Summary of The Way We Think About Work Is Broken

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The Way We Think About Work Is Broken summary
People want more from work than pay, but companies haven’t evolved their attitudes about why people work.


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According to psychologist Barry Schwartz, the theories social scientists develop to understand human behavior shape how people live and work. When employers believe the theory that humans are inherently lazy – the brainchild of economist Adam Smith – they incentivize workers with paychecks rather than creating jobs that provide fulfillment. The theory becomes self-perpetuating as factory workers toil only for money. getAbstract enjoys the debate that lies at the intersection of psychology and economics and believes Schwartz’s talk will appeal to practitioners in either field.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many work environments offer little besides a paycheck,
  • How “idea technology” influences the way people work and live, and
  • Why it’s time for society to revise how it perceives work.


Why do you work? It’s true that you need to earn a paycheck to support yourself, but that’s not the only reason you work. People want careers that are challenging, rewarding and purposeful...
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About the Speaker

Barry Schwartz is a psychologist and professor of social theory and social action at Swarthmore College. His books include The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom.

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