let’s fix this before this is forced upon us by the companies claiming to do more with less.

Or.... maybe you should read this while you have that really cool job that you think takes you to retirement with all the benefits possible. It
...more
Sylvia
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting book on the evolving nature of work Heavily researched and noted. Kessler has done her work depicting the gig economy as not all it's cracked up to be. There is an abundance of facts to dispute the value of this type of work The author draws the reader back to when Unions were beginning to form and points to the salient fact that workers are not better off wealth wise. It was quite sobering and makes me want to understand and read more about where work is headed.
Jean-Philippe
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essais
If you thought that the "gig economy" was only for the highly mediated young geek living in Bali, think again, there is much more to the "gig economy" than meets the eye starting with its workers.

This tour of the horizon is good and broad. The book isn't super engaging even though we follow a few gig workers over time in their quest for a decent life, but the depicted situation seems very well documented - it's more a report than an essay and, honestly I liked it like that.
Emma
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good overview of the promises and failures of the gig economy, mainly told through a few people working at Uber, Managed by Q, and a non profit focused on helping folks get jobs in the new economy. A really human look at the VC darling childs and how they continued to perpetuate some inequalities.
Valerie Koh
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!

Good:
- nuanced analysis provides good food for thought for ppl interested in labour relations and inequality
- good writer + draws you in w personal stories
- easy read

Bad:
- nothing much...

Most interesting fact: Germans have a pretty strong communitarian corporate culture (well, as compared to the US; see last few chapters)
Leanne Ellis
Interesting examples, especially for how the gig economy doesn't help low-skilled workers without much technology access. I think elected officials have to be more on-top of how companies do business in their communities instead of responding after-the-fact.

Universal health care would definitely help gig workers and some sort of matching fund for retirement.
Shagufta
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this read by @sarahfkessler exploring the gig economy, the future of work and how for most people, the road to better work is not through apps. This was thoughtful and interesting, full of stories and very engaging, and it helped me put into context some of the other reading and learning I’ve been doing this year about the future of work. Stay tuned for a blog post soon!
Kingsley Oteng-Amoako
This book attempts to isolate how exactly technology might be changing how we work globally. But there are a couple of discussion strands. It’s already decentralized the job market (e.g. where’s home or what do we do to build a company). In spite of, anything else under-the-hood that technology might fix?
Harvey
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book merely states the obvious for anyone (especially millenials) living in the 21st century, with anecdotes to support it. I was expecting more. I was expecting a deeper reflection on what kind of society we want to build, how someone can best prepare himself to thrive in this new paradigm, what other options than day to day survival working shitty jobs one has, etc...
Andrienne
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Freedom from routines and established norms may not be all as it seems. Takes a hard look at what these insta-employees have to give up in exchange for the flexibility and instant gratification. “Like an ATM in your pocket.” Or is it?

Access to review copy provided by the publisher.
Roy Wang
Carefully researched and brilliantly written by the one of the journalists who first reported on the gig economy trend when the term wasn't invented yet, the book shed some much needed light on the sobering reality of working as an independent contractor in this age of smartphones and online platforms. Most of the individuals profiled in the book were eventually disappointed or disillusioned with the lure of "working as your own boss at your own time." Some of the high-flying on-demand platforms, it turne ...more
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“The more I learned, the more I understood that the startup "future of work" story, as consoling as it was, was also incomplete. Yes, the gig economy could create opportunity for some people, but it could also amplify the made the world of work terrifying in the first place; insecurity, increased risk, lack of stability, and diminishing workers' rights.” 0 likes
“Around 45% of accountants, 50% of IT workers, and 70% of truck drivers were working for contractors rather than as employees at the companies for which they provided services.” 0 likes
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