- Verlag: Time Warner AudioBooks; Auflage: Abridged (April 2001)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1586210580
- ISBN-13: 978-1586210588
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 10,8 x 1,9 x 17,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 3.161.047 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Free Agent Nation: How America's New Independent Workers Are Transforming the Way We Live (Englisch) Hörkassette – Gekürzte Ausgabe, April 2001
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The ideal in the 1950s was to work for one employer, to be loyal to that employer and to receive loyalty in return. Steady progress would follow as seniority grew. Keeping the ship afloat came before the individual's needs. This world was described in the classic book, The Organization Man by William H. Whyte, Jr. Since then the world has changed quite a bit, and Daniel H. Pink's Free Agent Nation is the conscious updating of the working ideal to reflect today's growing free lance economy. This ideal emphasizes freedom, work satisfaction, flexibility, accountability, self-defined markers of success, and being authentic in your own eyes. It's the ultimate of wanting to do good and to do well.
Mr. Pink draws on his own experiences, hundreds of interviews with free agents, qualitative surveys, and his review of the literature on this subject to weave together the best integrated story on how independent work is becoming a norm as well as an ideal in the United States. Mr. Pink's strength is that he is a great communicator.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
Where it is a bit weaker is on the parts where he tries to overgeneralize. While for some jobs, this is obviously an option, not everyone can be a free agent. Less qualified, less secure or less ingenious people will find it hard, and I'm not sure you could build a society based on free agents. Think of the potentials for tax fraud! It would be a kind of anarchy and that usually ends badly.
Where it is worst is on the website related to the book. Although I contacted Mr. Pink twice, the page has been down and continue to be down, so the web references in the book are not usable, especially the Free Agent Nation Aptitude Test and Instinct Collector (FANATIC). Sorry, Mr. Pink, but that won't do. If you reference something like this in your book, you should make damn sure that it will be available as long as the book is sold. That explains why I give it only 3 stars.
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This is not a book you can polish off in an hour or two. It is difficult to convey in a brief review the depth and richness of Free Agent Nation.
Pink demonstrates that free agents are a large and growing share of the work force. He describes some of the economic forces contributing to this phenomenon, but he finds that free agents themselves explain their reasons for leaving the corporate world in psychological terms: a desire for freedom, authenticity, accountability, and flexible concepts of success.
Pink shows that free agents have their own unique perspectives and solutions to such challenges as security, workplace relationships, career advancement, and work-family balance. For example, he describes the way that peer networks are providing the type of career support that formerly came from within large corporations.
Whether you like it or not, the gravitational forces between individuals and large corporations are weakening. In the future, how will business be re-organized? How will the economy function? Daniel Pink asks the big questions, and he comes up with a lot of fascinating answers. I expect Free Agent Nation to become the most talked-about nonfiction book of the year.
Our lives have changed substantially since William Whyte wrote The Organization Man in 1956. The work environment experienced by today's generation-and tomorrow's-is radically different. Instead of being captives of the organizational mode, income-earners are now free agents, including some 30 million freelancers, temps, and microbusiness owners. The lifestyles and philosophies of this growing group will impact the labor pool, retirement, education, real estate, and politics. Daniel Pink's name will go down in literary history for Free Agent Nation because he has so effectively covered the underlying philosophy of a generation.
Free Agent Nation, an engaging, smooth read, is organized into five parts. The first part introduces us to what Free Agent Nation is all about. Chapter 2 gets right into "Numbers and Nuances" to give the reader a deep understanding. Chapter 3 explains how free agency happened. "Four ingredients were essential: 1) the social contract of work-in which employees traded loyalty for security-crumbled; 2) individuals needed a large company less, because the means of production-that is, the tools necessary to create wealth-went from expensive, huge, and difficult for one person to operate to cheap, houseable, and easy for one person to operate; 3) widespread, long-term prosperity allowed people to think of work as a way not only to make money, but also to make meaning; 4) the half-life of organizations began shrinking, assuring that most individuals will outlive any organization for which they work."
