Congratulations to Dr Pedro Gomes on his book Friday is the New Saturday: How a Four-day Working Week Will Save the Economy, and to Sam Gilbert on his book Good Data: An Optimist’s Guide to Our Digital Future, for both being selected as Financial Times' 'Business Books of the Month.’
The Financial Times' reviewers wrote:
On Friday is the New Saturday by Dr Pedro Gomes
The concept of working four days a week started decades ago and has divided opinions. But as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, the conversation around the idea is gaining force. Pedro Gomes presents a compelling approach to the topic, rooting his arguments in a range of economic theories, history and data — focused on the improvement of society. The narrative is constructed around the ideas of influential economists John Maynard Keynes, Joseph Schumpeter, Karl Marx and Friedrich Hayek. The book is thoroughly researched, providing substantial analysis of both the benefits and drawbacks of changing the status quo of the five-day week. The book examines arguments from both the left and right of the political spectrum. The first part explains the historical panorama of the four-day working movement, with statistics, facts and initial thoughts on how the economic activities could be reorganised to influence a healthy societal change. Moving on, the author blends economic theory, opinions of brilliant minds, stories of successful companies, anecdotal evidence and examples based on data to persuade readers from different ideological preferences. He uses eight economic statements to explore different scenarios of what people would do with their extra day off work. In one of the statements — “Because it will give people more freedom to choose how to spend their time” — Gomes comments that under the four-day week, workers would have more freedom to decide how much and when to work, leveraging productivity and a better work-life balance. The final part examines the practical details of implementing the four-day working week, in both the private and public sectors, how it could propel innovation and remodel our idea of freedom. After all, Keynes believes “the biggest problem is not to let people accept new ideas, but to let them forget the old ones”.
On Good Data by Sam Gilbert:
Data is around us every day — we generate it, we consume it — and the debate around the information explosion is dividing opinions. More than ever, digital literacy is fundamental and Sam Gilbert’s book rediscovers how the potential of data can make life better for all. Good Data is an easy-to-read guide divided into four main sections: Paranoia, Prosperity, Power and Proposals. The first half is dedicated to stories about data control and exploitation, with a focus on big tech groups, such as Facebook and Google. Technical terms, statistical concepts and online tools are closely examined — with useful examples and fresh insights. Later, the author explores the world’s data abundance and how we can make it work for us as a shared resource. Digital ethics, privacy and conspiracy theories are also discussed. Gilbert believes data is the “lifeblood of the digital world”, and — as a general rule — it should flow freely and be a shared resource that everyone contributes to and can benefit from. Better data knowledge and management could produce good digital citizenship that enables more scientific progress, better health outcomes, new consumer products and economic development. Hopefully the best is yet to come.