Shadow Work: Testimonials


“Where have all the sales clerks/bank tellers/travel agents gone? Long time passing, along with the secretaries, waitstaff, ticket agents, and so many more. Those jobs still exist, but now you, the so-called customer, are doing them—without pay, of course, and on your own time. As Craig Lambert shows in this mordant, mischievous book, our no-service gig economy gives new meaning to the phrase ‘free market.’ “

Hendrik Hertzberg
Staff writer, The New Yorker


“Increasingly, time is our scarcest resource.  Craig Lambert’s important book will change how you think about your days.  Shadow work is a new and vitally important concept for understanding the new economy.  Lambert’s arguments need to be carefully considered by all who ponder our economic future.”

Lawrence H. Summers
Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University
Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury
Former Director of the National Economic Council


“An insightful and original book that lit up areas of daily life I’d never looked at before. Lambert does a brilliant service by explaining where our vanished, old-fashioned free time went, and why.”

 Ian Frazier
Author, Travels in Siberia


“This book will revolutionize the way you look at how you spend your time—doing countless hours of unpaid work for The Man.  Like Malcolm Gladwell, Craig Lambert brilliantly reveals the hidden currents of contemporary life.”

Daniel Klein
Co-author, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes


“Think you know how you spend your days? Think again. Shadow Work is a visionary book that will change the way you look at—well, just about everything. “

 Andy Borowitz
The New Yorker


“Shadow work is all the things we do—from assembling our own furniture to booking our own travel—that has become the new normal. And like everything that becomes the new normal, it is invisible. Lambert’s ambition is substantial: to make that invisible visible. His hope is that once we see where we are, we can make some choices about where we want to go. A deft writer; a compelling case.”

Sherry Turkle
Author, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, MIT


“Craig Lambert combines his gifts as sociologist and detective to solve that perennial mystery: where has all our time gone?  In Shadow Work he reveals how we unwittingly perform labors that companies used to do, but have offloaded onto us. Reading Shadow Work will be full of Aha! moments for readers. It’s delightful, surprising, witty, and smart.”

Daniel Goleman
Author, Emotional Intelligence


“Who knows what larceny lurks in the heart of our economy? Lambert knows.”

Roy Blount Jr.
Author, Alphabet Juice


“Without any debate or conscious choice, during the last couple of decades technology has radically changed the premises and nature of everyday life and work. We may know this, more or less, but reading Shadow Work still triggers multiple ‘D’oh!’ moments. Craig Lambert lucidly, thoughtfully, and provocatively connects the dots of this profound, pervasive and unfinished social and economic transformation.”

Kurt Andersen
Author, True Believers and host, Studio 360


“With precision, wit, and erudition, Craig Lambert identifies the invisible drains on our leisure time—and on our mental and emotional freedoms. None of us signed up for all of this pro bono overtime for corporations. How can we quit? This book shows the problem’s economic and social causes—and even better, suggests an escape route.”

Virginia Heffernan
Author, Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet


“With brio and precision, Craig Lambert exposes what we’ve suspected all along but never really tallied: that our lives in this era of automation, instead of being freer and more independent, have become hostage to endless multitasking. We book our own air travel, pump our own gas, even play the role of cashier at the supermarket, and each of these jobs erodes our available leisure time. Lambert’s goal, so eloquently framed, is to ‘make the unconscious conscious,’ so that awareness can help us better use the precious time we have.”

John Adams
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music


“Do we work to live or live to work? Do we accumulate wealth to achieve a meaningful life, or is life made meaningful in the crass accumulation of wealth? Is time money, or is it life? These are some of the deeper issues probed in this deceptively modest, but ultimately profound work. A skillful, wide-ranging exploration of the changing nature of work, the erosion of leisure and the excessive commodification of time in modern society, rendered in an accessible, wryly elegant style that engages on every page.”

Orlando Patterson
John Cowles professor of sociology, Harvard University
Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction


“I’ve been enjoying Craig Lambert’s work for decades in Harvard Magazine.  He can make any topic clear, readable, and fascinating.  And here he’s got a great story: the excess ‘shadow work’ we’ve all taken on in the modern age.  From the first page, he’ll have you looking at your life, and the world, in a whole new way.”

Mike Reiss
Emmy-winning writer, The Simpsons


“Shadow Work is a game changer. Craig Lambert opens our eyes to how we are enticed and then burdened into doing work that years ago was done by others—work that isolates us from community. He allows us to appreciate why children can no longer play because soccer Moms have taken over the sandlots. Adults enjoy leisure on paper, and believe they have organized the perfect life. Only Lambert again and again provides fresh detail to show that we aren’t living it. This book will be a favorite of book clubs as the new generation tries to recover what the past generation has just lost—their free time!”

George E. Vaillant
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Author, Triumphs of Experience


Craig Lambert has written a wonderful book that is so persuasive about the unpaid work we do, I feel I should be paid to finish this sentence and….”

Patricia Marx
Staff writer, The New Yorker
Author, Let’s Be Less Stupid: An Attempt to Maintain My Mental Faculties


“Craig Lambert has written a lively, smart, fun-to-read account of The Way We Work Now. In the new do-everything-for-yourself world, we’ve become responsible for doing all the chores; outsourcing is so over. Shadow Work will explain why we’ve forgotten what leisure is—and make you want to leave your Starbucks coffee cup on the counter.”

James Atlas
Author, Bellow: A Biography
Founding editor, Penguin Lives


“Even though you may be busy with shadow work, make time to read this book!  Craig Lambert helps to raise our levels of awareness of how, without noticing it, we have become slaves to countless tasks and chores.  Shadow Work can help us leave this modern form of slavery behind so that we can begin to live more deliberately, fully, freely.”

Tal Ben-Shahar
Author, Happier


Shadow Work is an eye-opening expose of the countless subtle ways in which corporations and other large organizations are conscripting all of us to donate our invaluable time and labor to advance their economic and other goals, without our consent and often even without our  awareness. By bringing this serious problem out of the shadows, this important book makes an essential contribution toward countering it.”

Nadine Strossen
John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law,  New York Law School
President, American Civil Liberties Union, 1991-2008