Freedom From Work
Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina
Stanford University Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Latin American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network February 15, 2018 Patrick T. Sheehan
In Freedom From Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina (Stanford University Press, 2017), Daniel Fridman explores what it means to be an economic subject in what different people call the new economy, the post-industrial economy, or neoliberal capitalism. Fridman begins his investigation by looking into a best-selling book in what he calls financial self-help, an ascendant genre of self-help that tries to teach its readers how they should think about the economy today and what their goals and ethics ought to be as actors in that new economy. Using ethnographic and interview methods, Fridman gets to know the people who practice the advice of these books, participating in their various seminars and fascinating financially-focused board-game meet-ups. Fridman unpacks the core ideas that animate this world and shows that, far from being an isolated ideology, the worldview posited by financial self-help can teach us a lot about how people are remaking themselves as economic actors in the world today. Adding another level of analysis, the book also has a comparative component as Fridman tracks these groups and ideas as they play out across different cultures in the United States and in Argentina. This book will excite anyone interesting in making sense of the profound human changes that come attendant with our rapidly changing economy.