Part Two explores The Free Agent Way, the new relationship between worker and employer. Part Three gets into How (and Why) Free Agency Works. Pink explains how people get connected-with work opportunities and with each other. While many free agents work alone, they are not alone. There is a growing community of mutually-supportive independent members in an evolving new design of society. But, all is not rosy in Free Agent Nation; this is not Camelot. Part Four examines the problems that arise from laws, taxes, and insurance. An interesting chapter (13) on Temp Slaves, Permatemps, and the Rise of Self-Organized Labor reveals the seedier side of this picture. Pay careful attention, and you can almost feel the changes that are coming.
Part Five engages The Free Agent Future. Chapter 14 addresses E-tirement, confirming that older members of our society will be playing much different roles than in previous generations. The chapter on Education gives some initial insight into some different approaches to lifelong learning. Educators take note: your lives will be changing . . . are you ready? Concluding chapters explore free agent finance, politics, and how free agency will influence commerce, careers, and community in the years ahead.
With all that said, let's take a look at who the author is and how this book was put together. Daniel Pink is a former White House speech writer and Contributing Editor to Fast Company magazine. To research this topic, he invested more than a year on the road conducting face-to-face interviews with several hundred citizens of the Free Agent Nation. He met with real people, who are quoted and cited by name in most cases. The text comes alive with the insightful stories of people who are living-and often loving-their free agent status. These case studies are beautifully interwoven, producing a delightful fabric for the reader to caress. Warning: you'll find your mind leaving the page and floating into day dreams and contemplations numerous times.
To bring readers back to the reality of the core of his treatise, Pink concludes each chapter with what he calls "The Box." Included in this one-page-per-chapter feature are the key information and arguments of the chapter. The four components of this summary box are "The Crux," a summary of 150 words or less; "The Factoid," a particularly revealing statistic from the chapter; "The Quote," which pulls one representative quotation from the chapter; and "The Word," a novel term or phrase from the new vocabulary of free agency. As the author explains, "Read only "The Box" and you'll miss the chapter's narrative and nuance-but not, I hope, it's point."
An appendix on the free agent census and a good index complete this book. If you're ready to learn about the evolution and revolution in the world of work, this book will be a treasure for you.
If you want to understand the current revolution in the workplace, read this book.
If you think you might be interested in being a Free Agent, study this book!
If you're trying to make it as a Free Agent, DEVOUR this book.
Thanks for all your hard work, Dan! I can never thank you enough!!!
Think of the individuals who provide the standard information we depend on -- those working for the mega-corporations that control TV, magazines and newspapers; the professors at universities and the consultants at large firms; and the public information officers working for the government -- as people whose very view of the world is supported, both economically and contextually, by the many concentric rings of a tree (their employer). These rings show the tree is many decades old, and planted firmly in the ground.
One who is attached to such a solid, massive, rooted tree would hardly notice the slender, fresh young shoots popping out from the ground far below, even if those shoots are numerous in the tens of millions. Individually, they're just too tiny.
Dan Pink's book is about the growing power, influence and population of those fresh young shoots. Even to acknowledge the validity of his premise shakes the big trees in a frightening way, down to their core foundations.
I know whereof I speak. Until 1985, I was a tiny tendril of a branch of one of the great old trees. It was in 1985 I left my post as McGraw-Hill's World News San Francisco Bureau Chief. I know how to "wear the hat" of old-tree warrior-reporter.
For 16 years I have been a free agent (I didn't know to call myself that until I read Pink's cover story in Fast Company). It was always curious to me that wearing my corporate newsman's hat, I could never see me writing about someone such as myself in my current incarnation -- solely because, as a free agent, I didn't have the institutional affilation (that is, I wasn't part of an old tree) which was needed to be seen by the media as credible.
Of course, those things have changed somewhat in 16 years, as Pink so skillfully documents. But here's the most important point -- a few days ago, the government (one old tree) reported that in the previous month there was a huge wave of corporate layoffs (from another old tree), and expert economists (working for yet other old trees) announced that now we're in a recession, making their announcement through, of course, the mass media (yet another group of old trees).
