Cubed: The Secret History of the Workplace
A New York Times Notable Book • Daily Beast Best Nonfiction of 2014 • Inc. Magazine's Most Thought-Provoking Books of the Year
“Man is born free, but he is everywhere in cubicles.”
How did we get from Scrooge’s office to “Office Space”? From bookkeepers in dark countinghouses to freelancers in bright cafes? What would the world be like without the vertical file cabinet? What would the world be like without the office at all? In Cubed, Nikil Saval chronicles the evolution of the office in a fascinating, often funny, and sometimes disturbing anatomy of the white-collar world and how it came to be the way it is. Drawing on the history of architecture and business, as well as a host of pop culture artifacts—from Mad Men to Dilbert (and, yes, The Office)—and ranging in time from the earliest clerical houses to the surprisingly utopian origins of the cubicle to the funhouse campuses of Silicon Valley, Cubed is an all-encompassing investigation into the way we work, why we do it the way we do (and often don’t like it), and how we might do better.
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