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Book Review: Work, Workers and Workplaces by Parthajeet Sarma

In his new book ‘Work, Workers and Workplaces’ author Parthajeet Sarma uses references from psychology, human evolution and science to give us an essence of this evolution of work and workplaces. He bats for a system which looks beyond textbook theories. He details how technology will be a major player in the days to come.

If one were to look up the meaning of work in a dictionary, the traditional definition would be ‘activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a result.’ I have been ‘working’ for the last eight years now and over the years, I have worked at different establishments – startups, big establishments and the media. ‘Work culture’ has undergone a sea change from what it was even a decade ago, and technology has played a major role.

One of the major disruptive factors in the past few years, in the sphere of business, has been social media. Innovation is the key word. Fresh ideas, new methods of tapping markets and a paradigm shift in services sector – all this has been made possible by technology. Brands now even look to social media for recruiting potential workers.

Disruptive technology is here to stay, and businesses will have to adapt to technology to stay relevant. The world is at a crossroads where we are slowly moving towards a technology-driven office space. The very meaning of work has changed for modern day workers where the workplace is no more a physical space. The new workplace is a blended space of the physical and the digital.

Company jargons like efficiency, productivity, targets are acquiring a new meaning with the passage of time. Focus of most companies is on ideas – the quality of work, instead of quantity. Blended workplace is the starting point of innovation for organizations that believe in innovation.

Today, businesses are looking to automate most processes. They don’t want to invest in getting people for performing repetitive drudgery, which can be done by machines. Humans are sought for performing tasks which machines cannot do, thinking for example.

The definition of a ‘job’ is thus changing, and those who fail to keep up with the ever-evolving ecosystem, will miss the bus.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

P.S. The review copy of the book was provided by the author.

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Book Review – Smart Phones, Dumb People by Parthajeet Sarma

Book ReviewI was travelling in a bus when i first got the mail from Yatin, asking me if i was interested in reviewing the book. Although my hands were quite full at that instant, i said yes, mainly because the title appealed to me. We live in an era of smart phones; gadgets have taken over our lives, and we are solely dependent on these machines to perform even the simplest of tasks (like calculating individual share while splitting a bill at the restaurant; earlier i would rely on my mental maths skills for the same). It is indeed not surprising that smartphones, or gadgets in general, have kick-started a degenerative evolution in humans, a scientific study regarding the same would be a delightful read. With the same expectation i said yes to Yatin. Although i had to wait a month to lay my hands on the book, the experience was quite disheartening, to say the least.

While the title of the book prompted me into thinking that the book is about how technology has taken over our lives and turned us into “dumb” people, only the initial few chapters cited a few examples in this regard. The author has mostly explained throughout the book, how technology can be put to use for the good of humankind, and the vast areas of technological advancements that still lie uncovered. The book is a short “Dummy Guide” for budding social entrepreneurs; it boosts your zeal towards working for the society and bringing the change you wish to see.

For a reader like me, who is not even remotely inclined to become an entrepreneur, it was a painstakingly sluggish read. While i appreciate the author’s innovative ideas and fresh approach towards technology, as a reader i felt i was reading a text meant for business schools. More like a collection of blog posts, the book does not offer any insight to this “dumb” reader, how “smart” phones can actually make a difference.

My friends in start-ups or B-schools can give this book a shot.

My Rating – 2/5 stars

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