Read Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness by Miya Tokumitsu Online


The American claim that we should love and be passionate about our job may sound uplifting, or at least, harmless, but Do What You Love exposes the tangible damages such rhetoric has leveled upon contemporary society.Virtue and capital have always been twins in the capitalist, industrialized West. Our ideas of what the "virtues" of pursuing success in capitalism have changThe American claim that we should love and be passionate about our job may sound uplifting, or at least, harmless, but Do What You Love exposes the tangible damages such rhetoric has leveled upon contemporary society.Virtue and capital have always been twins in the capitalist, industrialized West. Our ideas of what the "virtues" of pursuing success in capitalism have changed dramatically over time. In the past, we believed that work undertaken with an ethos of industriousness promised financial stability and basic comfort and security for our families. Now, our working life is conflated with the pursuit of pleasure. Fantastically successful—and popular—entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey command us. "You've got to love what you do," Jobs tells an audience of college grads about to enter the workforce, while Winfrey exhorts her audience to "live your best life." The promises made to today's workers seem so much larger and nobler than those of previous generations. Why settle for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and a perfectly functional eight-year-old car when you can get rich becoming your "best" self and have a blast along the way?But workers today are doing more and more for less and less. This reality is frighteningly palpable in eroding paychecks and benefits, the rapid concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny few, and workers' loss of control over their labor conditions. But where is the protest and anger from workers against a system that tells them to love their work and asks them to do it for less? While winner-take-all capitalism grows ever more ruthless, the rhetoric of passion for labor proliferates.In Do What You Love, Tokumitsu articulates and examines the sacrifices people make for a chance at loveable, self-actualizing, and, of course, wealth-generating work and the conditions facilitated by this pursuit. This book continues the conversation sparked by the author's earlier Slate article and provides a devastating look at the state of modern America's labor and workforce....

Title : Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness
Author :
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ISBN : 9781941393475
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness Reviews

