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20190929 – End of Work



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The main point of this book is that the work one does because he/she loves it is not really work, but rather enjoyable application of one’s energy. The consequence of increased prosperity is ability of people to do what they love, so the work would not feel like work, constituting therefore the end of work. The most important extension of this idea into the future is that non-routine works like sports, games, cooking, and such could provide joyful employment allowing doing what they love for people who will lose their jobs to automation.



Author starts this with description of the band in which players reached retirement age, but continue perform because they love what they do. It leads to the statement: “The central message of this book is that you’re not lazy, you’re simply in the wrong job. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Successful people will tell you that success springs from the pursuit of all kinds of work—with lots of failure in the process”. So author promises: “Whatever you’ve been told and whatever you believe about yourself, you have within you the work ethic, intelligence, and charisma that you marvel at in others. What’s missing is the kind of work that inspires the heroic effort of which you’re capable. I’m going to show you that that work is within your grasp and how to recognize it. Truly, the end of work is near.

CHAPTER ONE: Why College Football Players Should Major in College Football

This chapter is about Football players that make millions, but have to go through college, pretending that they learn something else. Author’s recommendation is to teach football as a profession.

CHAPTER TWO: Intelligence and Passion Don’t Stop at Football

This chapter is about basketball and baseball, both being also a pretty good source of income for top players. In addition author refers to book “Moneyball” and discusses high levels of special intellect required to be successful in all these games.

CHAPTER THREE: Education Isn’t Meaningless, But It’s Grossly Overrated

This chapter starts with very wise quote from Ludwig von Mises: “The successful conduct of business demands qualities quite other than those necessary for passing examinations—even if the examinations deal with subjects bearing on the work of the position in question.”

Then author proceeds to demonstrate using a few examples how musicians with no formal musical education like Beatles not just achieved huge success, but also changed how music is played. In addition to Beatles he discusses Rolling Stones and their impact on popular music. Author also brings in a few more examples like Brothers Wright, a few movie starts, Internet personalities and so on. The main point here is that education follows technological and cultural breakthrough rather that creates them.

CHAPTER FOUR: What Was Once Silly Is Now Serious

This chapter presents more examples of people following their dreams and doing what they love and achieving huge success. This time it is about cooking, restaurant business, and, once again, more actors that achieved success. One point added at the end of chapters is that new technology allows everybody make movie and post it on YouTube, or some equivalent for other professions, so barriers to entry become lower every day.

CHAPTER FIVE: Abundant Profits Make Possible the Work That Isn’t

The chapter starts with reference to high performing businessmen: Goizueta, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and others who used their money for all kinds of charity, in process creating lots of jobs in non-profit organizations. Similarly author points out that without high profit there would be no high culture such as symphonies, universities, and such.

CHAPTER SIX: The Millennial Generation Will Be the Richest Yet—Until the Next One

Here author moves to discuss complains of current generation that they could not find jobs adequate to their education levels. He looks at this and other generations after WWII and concludes that they all were richer than previous ones, albeit not right away, but after some struggle.


Here author retells his story as college graduate of 1992, the time before Internet. Unlike ancient times when people were happy to find good enough jobs to earn living, author and his generation spend years or even decades looking for jobs that they would enjoy and make lots of money. In author’s case the search was successful.

CHAPTER EIGHT The “Venture Buyer”

Author starts this chapter with discussion of well known fact that nobody knows the future and government bureaucrats is not any better at predictions than capitalists. However people in free market environment evolutionary selected for their ability to move quickly to catch up in time with any new technology, trend or fashion making money from successful innovation. It is not only in production, but also in consumption. People with money, author calls them Venture buyers, buy new and exiting staff and if it is any good, promote it to everybody, consequently increasing demand, which in turn initiate economy of scale and improvements making this staff more and more effective and less and less expensive over time.

CHAPTER NINE: Why We Need People with Money to Burn

This is another bunch of examples that rich and semi rich spenders move progress either by using their wealth to invent things like brothers Wright, manage creation of new consumer products like Steve jobs, or do something else productive.

CHAPTER TEN: Love Your Robot, Love Your Job

Here author refers to the work of Henry Hazlitt and links his book to it:” I make three arguments in this book. First, everyone is intelligent in his own way. Second, everyone has a huge capacity to work if his work is matched with passion. Third, economic growth will allow work and passion to become one and the same for the greatest number of people. That’s why Hazlitt’s insight is so important. An “economy” is nothing more than a collection of individuals. When we take our economic thinking down to the level of the individual, we discover the secret to roaring economic growth: No individual is made more prosperous if local, state, and federal taxes shrink his income. What governments spend represents lost spending and savings for every individual.”

After that author moves to discuss technology and productivity growth that made contemporary world wealthy and his believe that it should cause game change from what it is now when people often do work they hate to the new game when people do what they like. In his opinion it would be world without laziness.

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Come Inside and Turn on the Xbox, You Have Work to Do

Here author recounts how in contemporary world people make good money playing golf, poker, or some X-box games. He presents the idea that such games require support like caddies who are high-level professionals in their own right and discusses real life examples at length. The inference from this is: ” The United States is already becoming a nation of happy workers, but we’ve only scratched the surface. The end of work has in a sense already arrived, but it could be so much better if our government taxed and spent more sensibly. You’re not lazy, you’re not stupid, and you’re not bereft of talent. You, like so many others, simply suffer a capital deficit. That can change if we demand that it change. If that happens, a life of enriching work will be our reward, and a certain reward for our children.”


Nice try, but somewhat light on thinking. At no point author try to compare numbers of jobs that will be lost to automation with number of jobs real or potential that could be created by sports, entertainment, and other areas that author believes susceptible to joyful working. The way reality looks now is that productive work removed by automation will be substituted not by some joyful jobs allowing people to play while working, but rather some miserly handouts like guarantied income and/or by soul killing miserable jobs of filing slots in some bureaucratic structure that pays better than this guarantied income in exchange for mindless conformity. I believe that there are better ways. These ways are not about doing something that one likes, even if nobody wants to pay for it, but rather about everybody having equal rights to natural resources including our biological DNA, cultural, and technological heritage so that people capable create wealth in amounts higher than average would have to buy rights for use of it from people who produced less than average.

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