WORK: A History of How We spend Our Time

Available from  September  3rd 2020 

News, Reviews and Media

Another dutch Interview. . .NRC Handlesblad

Welcome to Holland. My interview with the Financielle Dagblad

Image links to pdf of article.  

An Interview with the Irish Times

WWhy work more than 15 hours a week? Unthinkable: It was good enough for your ancestors, says anthropologist James Suzman

Blue Sky Thinking. . .My Interview in the Sunday Observer Magazine

Anthropologist James Suzman says now is the perfect time to rein in our unsustainable work habits. But is it possible?

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Batelby Reflects on WORK: A History of How we Spend our Time in the Economist

The study of working life tends to be dominated by economists, management consultants and business-school professors. So it is nice to get a new perspective. James Suzman, an anthropologist, provides that fresh appraisal in an ambitious new book called “Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time”. LINK

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Evening Standard: Picks work as one of the "new season's page turners"

Evening Standard  "This is one of those “big ideas” books that will make you reconsider the life/work balance."

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FT OP-ED: The 300 000 year case for the 15hour week.

"The economic trauma induced by the pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to reimagine our relationship with work and to re-evaluate what jobs we consider really important."  LINK

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Asahi Shibum

Another review from Japan's largest daily.

 https://book.asahi.com/article/12959014r review from Japan

Another review from Japan

Affluence Without Abundance: Paperback Edition Out Soon!

In shops from May 30th (UK) & August 30th (rest of the world)

Financial Times Reviews Affluence without abundance

John Ryle, Legrand Professor of Anthropology at Bard College, New York reviews Affluence without Abundance for the Financial Times

James Suzman signs new deals Bloomsbury (UK), Penguin (USA) & others

James Suzman signs deals for a new natural and cultural history of work. English language rights have been acquired by Bloomsbury (UK and Commonwealth) and Penguin (USA). Foreign rights have been acquired in the following languages: German, French, Greek, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Romanian, Polish, Dutch,Portuguese and Spanish. 

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Afflubundence tops Washington Posts list of 50 Best Non-fiction works 2017. . . .

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the  extraordinary  coincidence  that the next best 49 are in alphabetical order. . . .  

Inequality Part II- Its the cows wot dun it. My piece from the Guardian.

The prehistoric shift towards cultivation began our preoccupation with hierarchy and growth – and even changed how we perceive the passage of time

Afflubundence goes Geekwire

Lessons from the Bushmen: How this tech-free society could foreshadow our technological future

Bushman Banter- Why we need to take Inequality Seriously- My Op-ed from the Observer/ Guardian

The Ju/’hoansi people of the Kalahari have always been fiercely egalitarian. They hate inequality or showing off, and shun formal leadership institutions. It’s what made them part of the most successful, sustainable civilisation in human history

James Suzman- Lecture for the Royal Geographic Society

Affluence without Abundance- Why understanding our hunting and gathering past is vital to our efforts to meet present and future  challenges. 

On Jackals and Stories......on MIT's unDark.

He explained that the fattest goat in my small herd, a dappled brown male with an irrational confidence in humans and a worrying tendency to lick shoes, had been killed by jackals.. . . 

Another Radio Date with ABC

I talk about hunter-gatherers and inflexion points in history with Sheila McDonald. . . for ABC

Irish Times gets lyrical about Afflubundence. . . .

Suzman’s talent for evoking the region’s vast and haunting landscapes, his elegiac account of a passing covenant with nature, and his warm and compassionate character sketches of individual Ju’/hoansi, make this a fascinating and at times profoundly moving work of literary non-fiction.

New Scientist Reviews Afflubundence

Another double act with James C Scott. Apparently we sit s time to "rip up the textbooks" on civilisation....."Suzman and Scott have both written excellent books, which could serve on reading lists for geography, history and politics, as well as in their natural homes of archaeology and anthropology."

I blah-blah on ABC's Blurprint For Living.

Jonathan Green interviews me about   Afflubundence. on ABC (Oz)

New Yorker gets the Afflubundence Vibe

John Lanchester's feature in the New Yorker on Affluence Without Abundance and James Stott's new book, Against the Grain: The Case Against Civilisation. 

James Suzman interview in the New York Times

The mantra of the 21st century might be that the world is interconnected everywhere, but the anthropologist James Suzman knows better. For more than two decades, Suzman has researched and gotten to know various groups of Bushmen throughout southern Africa

Washington Post Review of Affluence Without Abundance

This fascinating glimpse into a disappearing way of life leads Suzman to reflect on our world today: a world where wealth and possessions are valued above all other pursuits. Suzman’s account of the lives of Bushmen, past and present, offers plenty of fuel for thought. Their success was not based “on their ability to continuously colonize new lands, expand and grow into new spaces, or develop new technologies, but on the fact that they mastered the art of making a living where they were.” Could we, he asks, learn from their example and “be satisfied with having fewer needs more easily met”? These are provocative and timely questions. What's this item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

The Bushmen Who Had the Whole Work-Life Thing Figured Out- James Suzman in the New York Times

Every year automation and computerization squeeze out new segments of the labor force. In response, trade unions and workers anxiously wring their hands while savvy politicians demonize the “sinister” forces of globalization and make promises about job retention that they almost certainly won’t be able to keep.

When a 200,000 year old culture encountered the cash economy. . . .My Article in The Atlantic

Tsumkwe is the closest thing to a town in Namibia’s Nyae Nyae district, the epitome of remoteness in a country where almost everywhere is remote. Tsumkwe is also the capital of roughly 3,500 Ju/'hoansi, perhaps the best known of the few groups of people who continued to live as hunter-gatherers well into the 20th century.

Economist reviews Affluence Without Abundance

But “Affluence Without Abundance” is not simply a description of Bushman life. Mr Suzman deftly weaves his experiences and observations with lessons on human evolution, the history of human migration and the fate of African communities since the arrival of Europeans. The overarching aim of the book is more ambitious still: to challenge the reader’s ideas about both hunter-gatherer life and human nature.

Clicks and Sounds

This clip from John Marshall's archive held at the Smithsonian beautifully captures the  poetry of spoken Ju/'hoan. It includes a brief clip of Chief Tsemkxau =Oma's   father.  He is  pictured here with one of his many granschildren outside of his house in Tsumkwe. 

The Economic Problem

John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now advances in productivity and technology would mean that nobody worked for more than 15 hours a week. Yet despite far greater technological advances and improvements in productivity than Keynes predicted we seem to be working as hard as ever.
          What went wrong? And how might a better understanding of how hunter-gatherers made a living help us to solve this problem?

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Hunter-Gatherers and Time

Genetic data now reveals Khoisan (Bushmen) to have lived in southern Africa since the evolution of modern Homo sapiens. What questions does this extraordinarily continuity raise about how hunter-gatherers perceived time and their relationships with the world around them.  Interview with James Suzman and photo essay on Moowon

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Sympathy for a Desert Dog

What do Bushman attitudes to pets and dogs in particular reveal about how hunter-gatherers empathised with their prey and how this changed with the Agricultural Revolution. Article in the New York Times by James Suzman  

Kalahari Truffle and the Meaning of Life

James Suzman delivers the annual 2013 Promos Lecture at the Parliament Chamber of London's Inner Temple. The lecture,  "Kalahari Truffle and the Meaning of life" touches on many of the key themes in "Affluence Without Abundance".  

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