What We Are Reading Today: A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind

Updated 23 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: A World Without Work by Daniel Susskind

A World Without Work is an excellent and timely piece of analysis by Daniel Susskind, who with his father Richard wrote the seminal The Future of the Professions (2015), which explored the impact of digital technologies on employment in the professions.

Anthony Seldon said in a review for newstatesman.com that Susskind “looks at past predictions with a skeptical eye, noting that many earlier warnings of widespread unemployment and disaster were proved wrong.” 

Seldon said Susskind “is far from convinced by a recent survey of leading computer scientists, which concluded there is a 50 per cent chance that new technology will outperform human beings at ‘every task’ within 45 years. Nor has he any truck with the hotheads preaching imminent disaster. He argues that many jobs existing today will not vanish completely and new ones will be established, including those we have not yet imagined.”

The book’s title “is either a threat or a promise, depending on your point of view,” critic Dorian Lynskey commented in a review for theguardian.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849 by Joseph Frank

Updated 03 April 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Dostoevsky: The Seeds of Revolt, 1821-1849 by Joseph Frank

The term “biography” seems insufficiently capacious to describe the singular achievement of Joseph Frank’s five-volume study of the life of the great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. One critic, writing upon the publication of the final volume, casually tagged the series as the ultimate work on Dostoevsky “in any language, and quite possibly forever.”

Frank himself had not originally intended to undertake such a massive work. The endeavor began in the early 1960s as an exploration of Dostoevsky’s fiction, but it later became apparent to Frank that a deeper appreciation of the fiction would require a more ambitious engagement with the writer’s life, directly caught up as Dostoevsky was with the cultural and political movements of mid- and late-19th-century Russia. Already in his forties, Frank undertook to learn Russian and embarked on what would become a five-volume work comprising more than 2,500 pages. The result is an intellectual history of 19th-century Russia, with Dostoevsky’s mind as a refracting prism.

The volumes have won numerous prizes, among them the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, the Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association.

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