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Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking

Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes Us Miserable – Daniel Lyons, 2019

2022-03-08 16:14

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Reading Room, Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes Us Miserable,

Lab Rats: Why Modern Work Makes Us Miserable – Daniel Lyons, 2019

I attended a book talk with Dan Lyons at the RSA in London in May 2019.

I attended a book talk with Dan Lyons at the RSA in London in May 2019.  While the questionable ethics of the of some of the more well-known Silicon Valley titans may have grown in public awareness in the last 18 months, it was the first time I’d heard anyone call out the employment and working practices of those organisations who are now world-famous for growth and market share. 

 

Lyons was originally a journalist with Newsweek, but when he was made redundant, he took a job with a new media technology company. It was here that he first noticed the discrepancies between the business media’s evangelistic portrayal of Silicon Valley life, and the reality of what goes on behind closed doors. 

 

Lab Rats challenges why we are so stressed out at work and directly attributes this to the prevailing Silicon Valley commercial ethos, which includes “Move fast and break things”, and “Fear is the disease. Hustle is the antidote.” Lyons calls out toxic work practices and shares findings of psychological research that illustrate the long-term impact of work insecurity on both mental and physical health. 

Like many, I’ve been sucked into the Silicon Valley hubris, but Lab Rats divulges an alternative truth.  It’s a reminder that in these strange times, we should question EVERYTHING.

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