  • Roy Lotz
    2019-03-25 19:19

    Maybe anybody can do what he or she loves, but only the wealthy can avoid going into debt to pay for it.I first heard of Tokumitsu when an essay of hers was being circulating among some friends on Facebook. I was struck by how well she articulated some half-formed thoughts that had lately been kicking around my head, so I immediately got her book. Then, I immediately put off reading it, until now.Tokumitsu’s thesis is that the cultural ideal of doing what you love (DYWL) is, in practice, often exploitative and nefarious. She gives many reasons for this. First, DWYL glorifies certain types of work—almost all white collar—and ignores others. Only certain jobs are believably lovable; other types of work are unglamorous, and thus ignored. Steve Jobs gave a famous commencement speech in which he encouraged the young graduates to follow their dreams; but Apple would be impossible without the thousands of people toiling in factories, cafeterias, and warehouses supporting the visionaries. Another way that DWYL can be exploitative is when it is used to underpay workers. Any musician can tell you that they are often expected to play for free, because they’re doing it out of love and not for money. Unpaid internships have grown in popularity; and academics nowadays often find themselves in underpaid adjunct work, because they’re supposed to be passionate about their subject. These purgatory periods are characterized as paying your dues; and yet studies have shown that, more often than not, unpaid internships and adjunct work don’t lead to full-time positions. I find the situation in academia especially ironic. As a group, academics are some of the most politically conscious, leftist people out there. And yet in academia the pressure to do underpaid work, to personally identify with your job, and to work long hours can be intense. All this is justified with the notion that academic work is more noble than the grubby capitalism of the non-academic world. In the process, however, academics become ideal capitalist workers, doing enormous amounts of work for little compensation. This is “hope labor” at its purest: badly paid work performed in the hope of breaking through to the next tier.In many ways, the DWYL ethic is not so different from the Protestant Work Ethic identified by Weber over 100 years ago. The major shift is that the Protestant Ethic viewed work as a duty, while DWYL sees work as love. Duty isn’t trendy anymore, but self expression is, which is what DWYL is all about. In any case, although the virtues we choose to emphasize have changed, the basic logic of an individualistic, competitive system remain. When you’re living in a supposed meritocracy, the poor can be dismissed as deserving their poverty, and the rich congratulated for deserving their wealth. DWYL just puts a different spin on this. One hundred years ago we might have chosen to emphasize Steve Job’s force of will, penuriousness, or his abstemiousness; but now we talk about his passion, vision, and his courage.Another consequence of DWYL, in Tokumitsu’s opinion, is the culture of overwork. Employers want their employees to be passionate; and the easiest way to demonstrate dedication is to work long hours. This mentality is certainly common in both New York and Madrid; and it is rather strange when you consider that people become generally worse employees when they work longer hours. When you don’t sleep enough, it takes a toll on your health, not to mention makes you sluggish and slow-witted. One of Tokumitsu’s most valuable observations, in my opinion, is that the DWYL mindset seems to devalue sources of pleasure, pride, and love that are not work-related. Under DWYL, finding love in a non-work activity, like a hobby, a relationship, or just relaxing, is frivolous. If you were serious and passionate, you would be paying your dues and working as an intern. Tokumitsu illustrates this with her discussion of the documentary Finding Vivian Maier, in which the interviewees express astonishment and mild disapproval that Maier, who worked her whole life as a nanny, could have been such a dedicated, talented photographer and have not sought recognition.The book ends with a call to make free time legitimate. In order to enjoy free time, we need to be paid decently and to work reasonable hours. We shouldn’t be seen as lazy or insufficiently passionate if we want to be fairly compensated for artistic, academic, or even menial work; and we should have the leisure to pursue interests outside work, since for most of us having a wonderful job isn’t realistic. To accomplish this, Tokumitsu envisions labor movements.These are some of the Tokumitsu’s observations I have found most valuable. For that reason, I think the book is worth reading. But I must admit that, even when I was in agreement, I often found this book exasperating. Without looking at her biography, I could tell Tokumitsu was a recovering academic. The formal writing style, the many quotations and citations, the Marxist bent, and especially the topic of the book—everything belied a recently minted PhD who had felt the pain of the academic job market.There’s nothing wrong with having a PhD, of course. But there is something wrong with writing a book like this in an academic style. The book's subject is accessible and relevant, and Tokumitsu's aim is to spur labor movements. Yet its orientation and tone severely restrict its audience. Her first chapter, for example, is an analysis of two television shows and the way that they portray the DWYL mentality. The analysis was well done, but why on earth would you lead with that?The prose was also a problem for me. I admit I’m especially sensitive to this sort of thing, since I spent a bad year in a PhD program. And I also admit that Tokumitsu is certainly a better writer than the vast majority of her peers in academe. (I’m talking about the humanities, specifically.) I also think that Tokumitsu has great potential. Even so, there are many sentences like this one: “Attending the theatrical performance of one’s child faces long odds against the obligations of capitalist production.”The sentence is irritating in many ways. It is about something intimate, but uses formal language. It is about something concrete, and yet uses abstractions. It turns something personal into something coldly impersonal. Here’s an example of a rewrite: "Making time for your daughter's school play is hard when your boss can email you at any hour of the day.”The Marxist perspective was also unfortunate, in my opinion, because it will further limit her audience. The DWYL mentality afflicts people of all political persuasions; and I think you can see serious flaws in the mentality without being opposed to capitalism itself. Wanting shorter hours and higher pay is pretty uncontroversial, after all.I could go on with this complaining, but I’d better stop. Really, the book is a worthy read. Certainly it will be hard for me to forget Tokumitsu’s insights. And even if the style isn’t terribly accessible, the book compensates by being short. So stop doing what you love, and read this book.

  • KamRun
    2019-04-09 23:08

    مقاله ای درباره کتاب در سایت ترجمان خوندم و بخاطر هم‌نظری با نویسنده، مشتاق شدم کتاب رو کامل بخونم، ولی هنوز نتونستم نسخه الکترونیکش رو پیدا کنملینک مقاله: استثمار به شیوه استیو جابز

  • Monique
    2019-03-30 20:20

    I bought this book the day it came out, about five seconds after reading an excerpt on Jacobin Mag. It's a relatively short book, but enjoyable and relevant. As a PhD candidate who, until quite recently, wanted to try the academic job market, I became increasingly disillusioned with the abysmal working conditions and exhortations from professors that it didn't matter what we were paid, because we "do what we love." This book poses the important question, who benefits from this hope labor, and how can we change the culture to provide less work and more leisure for all?

