Pluto Press Logo

Independent Radical Publishing




On the Blog

Lost in Work

Lost in Work

Escaping Capitalism

by Amelia Horgan

Series: Outspoken by Pluto

How work stole our lives and what we can do about it

***Evening Standard's best non-fiction 2021***

'A brilliant, searing exposé of the lies underpinning work' - Owen Jones

'Work hard, get paid.' It's simple. Self-evident. But it's also a lie—at least for most of us. For people today, the old assumptions are crumbling; hard work in school no longer guarantees a secure, well-paying job in the future. Far from a gateway to riches and fulfilment, 'work' means precarity, anxiety and alienation.

Amelia Horgan poses three big questions: what is work? How does it harm us? And what can we do about it? While abolishing work altogether is not the answer, Lost in Work shows that when we are able to take control of our workplaces, we become less miserable, and can work towards the transformative goal of experimenting with 'work' as we know it.

This book is part of our Outspoken by Pluto series.

Amelia Horgan is a writer and researcher. She has written for various publications including Tribune, the Guardian and VICE.

'A brilliant, searing exposé of the lies underpinning work'

- Owen Jones

'Fascinating and absorbing ... a corrective to the widespread view that anyone can find fulfilment through their job, if they just work hard enough'

- Grace Blakeley, editor of 'Futures of Socialism' (Verso, 2020)

‘Amelia Horgan is, in the words of organizer Fred Ross, a social arsonist. Her book will set your world on fire. Somewhere in our bones, we know that work is getting worse. But with this book, Horgan has provided the match and the kindling we need to burn the whole thing down’

- Sarah Jaffe, author of 'Work Won't Love You Back' (Hurst, 2021)

'At last, a book that helps us appreciate the long history of the working class challenge to the tyranny of work that puts class struggle in the workplace firmly back on the agenda'

- John McDonnell, former Shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party

'An excellent and important book. It combines sharp political insight with nuanced analyses ... an invaluable resource to those with an interest not just in better understanding labour and exploitation, but also in the possibilities of freedom and collective joy'

- Helen Hester, Professor of Gender, Technology and Cultural Politics at the University of West London and author of 'Xenofeminism' (Polity, 2018)

'I can't think of a more succinct and elegant expression of what work does to us and, in turn, why it's never been more urgent to shape our work'

- Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy and author of 'Post-Work' (Bloomsbury, 2022)

'An incisive analysis of the contemporary crisis of work - and a ringing call to reimagine it'

- Amia Srinivasan, Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford, and author of 'The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-first Century' (Bloomsbury, 2021)

‘Vivid … her humour and anger is quite a tonic’

- Owen Hatherley, Tribune

'A sharp polemic ... Horgan’s insights will appeal to anyone who has ever done a job they hated'

- Hettie O’Brien, ‘Guardian’

‘Brilliant … I really can’t recommend it enough’

- Daisy Schofield, ‘Huck’

‘A succinct outline of how work has become our entire existence … Lost in Work’s rally against the working world resonates to our very cores’

- Bille Walker, ‘Aurelia magazine’

‘A concise book that convincingly challenges assumptions about working many would have considered unshakeable’

- ‘STAT magazine’

'Incisive ... a theory-rich but accessible entry point for young people to examine exactly how work is failing us.'

- Sadhbh O’Sullivan, 'Refinery29'


- ‘Evening Standard’

‘This book incisively dissects what counts for received wisdom about work … Horgan has applied Marxist theory to everyday life with alacrity. In so doing, she has armed her readers to fight back’

- Conrad Landin, ‘Camden New Journal’

‘Smartly defines the present moment in labour politics’

- ‘Teen Vogue’

‘An anti-capitalist manifesto … Lost in Work, at its most powerful, shakes up our sense of what is politically imaginable’

- ‘Boston Review’

‘A perceptive philosophical account of what work is, what it does to us, and how we can reorganise it’

- Katrina Forrester, ‘New Statesman’

‘I really recommend this book … [Lost in Work] provides a really progressive discussion on how we should talk and think about work, and how and why our current capitalist system is cheating us’

- Amelia Dimoldenberg, host of ‘Chicken Shop Date’

‘A systematic takedown of the untenable conditions of what it is like to work now’

- ‘Art Monthly’

‘A call to action ... Horgan has applied Marxist theory to everyday life with alacrity. In so doing, she has armed her readers to fight back’

- ‘Islington Tribune’

Introduction: Work’s fantasy
1. Work, capitalism and capitalist work
2. Contesting ‘work’
3. The paradox of new work
4. What does work do to us as individuals?
5. Jobification nation: When play is serious business
6. What does work do to society?
7. Phantoms and slackers: Resistance at work
8. Getting together: Organised labour and the workers’ dream
9. Time off: Resistance to work
Conclusion: Getting to work

Published by Pluto Press in Jun 2021
Paperback ISBN: 9780745340913
eBook ISBN: 9781786807007
Audiobook ISBN: 9780745347790

129mm x 198mm

Related Content