My latest book is written with philosopher Anders Fogh Jensen, and it aims to speak out against our modern work life and all the time we waste doing nothing, in the private sector as well as in the public sector. The book came to life from the questioning of why we haven't obtained the fifteen hour work week that prominent economists and thinkers predicted a hundred years ago. In this book, we put forth a possible explanation as to where the time went. Our answer to that question is that our working hours are consumed by tasks such as administrative duties, quality control, bureaucracy, meetings, e-mails, auditing, communication, and registration. All of which is orchestrated by managers and employees who, above all else, want to appear busy, who don't trust their coworkers and who operate with an exaggerated idea of what a modern organization actually needs. The book is the result of one and a half years of intense research, interviews and personal reflections on how we ended up obstructing our own and our coworkers' work with unnecessary and self-referential tasks – and on what we can do to break out of this constant cycle of pointlessness that we have created for ourselves.
This book came to light because I felt that in my own grabbling with the world of private business I had lacked decent guidance as to how to live outside the public sector, in which I until 2007 had spent nearly all my time. The purpose was to make a book that in a simple and unimpressed language told humanists (and academics from related fields) a little about what would be expected of them in the private business world, and about what they themselves would be able to contribute to it, and finally about what all the strange jargon you encounter there actually mean. The book received much praise for being very entertaining, and it was really a pleasure to write it!
These two books are to a large extent the product of my consultancy work. They are both aimed at people who work with cultural diversity in their day-to-day, but are essentially two distinct books. One is aimed at Danes and the English version is aimed at those who work with people like us. The purpose was to make a good book about cultural understanding that would also remind the reader of his or her own culture. It received many positive reviews and is still one of few Danish books on the market that use both research-based knowledge and at the same time make that knowledge available for practical use in a simple and entertaining language. (Originally, the book was published in 2011 by the ‘Andersenske Forlag’ publisher, from where it has been sold out.)
In 2010 I had the pleasure of editing the anthology ’Friheden Flyver’. The point of which was to show that the current heirs to a political vision of diversity, freedom, and liberation are not the traditional left-wing politicians and pundits, who usually make exclusive claims on these concepts, but instead the conservatives. When it comes to legalized marijuana, sexual inclusivity, freedom of religion, the freedom to choose your own gender and the freedom to do so many other things, it is the conservatives, more often than the leftists, who lead the way. The state does not represent diversity and freedom, but conformity, rigid one-size-fits-all ideas, and control. Both the spiritual and the material life is limited by the state, while the market and its private initiative liberates. Personally, I contributed a text about the laws on smoking to the anthology, which also contains many contributions from some of Denmark’s best pundits and brightest minds.
The first book by Lars Andreassen and I was something as immodest as an attempt to explain what the particularly human consists in, but also an attempt to avoid falling back on the two non-explanations that have dominated much of our intellectual life. One of those is that humanity is exceptional because it has culture (the explanation of philosophy and the humanities), the other is that we are exceptional because of our ”soul” (the explanation of theologists and priests). Because, actually, humanity should not be understood through extraordinary and mystical explanations, but through the explanations that cover all other types of life: the Darwinian ones. That does not mean that the book says that humans are just biology, it means that humans are ALSO biology, and that culture and biology come together in an obviously unique fashion in our species. But the foundation is that we have biological bodies, which is something we cannot avoid taking into consideration. The book’s purpose is to explain our sexuality, language, art, religion, politics, and cognition, and it ends up also examining why humanity so often causes itself so many problems.