  • Peter Geyer
    2019-03-31 02:36

    I came across the title of this book whilst reading an online article; curiously enough, the person referring to it doesn't seem to have read it, or at least understood its contents.I couldn't resist buying it, partly because Marsha Sinetar's Do What What You Love And The Money Will Follow had come out around the time I had begun working as a human resources consultant. My work experience prior to that, including relevant studies, went back a further 20 years or more, and had given me quite a different perspective of what work was, and what people thought about it: doing the job without being "passionate" is one way of describing it.I ended up testing out Sinetar's dubious proposition as an independent consultant and found that, with very few exceptions, people were doing what they loved, but not accumulating funds because of that.This is one of the threads of Miya Tokumitsu's slim and very readable book. She writes about the lack of employment, even for college (university) educated people, the casualisation of academia, the exploitation of young people in the insidious (to me) practice of internship, the people who have to work several jobs but still can't make ends meet, the people who work long hours (proudly so in the case of some organisational icons) notwithstanding decades-long data that says that doing so isn't exactly a smart thing to do, for employer or employee. There's also the growing surveillance of workers at any level, linked in with the-long discredited but still popular presumption that hours worked is a reliable guide to productivity. Some time is spent on the surveillance of and assessment of teachers, a process that hasn't anything to do with learning unless you think it's simply a factory operation and everything is inputs-outputs. Obviously (to me and to this author, anyway) working long hours means you're paid much less than you think, not much more than someone handing out coffees at a Starbucks. Anybody I worked with in organisations could have told you that, of course. One thing peripherally dealt with here is the fear of having your services terminated because you're not doing the long hours, or you're on holidays, or ill. Interestingly enough, there's a suggestion that all these long hours or processes don't have an aim of being efficient, if you're looking at people's needs, such as dealing with banks, telcos, or government instrumentalities. One might think here of Edward Bernays, the founder of public relations, recently profiled in the English magazine History Today. For Bernays, selling the idea or the product was the aim and words and events were accordingly set up to encourage that, whatever the truth, or even dangerousness of the product. The language of spokespeople for any kind of organisation essentially follows this trend, even if only to obfuscate.Tokumitsu's references are excellent, from the popular field of TV programs like The Good Wife (which I haven't seen) to Max Weber's Protestant Ethic and The Rise of Capitalism, Keynes, Marx, The New Deal, the unduly influential Benjamin Franklin, continental thinkers like Guattari and Deleuze (who actually make some sense here) and several other astute references and critiques of growth-oriented capitalism, consumerism (this being the only area where there may be actual freedom – of choosing whatever product there is for you to select).I began this book waiting in a lecture theatre for a talk by David Stuckler from Oxford University, the title of which was The Body Economic; Why Austerity Kills, also the title of a co-authored book. He provided evidence on what seemed intuitively obvious (to me) – that cuts to health and education funding are counterproductive in many ways (these two areas have a return on investment of 1.7, so therefore a multiplier, whereas the usual practices don't even get close to parity). Stuckler also pointed out that austerity measures leas to a rise in suicides and other social problems, which makes you wonder why people inflict these things on the citizenry. Perhaps the social contract is broken, who knows?Anyway, this is a very worthwhile book, one of several around at the moment, it seems that point out how the economic, political and social emperor has no clothes, apart from places like Finland, and other European countries. It focuses on the US because that's the way of the world in publishing, it seems, but the astute citizen can easily relate what's being said to their country and others; certainly that was what I was able to do.

  • Kaia
    2019-04-17 00:21

    Tokumitsu argues that the "Do What You Love" approach to work is actually pretty harmful (think about different motivational slogans--"do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life!"). First, it is only generally applied to privileged groups of people and values white collar/creative work above all others. Second, it can actually be used to undermine workers. Your job isn't just a way to provide for yourself and your family, but needs to connect to a higher purpose. It can be used to underpay and undervalue employees and demand more work out of them (if you truly love it, you'll accept this pay/check your email at home/work 65 hours this week/freelance...and you'll be thankful for it). It can also lead to dissatisfaction--don't love your job or can't figure out what you're passionate about? Now it feels like some sort of failing, if you work identity isn't tied up in some grander sense of self. One of the most interesting concepts was that of "hope labor." In a profession, there may be a small number of well-paid, stable, interesting jobs, and then a large pool of people doing very similar work in less stable and lower paying conditions, with the hope that if they put in their time, they'll make it into one of those golden positions. Think about tenured professors versus adjuncts or unpaid interns, willing to do the work and asked to act happy and grateful about it because they have hope that one day they'll move ahead.For what it's worth, Librarianship is definitely a "Do What You Love" profession. I'd love to have more conversations about what this means for the profession and how we talk about our work.

  • Romany
    2019-03-26 23:23

    Eminently readable critical text. Work is a scam.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-18 00:27

    Interview with the author:

  • Jacqueline
    2019-04-03 21:09

    It was thought-provoking, but the Jacobin essay would have sufficed.

  • Vivian
    2019-04-07 21:28

    This book explores the concept of Do What You Love, which sadly can only be lived by people of better economic statuses. For the majority of the people, they would be constantly trapped in the rat race of working endlessly in the illusion of attaining a better life. At the end of the day, no one really wins.

