The Future of Work Book Summary - The Future of Work Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Future of Work summary

Darrell M. West

Robots, AI, and Automation

3.9 (218 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

'The Future of Work' by Darrell M. West explores the potential impact of disruptive technologies on the workforce, highlighting the need for education and training to prepare for the changing nature of employment.

Table of Contents

    The Future of Work
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Automation is already displacing workers as we transition to a digital economy.

    Back at the turn of the twentieth century, the United States underwent what the author refers to as a “megachange” as a result of the nation’s shift from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. It took decades for the government to deal with the effects of this change and for things to settle down.

    Now, we are at the brink of another megachange, and this time, the nation will be shifting from an industrial economy to a digital one.

    At the heart of this change is a new business model built around automated robots and artificial intelligence (AI). And we’re already starting to see it emerge, especially around blue-collar jobs.

    Some of the most reliable jobs for people who didn’t or weren’t able to go to college have been in restaurants, retail or in transportation – and these are now being affected by automation.

    Restaurants across the United States are replacing waitstaff with tablets that make recommendations and explain the menu. An increasing number of retail stores are replacing cashiers with self-checkout options that are getting more advanced. Amazon has a chain of retail stores where customers will soon be able to use an app to have purchases charged to their Amazon account.

    Meanwhile, at an average income of $43,590 a year, driving a truck has long been one of the more lucrative jobs for someone with a high school education. But now, automated vehicles are expected to become an industry standard.

    In all of these cases, automated services offer a way for businesses to save money. Not long ago, robots and automated services cost more than it would cost to pay an employee for the same job. But this is no longer the case. At Dynamic, a manufacturer of metal parts, a robot can perform the same job of four people for the one-time cost of $35,000. Plus, it doesn’t catch colds, need breaks or health insurance.

    Another noteworthy factor is the reduction in human error. At the cell phone manufacturing company, Precision Tech, 60 robots now do what 650 employees used to, and mistakes have dropped from 25 to 5 percent, while production has more than doubled.

    As for automated vehicles, experts expect fewer accidents and better fuel efficiency due to smoother acceleration and braking than with human drivers.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Future of Work?

    Key ideas in The Future of Work

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Future of Work about?

    The Future of Work (2018) offers keen insights about what to expect when automation and artificial intelligence change the face of the global workforce. Author Darrell M. West gathers a wealth of expert opinions to provide a thorough look at the challenges we’ll face when the industrial economy is replaced by a digital one.

    The Future of Work Review

    The Future of Work (2018) by Darrell M. West explores the dramatic changes brought about by technology and automation in the modern workforce. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Insightful and thought-provoking, it examines the evolving nature of work and offers valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
    • Through thorough research and analysis, it presents a comprehensive view of the changing dynamics of work, highlighting the impact on individuals, businesses, and society as a whole.
    • With its forward-thinking approach and exploration of potential solutions, it sparks curiosity and stimulates discussions around the future of work, ensuring it's anything but boring.

    Best quote from The Future of Work

    In 1962, AT&T was the top US business, with a market cap of $20 billion (adjusted) and 564,000 workers. Today, Apple is at the top, with a market cap of $800 billion and just 116,000 employees.

    —Darrell M. West
    example alt text

    Who should read The Future of Work?

    • Students of politics and social sciences
    • Workers concerned about future employment
    • Readers interested in economics

    About the Author

    Darrell M. West works for the Brookings Institute as vice president of the Governance Studies program. His previous books include Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust (2014) and Megachange: Economic Disruption, Political Upheaval, and Social Strife in the 21st Century (2016).

    Categories with The Future of Work

    Book summaries like The Future of Work

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Future of Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Future of Work?

    The main message of The Future of Work is an exploration of the impact of technology and automation on the job market, and how we can adapt and thrive in the changing world of work.

    How long does it take to read The Future of Work?

    The reading time for The Future of Work varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Future of Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Future of Work is a thought-provoking read that provides valuable insights into the future of work. It's worth exploring for anyone interested in understanding the evolving dynamics of the job market.

    Who is the author of The Future of Work?

    The author of The Future of Work is Darrell M. West.

    What to read after The Future of Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Future of Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Architects of Intelligence by Martin Ford
    • What To Do When Machines Do Everything by Malcolm Frank
    • The AI Economy by Roger Bootle
    • AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan
    • Superhuman Innovation by Chris Duffey
    • Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
    • The Future of the Professions by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind
    • Human Compatible by Stuart Russell
    • Marketing Artificial Intelligence by Paul Roetzer & Mike Kaput
    • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari