Reading List

Work and Automation: Verso Student Reading


For fifty years Verso authors have been publishing radical books on the intersections of labour and technology. From feminist critiques of work's new ideologies, to classic essays on the developing digital economy, this reading list will help you grapple with the potentials and pitfalls of automation, and inspire you to reconceptualise society's dependence on current forms of work. 

All books are 40% off as part of our Student Reading Sale. Ends September 30 at 11:59PM EST. See all our student reading lists here.

In this stimulating work that blends political economy, studies of contemporary work, and speculations on the future of capitalism, Phil Jones looks at what this often murky and hidden form of labour looks like, and what it says about the state of global capitalism.

This urgent and timely book shows what a shorter working week means in the context of capitalist economies and delves into the history of this idea as well as its political implications. Drawing on a range of political and economic thinkers, Lewis and Stronge argue that a shorter working week could build a more just and equitable society, one based on collective freedom and human potential, providing scope for the many to achieve a happier, more fulfilling life.

Breaking Things at Work is an innovative rethinking of labour and machines, leaping from textile mills to algorithms, from existentially threatened knife cutters of rural Germany to surveillance-evading truckers driving across the continental United States. 

A major new manifesto for the end of capitalism.

Tracing the complexity and contradictory nature of work throughout history.

A polemic account of automation technologies and their effect on workplaces and the labor market.

A different kind of politics for a new kind of society—beyond work, scarcity and capitalism.

Revolutionary account of transformative potential in the knowledge economy

A bracing riposte to the conventional wisdom concerning the irresistible power of globalization, Workers in a Lean World is a definitive account of contemporary labor relations on a global scale.

Why every worker should join a trade union.

How the Information Age makes the world more incomprehensible.

“Demonstrates that good organizers can in fact succeed.”– Frances Fox Piven

Twice the Work of Free Labor is the first book-length study of the history of the Southern convict-lease system and its successor, the chain gang. For nearly a century after the abolition of slavery, convicts labored in the South’s mines, railroad camps, brickyards, turpentine farms and then road gangs, under abject conditions. 

The classic text of Italian workerism finally available in English.

How the law harms sex workers—and what they want instead.

The decline of the American union movement—and how it can revive, by a leading analyst of labor.

An original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States

A vibrant history in graphic art of the Industrial Workers of the World.

“Crucial reading ... for all those who have ever punched a clock.”—International Labor and Working Class History

A field manual to the technologies that are changing our lives

A highly engaging tour through history in the service of emancipating our digital tomorrow

Theorists and technology experts assess the relationship between computers, robots and work

"One of the major contributions of the last decade to Marxist economics."—Choice

“A polemic as finely concentrated as a line of pure cocaine” – Los Angeles Review of Books

Political theorist Joshua Clover theorizes the riot as the form of the coming insurrection

This influential collection of essays focuses on the elusive concept of “value,” and aims to answer the question “Why is Marx’s theory of value so important?”

All books are 40% off as part of our Student Reading Sale. Ends September 30 at 11:59PM EST. See all our student reading lists here.