  • Eric Rickert
    2019-03-28 18:33

    Hate when depressing, conspiratorial thoughts are proven accurate. Is that all there is?

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-27 01:15

    This book is short, which is both a major problem and a strength. The organization of the book is noticeably weak. Tokumitsu presents many examples of how much damage the ideal of "do what you love" (DWYL) is doing, and it's not always clear how her various points relate to each other. (Chapter Two, "The Mirage of Autonomy," is interesting, but feels particularly scattered.) The author covers a lot of territory in less than 300 pages: the pressure to continually craft a public identity through a job that you are constantly passionate about, the increased "de-skilling" of professional positions, the growth of a two-tiered labor system in which the bottom tier (unpaid interns, adjunct professors, temp workers, etc.) is distracted by hope of promotion to the top tier from advocating for themselves, and more. Although she includes plenty of notes and references for readers who want to pursue this further, I wished she'd taken the time to go into some of her arguments more deeply.Still, brevity works for this book. With so many points to make in comparatively little space, Tokumitsu rarely lets her writing bog down. Because it's so short and the arguments are so concise, it's a quick read and a good starting challenge to the near-unquestioned acceptance of the DWYL mantra. I won't try to summarize Tokumitsu's points any more than I already have—the book description does a decent job of that. But despite its flaws, I want to run around telling most of my friends to at least start reading this—even if you don't agree with Tokumitsu, she's made many points worth considering.

  • Trevor
    2019-04-17 23:09

    - I stumbled upon Tokumitsu's do-what-you-love (DWYL) critique on Jacobin ("In the Name of Love"), and decided to read her book. While not entirely convinced that the book is a clear upgrade over her article, I'm still glad I read it. I've been looking for a thoughtful counterpoint to the DWYL rhetoric, and Tokumitsu delivers. Her arguments are bolstered by thoughtful reasoning, substantial research, and excellent prose.- Tokumitsu critiques the DWYL philosophy from a strongly leftist perspective, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I personally wished that the political overtones were more subdued. Many people, particularly Millennials like myself who are barraged with DWYL messages constantly, would benefit from the well-reasoned critique Tokumitsu provides here, but I fear her own politicizing of the matter will turn many away that would have otherwise benefited from hearing it. (This is to say, I don't think I could recommend this book to my conservative friends, which is a shame.) In short, while DWYL rhetoric needs to be critiqued, I don't believe it is the inherently political issue Tokumitsu has made it out to be.- If one is considering changing careers to "do what they love," this book offers a much-needed devil's advocate perspective to temper that important decision.

