In America, speaking out against work was once like saying nasty things about motherhood. Even now that attacks on motherhood have become common. Perry Pascarella makes it clear in The New Achievers that work is still sacred to the yuppie mentality. No longer, however, is work the spiritual exercise it was in Calvinism; restraining the corrupt desires of a fallen nature is not the aim. Rather, the ambitious computer programmer now must drive himself hard so he can buy a new BMW. It’s hightech materialism.

Pascarella trys hard to transform airconditioned office buildings into cathedrals for the new creed expounded by such authorities as Taoist/physicist Fritjof Capra and theologian Hans Küng. But the prose style is as suspect as the new faith:

The manager’s ability to contribute to human development and create viable organizations in today’s values environment will depend on two things that are far more important than the technical skills he or she may have. First is the matter of what the manager believes—what his or her worldview is. Second is the degree to which the manager will employ a management style that expresses these beliefs.

The reader cannot but wonder about people like John DeLorean, whose engineering expertise was divorced from any coherent sense of moral obligation. The possibility that hoards of business-suited men and women will follow in his erratic footsteps is disturbing. (GSV)


[The New Achievers: Creating a Modern Work Ethic, by Perry Pascarella; The Free Press; New York]