Still, The Year without Pants gives us a provocative glimpse of how the future of work may take shape for some companies. For instance, it helps us see, through the eyes of a manager who has lived through the actual experience, how the Internet gives us tools that challenge old organizational models, provided they are used judiciously.
One of the book’s delights is getting Berkun’s astute insights into management every page or two. Here’s an example: “Most people doubt online meetings can work, but they somehow overlook that most in-person meetings don’t work either.” The author himself comes across as fallible and decent and wise—a very good combination. He knows that work is hard, and that creating stuff is even harder; he sees the logic in new workplace paradigms, but is never so wide-eyed as to think that the old models don’t have significant virtues.
In my next job, I wouldn’t mind if Scott Berkun were my boss. Just as long as he let me work from home.
- Jon Gertner is the author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (Penguin Press, 2012). He is editor-at-large at Fast Company and previously wrote for the New York Times Magazine.