  • Sean Goh
    2019-04-12 18:09

    This book was brought to my attention through this article.Probably will make you a cynic about most work within the first 30 pages. Still completely worth the read. You have been warned.___Franklin's virtues of honesty, punctuality, industry, frugality etc. are virtues because they are coloured with utilitarianism. These virtues shape and are shaped by capitalist enterprise. The capitalist spirit puts man in service of his work, whereas previously this relationship was the reverse. Weber: A state of mind as that expressed by Franklin, and which called forth the applause of a whole people, would both in ancient times and the Middle Ages have been proscribed as the lowest sort of avarice and as an attitude entirely lacking in self-respect.Many of the 'Me' movements of the 1970s focused practitioners on locating some kind of real, authentic me and hence took on a spiritual, righteous dimension. Which is precisely where they join up with teh Protestant spirit of capitalism. If work and the pursuit of captal are righteous, and unceasing self-discovery is righteous, then surely it is ideal to pursue capital while attending to oneself. DWYL thus became not a luxury or a privilege, but a duty and an expectation. It became good.As long as our well-being depends on income, and income, for most, depends on work, love will always be secondary as a motivation for doing it. Encouraging workers to pretend otherwise is disingenuous and exploitative.Invisible workers tend to fall into one of two often-overlapping categories: workers whose labour either operates outside the work ethic or embodies the work ethic's broken promises. For instance, a significant amount of work in the service industry is self-evidently not performed "for its own sake". It's the work we pay people to do so we don't have to do it ourselves, like washing cars or stocking shelves. The other large category of invisible work is work that, no matter how well or earnestly performed, fails to support a financially secure existence.The importance of public presence to our own self-conception becomes especially clear in our reactions to those who are entirely uninterested in establishing public profiles. To actively reject a public presence defined by self-commodification is utterly confounding. No one likes being surveilled. Even workers in the National Security surveillance business resist managerial surveillance of their own work, even when it would materially improve the quality of their work.Whenever institutions are subjected to superficial accountability measures (e.g. standardised testing) without being given actual resources to address deep-seated problems, fraud nearly always follows suit.Jenny Diski observes that the white-collar office has always been a space defined by what doesn't happen there. People work in offices, but there's no real clue as to what they do, unlike people who work in other places, who make things in a factory, mine things in a mine, teach in school, sell things in a shop. Rather, the office is a containment space for all kinds of fetish-worthy objects.DWYL distracts workers with visions of nonexistent autonomy and vague self-fulfillment while persuading them to assume capital's interests as their own. That it shares an orbit with professionalisation, management, and class anxiety is not coincidental. Just like each of these, DWYL is, fundamentally, a form of social control.The salary drawn during a worker's first job upon entering the workforce can affect subsequent earnings throughout their life. Those who earn more at the outset are able to cite their present salary in future wage negotiations, be they for raises or starting salaries in new jobs. In this way, workers build upon their employers' demonstrated testimony of their work's worth.Interns working for low pay or for free relinquishing this particular bargaining chip.Tantalising closeness is the hallmark of second-class labour: it affords workers a clear view of what could be, yet they remain relegated to the frustration zone of so-close-yet-so-far."The overtime exception": it is possible to boost worker productivity by pushing workers to sixty and seventy-hour workweeks for short periods. However, today, the critical 'for-short-periods' qualifier is largely forgotten. It's been long known that at these hours, productivity starts falling off after a couple of weeks. These schedules can even produce negative value, as seen when exhausted software teams lose more ground by making more errors than they can fix in a given time frame.Not only that, several more weeks are needed for workers to recover to pre-crunch levels.The rise of atomising logic (each worker in stiff competition with their peers) coincided with the dwindling power of labour unions overall. As institutions of solidarity that work to establish strict temporal and spatial zones of work and nonwork, unions are in every way anathema to the pervasive control logic embodied by the suspicion that we are in eternal competition with everybody else.Solidarity becomes suspect when each individual views themself as an independent contractor, locked in a zero-sum battle with the rest of society. Every moment not spent working is one someone else is getting ahead. Overwork then, is not a manifestation of passion but of anxiety and alienation.Though we often praise white-collar superwomen who 'never sleep' and juggle legendary careers with busy families, it's actually people with the least money who get the least amount of sleep.The word freedom, particularly in the last decade and a half, has become so overused as to be nearly meaningless. Ironically, it presents itself often in the severely limited form of consumerism - the freedom to choose between Apple or Samsung, all for which we must spend time working. But outside of the marketplace, freedom takes on awesome, almost limitless proportions: freedom to daydream, to give love and care to others, to amble through nature and neighbourhoods, to listen and debate.

  • Albert
    2019-04-10 18:18

    Important reminder of the toxic ideology we've all internalized. Sickening to see the vapid idolization of entrepreneurs, the tone deaf motivational claptrap, and the ceaseless hum of the production/consumption sirens that call us to the rocks with cloying melodies of meaningless (cancerous) economic growth (sorry for the tired allusion). The book kinda loses steam but it's short and well worth the read.

  • David Rankin
    2019-04-01 01:13

    Get it for Christmas for all the twenty-somethings in your life.

  • Dominika
    2019-03-30 20:20

    This is required reading, or at least it should be. DWYL is a cross between Susan Sontag and Freakanomics, citing both cultural and political examples of how the way work is marketed towards us is bullshit. A lot of what is said are things I am familiar with through countless articles critiquing these points, but Tokumitsu brings the perfect amount of vitriol and edge where this becomes an entertaining read. Let's face it, working condition and culture is going downhill and there are a lot of beliefs and behaviors that are used to undermine our right and are not realistic expectations. From lack of breaks to the overuse of temp/intern positions where workers are not or underpaid, to micromanagement and the dehumanization of the worker, things need to change. Admittedly, I'm very lucky to have escaped some of these trappings at the current moment. I was a temp, but that stint lasted 8 months instead of years and years and I did end up getting a job in my field (even if I'm a bit overqualified, but at this point, that's the millennial life). I do have a manager, but she is pretty hands-off and as long as we do our jobs, there's no hassling. I get paid enough, have some great benefits, and get a fair amount of PTO. I like my job for the most part, and while this certainly wasn't what I thought I would be doing, it still aligns a lot with my values and I get the tuition benefits that will allow me to become more actualized. But I am not in the majority.

