This week's What we've been reading comes with a healthy dose of contrarianism. I'm not sure whether that's an indictment of my reading habits or not. But these articles have been my favourites this week. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did.
“I haven’t been employed since 1988,” the author Douglas Coupland tells the Guardian. "I’m still trying to recover from the trauma.”
For anyone that's never heard of Coupland, that quote defines the man's work. For years now, Coupland had been the biographer of the modern workplace. His best-selling debut Generation X introduced terms like 'Generation X' and 'McJobs' to the popular lexicon.
But Coupland hasn't stopped with Gen X. A keen observer of the workplace, he believes we are moving beyond nine to five and he, for one, won't miss it. “The nine to five is barbaric. I really believe that. I think one day we will look back at nine-to-five employment in a similar way to how we see child labour in the 19th century,” he says. “The future will not have the nine till five. Instead, the whole day will be interspersed with other parts of your life. Scheduling will become freeform.”
In the same vein as Doug Coupland's post-nine to five theorising, a new generation of entrepreneurs is falling out of love with the idea of having an HQ.
A new work travel programme called Unsettled typifies this trend. "If we could be somewhere, experiencing the world in a beautiful setting while working, challenging ourselves, growing professionally, enjoying a community of like-minded people and connecting locally, what’s stopping us?” the programme's founder Michael Youngblood tells the New York Times.
Location, it seems, is becoming a less and less integral part of work.
Immigrants have had a hard time recently, haven't they? Ready scapegoats for cowardly politicians, immigrants around the world have been blamed for every societal ailment you can imagine.
But it's worth asking, amid all the inarticulate yelling from cockamamie populists, why do we have immigration?
Well, the answer is simple: it's good for us. I'll spare you the lecture - but Matt Yglesias gives the full run through. It's worth reading in full.
The American Dream isn't dead. At least not in Utah.
The sleepy Mormon principality nestled in America's flyover country has quietly built a great society through weaponised common sense.
We snarky coffee shop intellectuals could do with a touch more Mormon pragmatism.