Not Working

September 10th, 2012

Two Hundred and Fifty years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville tried to figure out what made America tick. He traveled the country, talked to people and came away with a pretty good and enduring idea of America's character.

In the post-depression years, Studs Terkel in his seminal project, "Working," gave us the best picture yet of working men and woman. In so doing he raised popular oral history to an important and respectable level. He gave people a chance to talk and gave all of the country a chance to listen and better understand each other.

Today, it is those who are not working, who are experiencing the real personal pain of economic dislocation, that we must understand in order to better understand each other.

DW Gibson, has traveled the country to compile and tell these powerful and unifying stories in his book Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today's Changing Economy Rather than the “long tail” of technology pulling us apart, as some claim, perhaps these stories really are the key to bringing us together.

My conversation with DW Gibson: