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The office: it's the history of all of us.

For many of us, it's where we spend more time and expend greater effort than anywhere else. Yet how many of us have stopped to think about why?

In The Office: A Hardworking History, Gideon Haigh traces from origins among merchants and monks to the gleaming glass towers of New York and the space age sweatshops of Silicon Valley, finding an extraordinary legacy of invention and ingenuity, shaped by the telephone, the typewriter, the elevator, the email, the copier, the cubicle, the personal computer, the personal digital assistant.

Amid the formality, restraint and order of office life, too, he discovers a world teeming with dramas great and small, of boredom, betrayal, distraction, discrimination, leisure and lust, meeting along the way such archetypes as the Whitehall mandarin, the Wall Street banker, the Dickensian clerk, the Japanese salaryman, the French bureaucrat and the Soviet official.

In doing so, Haigh taps a rich lode of art and cinema, fiction and folklore, visiting the workplaces imagined by Hawthorne and Heller, Kafka and Kurosawa, Balzac and Wilder, and visualised from Mary Tyler Moore to Mad Men, from Network to 9 to 5 plus, of course, The Office. Far from simply being a place we visit to earn a living, the office emerges as a way of seeing the entire world.

Reviews

Amid the formality, restraint and order of office life, he discovers a world teeming with dramas great and small, of boredom , betrayal, discrimination, leisure and lust.

The Sydney Morning Herald

Haigh presents a thorough and interesting account of the office over time.

Ian Hallett, Australian Bookseller & Publisher

It is extraordinary, seemingly unlike any other book I have ever read...Haigh has organized his material beautifully, gives us bite-sized gobbets in subheaded sections and manages each chapter almost to perfection.

Michael McKernan, Canberra Times

Gideon Haigh’s completely enchanting new book… is a romp through the inkstands and cubicles of the evolving human workspace.

Annabel Crabb, The Herald Sun

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780522855562

    May 1, 2012

    Miegunyah Press

    RRP $45.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
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    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
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    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780522864014

    December 10, 2012

    Melbourne University Press Digital

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Gideon Haigh

A Scandal in Bohemia
Mystery Spinner: Text Classics
Stroke of Genius
Certain Admissions: A Beach, a Body and a Lifetime of Secrets
Ashes to Ashes
Uncertain Corridors: Writings on modern cricket
End of the Road?: Penguin Special
On Warne
The Deserted Newsroom: Penguin Special
Spheres Of Influence
The Vincibles
The Ashes 2009
Inside Out
The Racket
Asbestos House
The Tencyclopedia
The Uncyclopedia
Bad Company: The Cult of the CEO: Quarterly Essay 10

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