  • Kareem Taylor
    2019-04-12 00:27

    I once flew from Los Angeles to Singapore to give a speech. While there, I was having horrible jet lag, and had a hard time getting up to speed. This led to me staying in my hotel room until 2pm, and then heading up to the conference center in time for me to speak. While speaking with a colleague, I was complaining about my lack of sleep, the number of flights I'd taken in the last week, and the amount of time it took me to prepare for my speech. In their response they said "Oh, look, I get to travel all over the world and give speeches, my life is so hard." This is where 'Do What You Love and Other Lies about Success and Happiness' touched my soul. It argued this idea that if you don't work in a factory, get your hands dirty, that you are not a worker. That you should be grateful for your position. That you deserve lower wages or paltry rewards because you're privileged. I've come away from this book believing that work is work, regardless of how we look at it. Whether you're "lucky" to be sitting at a computer struggling to write your book, or you're "doomed" to life as a tire-stacker in a factory. Work is work, and you're neither lucky nor doomed in either experience — everyone can and should make money doing something they're good at, especially when they're providing a solution to a problem that needs to be solved. Work is work.

  • Allison
    2019-04-01 01:32

    "Maybe anyone can do what he or she loves, but only the wealthy can avoid going into debt to pay for it.""Hope is such a powerful ideological tool because, cultivated in specific ways, it facilitates identification with exploitative forces rather than the assertion of one's own interests.""Whatever Michelangelo's motivations for painting the Sistine Chapel's ceiling--wages, renown, it's hard to say no to a pope--love for the work of ceiling painting was not among them.""With passion as a new workplace requirement, it needed to be measured in some way, so that the passion of individual workers could be compared and used to mete out rewards and punishments. Enter the managers, who resorted to the laziest, most easily graphable, least imaginative way possible to gauge this intangible quality: hours spent in the office.""Passion is all too often a cover for overwork cloaked in the rhetoric of self-fulfillment.""What is needed, both for individual well-being and the preservation of our natural world, is nothing less than a complete reevaluation of the prevailing attitudes toward and values invested in work."

  • Duane
    2019-04-19 18:23

    This 160 page book is a classic extended essay form, something not commonly found in modern writing. The premise is this: work is not the best use of our time, and companies are malicious in their duping of workers. The concept of passion in the workplace is a subtle bullying - "aren't you passionate about what you do?" implying, of course that your lack of 80 hour weeks shows a lack of passion and somehow makes you inferior, even against the evidence that extended work weeks are bad for employees and real productivity. "Passion is all to often a cover for overwork cloaked in a rhetoric of self improvement." writes Tokumitsu. The conclusion wanders around a bit, but ends up on the idea that because we have the ability to feed and clothe the world, we should just relax a bit with all this capitalism and just take a moment to think...

  • Hannah
    2019-03-25 19:20

    It is a very strange experience to agree with the premise of a book (that the "do what you love" glorification of work is negative and counter-productive) and then disagree with both the supporting evidence (much of it one anecdote and then grand claims without support in history, reality, or social science) and conclusions. I would strongly recommend something like Anne-Marie Slaughter's book instead, which also approaches how we need to remake our conceptions of work but in a much more productive way.

  • Luke Smith
    2019-03-31 22:31

    Short and sweet this identifies the crucial flaw of "do what do love and you'll never work a day in your life". This is, that it takes a company to raise a dream, many of whom are definitely not doing what they love. It also takes a look at how the unpaid internship is a direct by-product of this.

  • Leticia Garay
    2019-03-21 01:33

    Direct. Compelling. Insightful. This book was well-written, comprehensive, yet concise. Although the author was professional in her argument, you could find gems of sarcasm embedded throughout which made the book more personable. Beyond the style, the content was completely relevant to the times and was developed through analysis of historical events, current trends, and examples on both an industrial and individual level.

  • Hannah
    2019-03-29 23:27

    Hope other people read this or have read it so we can discuss.

  • Katie
    2019-04-18 22:31

    “When 100-hour workweeks, a globe roasting in a gaseous oven of carbon and methane emissions, and 85 individuals owning as much as the least wealthy 50 percent of humanity are realities of modern life and not features of some dystopian blockbuster, it’s clear that we’ve reached a number of limits with regard to how we live, work, and consume.”

  • Leslie Graff
    2019-03-22 00:08

    Tokumitsu's message against the whole "Do What You Love" ideology is wonderful! I've seen this popping up here and there but I feel like we can't get enough of it right now to counter the opposing message that if you just follow your heart - or your bliss - all will be wonderful with the world. Yep, no...I particularly loved what she had to say about the academic job market and the problems of encouraging people to get PhDs in today's economy and state of higher ed. At times, the book does read like a disjointed group of academic essays, especially when you slog through the analysis of TV characters. It just felt like a mediocre grad student essay there, but overall, there's so much more here. I enjoyed the analysis of the ideology and putting it into a historical context. I'm not sure this would be a book that would convince young people they're wrong to pursue their dreams of being a YouTube star, but it's perfect for those of us who have come out the other side, a little bruised and battered but a whole lot wiser about our professional lives.Overall, a book that needs to be read by academic and career counselors, students who are open to it, and all of us realizing that we have to be smart about making career moves that pay off and find our bliss once the bills have been paid.

