"...conversations at the intersection of business, art, technology, and a great life..."

Working – Studs Terkel

“God, grant me serenity to accept those things I can’t change, the courage to change those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”


Studs Terkel records the voices of America. Men and women from every walk of life talk to him, telling him of their likes and dislikes, fears, problems, and happiness on the job. Once again, Terkel has created a rich and unique document that is as simple as conversation, but as subtle and heartfelt as the meaning of our lives…. In the first trade paperback edition of his national bestseller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel presents “the real American experience” (Chicago Daily News)–“a magnificent book . . .. A work of art. To read it is to hear America talking.” (Boston Globe). [From: Amazon.com]

“What I remember most of those times is that poverty creates desperation, and desperation creates violence.” 

Following a preface, a foreword, and an introduction, the volume is divided into nine “books,” each of which contains one or more subsections that provide several accounts of working people’s jobs and lives. These books tie their diverse content together with themes. These themes take the form of subtitles. Some books have only one theme (the theme of Book One is “Working the Land”); others have several.

Book One

Book One contains stories by a farmer, a farm worker, a farm woman, a deep miner and his wife, a strip miner, and a heavy equipment operator. This story can also be located in Springboard English textual power 6.

Book Two

Book Two features narratives from a receptionist, a hotel switchboard operator, a telephone operator, a professor of communications, an airline stewardess, an airline reservationist, a model, an executive secretary, a hooker, a writer/producer, a copy chief, two actors, a press agent, an installment dealer, and a telephone solicitor. 

Book Three

Book Three has stories by a sanitation truck driver, a garbage man, a washroom attendant, a factory mechaninc, a domestic, a janitor, a doorman, two policemen, an industrial investigator, a photographer, and a film critic. 

Book Four

Book Four tells the stories of two spot-welders, a utility man, a stock chaser, a plant manager, a general foreman, a local union president, two cabdrivers, a bus driver, an interstate truckdriver, a car hiker, and a car salesman.

Book Five

Book Five narrates the tales of a barber, a hair stylist, a saleswoman, a dentist, a hotel clerk, a bar pianist, an elevator starter, an ex-salesman, a bank teller, an auditor, an organizer, an order filler in a shoe factory, a mail carrier, a gas meter reader, a supermarket box boy, a supermarket checker, a skycap, a felter in a luggage factory, a waitress, and two housewives. 

  • Share
  • Tweet!
  • Pin it
  • Link
  • G+ circle
Book Six

Book Six contains the stories of a bookbinder, a pharmacist, a piano tuner, a realty broker, a yacht broker, two stockbrokers, a project coordinator, a government relations coordinator, a process clerk, and an organizer. 

Book Seven

Book Seven’s narratives involve those of a jockey, a baseball player, a sports press agent, a tennis player, a hockey player, a football coach, a radio executive, a factory owner, a bank audit department head, an ex-boss, the ex-boss’ daughter, an ex-president of a conglomerate/consultant, “Ma and Pa Courage,” and three retirees.

Book Eight

Book Eight’s stories are about a copy boy, a publisher, a proofreader, a department store manager, a jazz musician, an executive, the director of a bakery cooperative, a hospital aide, a baby nurse, a public school teacher, an alternative school teacher, an occupational therapist, a patient’s representative, a practical nurse in an old people’s home, a memorial counselor, and a grave digger.

Book Nine

Book Nine recounts the narratives of a tree nursery attendant, a carpenter/poet, an editor, an industrial designer, a nun to naprapath, an ex-salesman/ farmer, a lawyer, a librarian, a stone cutter, a service station owner, the service station’s son and partner, a steelworker, the steelworker’s son (a priest), an adult education teacher, a freight elevator operator, a policeman, and a fireman. [From: Wikipedia.com]

“Most people were raised to think they are not worthy. School is a process of taking beautiful kids who are filled with life and beating them into happy slavery. That’s as true of a twenty-five-thousand-dollar-a-year executive as it is for the poorest.”

An enormous amount of exciting material. . . . An incredible abundance of marvelous beings. . . . A very special electricity and emotional power.
(The New York Times Book Review)

Remarkable . . . the range is enormous. . . . Work is the theme and we learn a lot about these trades. (The Wall Street Journal)
[Reviews from: Barnesandnoble.com]

“The poor are so busy trying to survive from one day to the next, they haven’t the time or energy to keep score.” 

If you like this story, CLICK HERE to join the tribe of success-minded people just like you. You will love our weekly quick summaries of  top stories, talks, books, movies, music and more with handy downloadable guides, cheat sheets, cliffs notes and quote books.
And, you can opt-out at any time – no strings, promise… CLICK HERE

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Please do SHARE THIS:

Sharing is caring - spread the love...