Reading List

I Do Not Dream of Labour: A Reading List

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Higher education is often pitched as a path to land you your dream job - but what if you don't dream of labour?

After a period of seismic changes in the labour market, young adults are questioning and rejecting the ideas around work that they have been fed throughout their lives, starting with the “dream job”, hustle culture, and #girlboss feminism. The phrase ‘I have no dream job, I do not dream of labour’ has become a launching pad for these discussions around shorter working weeks, anti-capitalist feminism, and envisioning a world without work.  

We have curated a radical reading list that responds to these ideas and offers ways of reframing what work is, in order to imagine fairer and more fulfilling ways of living. 

All books are 40% off as part of our Student Reading Sale. Ends September 30 at 11:59PM EST. See all our student reading lists here.

Economic growth isn’t working, and it cannot be made to work. We need to break free from the capitalist economy. Degrowth gives us the tools to bend its bars.

An actionable plan to save the earth and bring the good life to all!

Required reading for anyone seeking out an alternative to #girlboss feminism.

“I want everything, everything that’s owed to me. Nothing more and nothing less, because you don’t mess with me.”

Read the first two chapters of this explosive novel here.

We are told that the future of work will be increasingly automated. Algorithms, processing massive amounts of information at startling speed, will lead us to a new world of effortless labour and a post-work utopia of ever expanding leisure. But behind the gleaming surface stands millions of workers, often in the Global South, manually processing data for a pittance.

A radical and pragmatic manifesto for tackling the interconnected crises of contemporary capitalism: work, care and the environment. The time we spend at work is neither natural nor inevitable. Instead the amount of time we spend working is a political, cultural and economic question. 

A bold manifesto for life after capitalism. Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams demand a postcapitalist economy capable of advancing standards, liberating humanity from work and developing technologies that expand our freedoms.

Breaking Things at Work is an innovative rethinking of labour and machines. Leaping from textile mills to algorithms, Mueller argues that the future stability and empowerment of working-class movements will depend on subverting these technologies and preventing their spread wherever possible.

Erik Olin Wright has distilled decades of work into a concise and tightly argued manifesto analysing the varieties of anti-capitalism, assessing different strategic approaches, and laying the foundations for a society dedicated to human flourishing.

Kate Soper offers an urgent plea for a new vision of the good life, one that is capable of delinking prosperity from endless growth. Instead, Soper calls for renewed emphasis on the joys of being that are currently being denied, and shows the way to creating a future that allows not only for more free time, but also for fairer and more fulfilling ways of working and existing.

In Automation and the Future of Work, Aaron Benanav uncovers the structural economic trends that will shape our working lives far into the future. What social movements, he asks, are required to propel us into post-scarcity, if technological innovation alone can’t deliver it? In response to calls for a universal basic income that would maintain a growing army of redundant workers, he offers a counter-proposal.

McCluskey explains how being a trade unionist means putting equality at work and in society front and centre, fighting for an end to discrimination, and to inequality in wages and power.

Bastani conjures a vision of extraordinary hope, showing how we move to energy abundance, feed a world of 9 billion, overcome work, transcend the limits of biology, and establish meaningful freedom for everyone. 

Say the word “work,” and most people think of some form of gainful employment. Yet this limited definition has never corresponded to the historical experience of most people—whether in colonies, developing countries, or the industrialized world.

Feminism shouldn’t start—or stop—with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist. 

Anyone committed to working towards justice and freedom should be in support of the sex worker rights movement.

“Crucial reading ... for all those who have ever punched a clock.”—International Labor and Working Class History

What if the organising principle of our society was care instead of profit?

"Read this and move from a scarcity/charity mindset to one of abundant solidarity!” – adrienne maree brown, author of Pleasure Activism

All books are 40% off as part of our Student Reading Sale. Ends September 30 at 11:59PM EST. See all our student reading lists here.