  • Ryan Routh
    2019-04-16 02:28

    There are some people that might enjoy this book, but I suspect that they are few and far between – I certainly wasn’t one of them. Tokumitsu’s book starts with an interesting concept – one that I personally was sympathetic toward (as a friend of mine says “they call it work … if it was supposed to be fun, they’d call it something else”). And it has promising moments in the introduction and in other passages. But unfortunately, the book is marred with significant problems that makes it barely readable. The first significant problem is that Tokumitsu views all of the problems with the Do What You Love ethos through a leftist-marxist lens – the writing has a political bent that is overbearing at times. Sometimes this is just annoying – at one point she mocks the world for “dawdling” by not trying to capture the energy of the sun as quickly as possible. She wants a reconsideration of Wages for Housework and guaranteed minimum income policies and is obligated to mention every few pages how the topics she discusses might harm women disproportionately. These are annoyances, but ultimately this extreme political bent significantly harms the book’s purpose. Indeed, ultimately this is not a book about problems with the DWYL idea. This is a book about the arguments about the DWYL ideal that can be made if one is committed to consistency with leftist/Marxist philosophy. So the idea that workers might be imposing DWYL thinking on themselves isn’t even considered – it is taken as a given that they are being tricked into it by those nasty capitalists. Tokumitsu also seems careful to protect sacred cows on the left. When complaining about the rise of the intern class, I expected to see Tokumitsu skewering publishing, journalism, fashion, and entertainment industries for espousing center-left views while at the same time exploiting their interns. But Tokumitsu completely ignores WHO is doing the exploitation in that instance – apparently because it is more important to protect her ideological allies than actually explore the ideas her book purports to explore. Indeed, through much of the book Tokumitsu employs the old leftist trick of being vague about who the enemy is. While “capitalism” and “capital” and “corporatized feminism” are all to blame, Tokumitsu never gets specific and actually names an oppressor -- this means she never has to be specific about how that party is actually oppressing its workers. We never really hear about WHO within the capital structure is pushing this philosophy (yes, she mentions Steve Jobs, but little else). If DWYL truly is the strategic play of corporate America, where is the evidence? Where are the interviews with those in corporate America where they admit to this? Where are the sources from corporate papers, websites, employee manuals, etc? There are no specifics in this book.A second major problem with the book is that this is first and foremost an academic paper (with all of the negatives that go along with that) that has been partially converted into a nonfiction work. The book is jargon-filled. This is annoying. But more problematically, it has apparently been written in an attempt to impress other academics that the author is actually familiar with many of the authors cited. If I was grading this “paper,” I might give Tokumitsu an “A” grade, but the incessant need to quote, ascribe credit to ideas, reference decades- or century- old work to twist ideas makes the writing horribly clunky. The reader gets the distinct feeling that Tokumitsu isn’t trying to make the best or most interesting arguments, but is instead trying to prove how many sources she has read.A third huge problem is how the book veers off-topic on more than one occasion. With the book barely clocking in over 150 pages, there isn’t really a lot of time to waste straying off topic. Sometimes Tokumitsu simply makes weird choices – Tokumitsu takes the position that America’s views toward work are best elucidated by the attitudes of a CBS drama (The Good Wife!) and uses up many of her pages attacking this paper tiger. This choice was just odd and led to a few extremely boring pages. But other times Tokumitsu seems to simply want to launch an attack on center-right policies. So we have a multi-page complaint about overtesting in United States’ public elementary and high schools (when she brought out the obligatory leftist mention of Finland to compare educational systems, I laughed out loud but was hardly surprised). She ties it to her premise by arguing that because of testing, teachers have less autonomy, and this makes their job less enjoyable, and only DWYL is tricking them into staying – something like that. I had a hard time caring.If you have a friend that is a leftist academic that wants a brief survey on the problems with DWYL philosophies without any underlying evidentiary citations, this is for them. The rest of us should save our time and money.

