Labor reporter Sarah Kessler’s compassionate eye and readable prose inform her overview of the effects of gig work.
Quartz reporter Sarah Kessler, who specialized in writing about the gig economy for Fast Company and covered start-ups for Mashable, brings her considerable experience to bear in this thoughtful overview of the gig economy and its consequences. Dan Lyons, author of Disrupted, wrote of it, “If you want to know how work is changing and how you, too, must change to keep up, you must read this book.” A recent spate of worthwhile texts on disposable workers and the nature of work include Ellen Ruppel Shell’s The Job: Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change and Temp by Louis Hyman.
An Uber-New World of Work
Anyone writing on the gig economy must start with Uber, and Kessler does. In 2011, tiny Uber competed with other tech start-ups for venture capital and customers. Uber’s app connected people who owned vehicles with people who needed rides. Kessler goes straight to the core of Uber’s genius: It had low initial costs and endless potential for expansion because it didn’t buy cars or hire drivers. Classifying drivers as independent contractors meant Uber didn’t offer workers benefits, sick days or holidays. The Uber driver, Kessler reports, was a “piece of code,” not a person.