They may be right. They may be wrong. But their measurements are focused on a decreasingly important part of the economy. And, what is more, nobody factored into those measurements of economic movement what the 30-million-plus free agents had been up to during the same previous month.
I dwell on these points because they illustrate how revolutionary -- in, I might emphasize, a pro-capitalist, economy-expanding way -- the book Free Agent Nation is. Many people aren't visionary enough to understand yet how well Pink has adduced a blueprint for the future in this book. But if you're interested in this book, you probably have enough of a sense of where we're heading to realize we will become a much less institutionally determined, and a much more individually negotiated, economy and society.
Whether you are of the old tree persuasion, between trees, a free agent, or "other," you'll get a radical reframing of your view of the world by reading this well researched and brilliantly thought-through book. The information in Free Agent Nation is valuable for your own career planning, and for all of your outside business dealings. That it's amusing is merely a plus.
But don't expect the reporters collecting paychecks from the most respected business publications and highest-circulation newspapers to give you glowing reviews of this book. Or even to step outside themselves to see what it says. Because what it says is too damned threatening for them personally to give it a fair shake.
The Moment of Truth came when the pressure of politics and long days caught up with him. He had a fainting spell. He very nearly puked on the Vice President. And he decided that maybe there was a better way to live his life.
Daniel quit the organizational life to work as a freelance writer. He got work right away. Having the White House on your resume usually helps with things like that.
He worked out of his home and pretty soon he noticed that lots of friends and neighbors were starting to do the same thing. "Aha!" he thought, "this could be a trend and I could write a book about it."
And so Daniel set off on a year-long jaunt around the country. He interviewed lots of folks. He researched the statistics on independent workers in the US. And he wrote his book. The book is a mixed bag.
On the upside, Pink has done a good job of pulling together a lot of different sources. He's interviewed a lot of people and he's the kind of writer who can make the results of those interviews sing. Those individual portraits are the strength of this book.
Would that he handled the statistics as well. In the early part of the book, Pink sets his work up as a sequel to William H. Whyte's Organization Man, one written for our times. The rigor of Pink's research and his use of statistics suffer from the comparison.
There's a certain amount of Statistical Voodoo here. In the quest to figure out just how many free agents there are we're presented with lots of different estimates from several different sources. Numbers are adjusted up, down and sideways. In the end, Pink tells us that there are about 33 million free agents in the US.
He divides those free agents into three groups. There are soloists. He's one of those. There are microbusinesses. Those have three or four employees. And there are temps. About 3 million of the 33 million are temporary workers.
That's one weakness of this book. Including temps, who have different problems, prospects and possibilities takes attention away from the other free agents that Pink gushes about.
Did I say "Gushes?" Yep. Sure did. Pink thinks that being a free agent is just the neatest thing in all the world and he obviously wants you to think so, too. For Pink free agency is the wave of the future, a New Agey kind of approach to work where everyone (except temps) wins almost all the time.
Nonsense. I've been one of those free agents for a long time now. Many of my friends qualify, too. We make a wonderful living at it, but we've all seen enough folks start out on the free agent journey to know that lots of them end up as road kill.
To succeed as a free agent takes talent and discipline. It takes a willingness to be totally responsible for your results that not everyone is willing to shoulder. It's, very simply, not for everyone.
You won't hear much of this from Pink, though. He doesn't seem to talk to many folks who've tried and failed. And he hasn't been at it long enough himself to remember the legions of folks who call and write and email because they "want to do what you do" and then dwindle down to a precious few who are still at in years later.
Granted, Pink was writing while the dot-com, new economy bubble was still round and full, but that doesn't explain why he simply leaves out mention of data (decline in business startups, for example) that don't support his conclusions or people (Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, for example) who don't agree with his assessments.
I found that I loved the stories and interviews, but that I was increasingly put off by the analysis. Every time Pink moves to analyze what he found the language changes to something like a revival tent or a commercial break. That may be designed to make his concepts easy to remember, but it just made me tired and crabby.
Read this book for well-written stories about people who are charting their own course as free agents. But skip the analysis until the next time you're in the mood for a theological argument.
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