  • Danny
    2019-03-26 20:21

    I won this book as part of Goodreads Giveaways. First a pro, then a con. Pro: Throughout the book, the author used interesting anecdotes in an attempt to present and support her ideas about some of the indirect or unnoticed dangers or costs that the "do what you love" clarion call has on individuals and community. For example, in setting up her thesis in the introduction, she quotes the great artist Michelangelo saying, "I am not in the right place--I am not a painter (p. 1)," pointing to the fact that even a heralded artist who we would assume had a passion for painting did not see his work as his "passion." "Perhaps what's so shocking for us to hear is that even for this great artist, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one of the most beloved artworks in the Western canon--was a product of labor: both the anxious, self-doubting mental labor of planning and organizing such a complex work, and the aching, sweaty labor of applying pigment under papal directive (p. 2)."Con: For me, the author's argument about the dangers of the "do what you love" pursuit fell short because of some of the weak examples (such as relying on the show the "Good Wife" to support her case) and weak correlation of studies and events. The author tried hard, but I did not come away convinced, for example, that those choosing to work long and late hours are really in it out of love for their job or in a real attempt to try and secure a future position that would encapsulate their passion. I felt she chose to paint with a broad brush too much.I gave this book a 3 star, "Liked It," rating more for the unique anecdotes and for some golden nuggets of inspiration that can help me and communities to be kinder to and more aware of others than for how well the author's thesis and supporting evidence were presented. One of my favorite of these golden nuggets was the author's note about "visibility and invisibility." The author's point with this is there are those who work long hours to be seen by others, a "badge of courage," in their pursuit for success. Then there are those who work long hours to make enough just to have a roof over their head and to put food on the table for survival. Which of these two types of people are celebrated and recognized more often in society? Those who are not working long hours for survival. "Behind every superworker who garners breathless praise for single-handedly, unsleepingly having built something are the unmentioned service workers who woke up even earlier so that they could pour white-color heroes coffee (p. 142)." Continuing in this same vane, "Numerous ideological lenses exist that allow us to view this reality in favorable ways. Nostalgia allows us to consider the dignified waiter in the Viennese cafe not as a worker but as an ornament, part of the overall ambiance (p. 143)." I wrote the following in my book margin: "SEE THE INVISIBLE!!!!" We all, with our many family, work, school, and community responsibilities, are easily distracted from really noticing others and treating them as we would want to be treated. As a result of this book, I look forward to doing better in my own life of seeing others as others (with trials, hopes, dreams, etc.) and not just as background noise or something else that can benefit me in my own life pursuits.

  • Alicia Fox
    2019-03-25 22:17

    Tokumitsu puts into words why I've hated every job I've ever had and why the thought of ever again having to get a *real* job fills me with dread."Today, one must be seen in the public sphere in order to exist."DWYL "falsely ascribes 'choice' as the ultimate cause of every single condition of individuals' lives."Lovable work = visible work.Tokumitsu's easy-to-read book covers some broad concepts which exist in late capitalism--mainly, that work no one can love is dismissed in the popular mindset as if it doesn't exist, that we're each responsible for our success and happiness, and that altruism/love of the job should guide us rather than money."Passion is all too often a cover for overwork cloaked in the rhetoric of self-fulfillment."'s hard for me to think of anyone who wouldn't like this book.

  • Dave Ricchiazzi
    2019-04-02 21:32

    Enjoyed this one quite a bit. "Do what you love" as a mantra leaves much to be desired in terms of groups rather than individuals. Viewing only passionate and visible professions as worthwhile leaves a lot of people in some strange failure zone with respect to their primary income method. Tied up with the American sense of hyper-individualism (i.e. the myth of the self-made man) it teases out some of the nuances with our relationship to work, work ethic, and how we think about our jobs.Put into words a lot of ideas I've had kicking around for some time. Felt like there could've been more said in some sections however, as if the book wasn't a complete thought.Very interesting to imagine a labor movement in the past which was primarily about increasing wages and reducing worker hours due to technological advances. Nowadays, the idea that technology would equal less work is almost completely eradicated: it simply means more time to do other work. Would love a renewed labor movement based around reduced work and consumption balanced by full employment, but "growth" is too sacred a cow to fully combat at this time.

  • Kait
    2019-04-12 00:11

    While you will definitely be interested in this book if you are just starting out in your career, really it is a book for everyone who works (so…I think that covers pretty much all of you?). I hesitate to tell you it’s about economics and philosophy, because that might scare you off, but Tokumitsu talks about unpaid work, careers based on “passion,” capitalism, and what she calls “hope labour” in an engaging, eye-opening, and meticulously-researched way. I don’t think you’ll look at your job the same way again…and that’s a good thing. If you like this, I’d recommend The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now…it’s a slightly different subject, and more focused on 20-somethings, but will appeal for similar reasons.