"There's a law of diminishing returns on preaching". So said author Kate Grenville in a thought provoking lecture, 'Writers in a Time of Change', in 2009*. Yet everyday, in thousands of blog posts and columns all over the world, preaching is exactly what many very earnest writers do. I do it myself - often. There is lots that's wrong in our world and writers, particularly non-fiction writers, feel obliged to point these things out. Serious points, we believe, require serious treatment. The better writing avoids the rant.
Most of us spend a healthy slice of our lives working. We spend additional time thinking about work, but these thoughts are generally focused on the job at hand. We think through an upcoming meeting, worry about a deadline or scheme about our next job change. Much less often do we think about the wider connection of our work to our community. Rarely, if ever, do we think about the extent to which others’ work impacts on, and is essential to, our way of life. In 'The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work', Alain de Botton does this for us in a thoughtful and entertaining way.