Author Topic: Working by Studs Terkel  (Read 9674 times)

Sanitary Stache

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Working by Studs Terkel
« on: December 06, 2023, 08:18:27 PM »
I was walking through the non-fiction section of my library and Michael Lewis' name caught my eye, so I took a few steps back and found myself in the economics section!  One of my favorite subjects.  I browsed and found lots of good titles.  I took home "Working" by Stubs Terkel. 

This is a book of interviews the sub title is "People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do"  And it seems like that is the entire book.  In the introduction Stubs talks about the magic of the tape recorder.  With one person he interviewed listening back to the record and thinking "I didn't realize that is how I felt". 

I am seven interviews in and it is great.  So much good stuff in the introduction.  I am reading a 1974 copy.  I particularly like a quote in the introduction attributed to Ralph Helstein, of the United Packinghouse Workers of America.
"Learning is work. Caring for children is work. Community action is work.  Once we accept the concept of work as something meaningful - not just as the source of a buck - you don't have to worry about finding enough jobs.  There's no excuse for mules anymore. Society does not need them. There's no question about our ability to feed and clothe and house everybody. The problem is going to come in finding enough ways for man to keep occupied, so he's in touch with reality."

Since this books is from the 70's, there are lots of contemporary references I don't understand.  There are also lots of older references I don't fully understand.  A prologue interview with a man who picks up and puts down steel all day references many authors I haven't read.

I think I have seen Stubs Terkel's name on the forums before, but can't find anything using the google search method.  I am excited to read this book.  It makes me want to find something contemporary that is in the same format.  Something with the same honesty.

*edited the title to have the correct name.*
« Last Edit: December 06, 2023, 09:38:48 PM by Sanitary Stache »

draco44

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Re: Working by Stubs Terkel
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2023, 08:56:16 PM »
Happy reading to you, friend! Chiming in to note that the author name is actually Studs Terkel. With a D rather than a B. That will help you in your Googling.

And he's the best! I haven't read Working specifically, but have read and/or listened to some of his other stuff and he's just delightful. And insightful. He's particular well-known for his radio interviews. Here's a best of collection for your free listening pleasure if you are interested: https://www.wfmt.com/programs/best-of-studs-terkel/

Sanitary Stache

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Re: Working by Studs Terkel
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2023, 09:41:42 PM »
Thanks! I fixed the thread title.

Thanks for the link also, I'll get to listening.

LaineyAZ

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Re: Working by Studs Terkel
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2023, 07:13:16 AM »
This brings back memories.  I'm old enough to remember when this book first came out. 

It was fascinating because it was a candid, first-hand account of workers' daily lives. 
It covered many jobs (not "careers" or "professions") so it gave insight to someone like me who was just entering the workforce.

To me the biggest difference is that in the regular working-class world there was no expectation that your job would fulfill you or be your life's purpose - it was a means to an end, a trade of an 8 hour day for a paycheck which provided for you and your family.  There was also a bigger safety net, particularly pensions and family childcare. 

Chris Pascale

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Re: Working by Studs Terkel
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2024, 08:39:02 AM »
Thanks for the reco. I had to read some portions of "Hard Times" for a class, and plan to read the read over the summer.