Invisibles : The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion


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This is an inspiring look at the hidden stars in every field who perform essential work without recognition. In a culture where so many strive for praise and glory, what kind of person finds the greatest reward in anonymous work? Expanding from his acclaimed Atlantic article, "What Do Fact-Checkers and Anesthesiologists Have in Common?" David Zweig explores what we can all learn from a modest group he calls "Invisibles." Their careers require expertise, skill, and dedication, yet they receive little or no public credit. And that's just fine with them. Zweig met with a wide range of Invisibles to discover first hand what motivates them and how they define success and satisfaction. His fascinating subjects include: a virtuoso cinematographer for major films; the lead engineer on some of the world's tallest skyscrapers; a high-end perfume maker; and an elite interpreter at the United Nations. Despite the diversity of their careers, Zweig found that all Invisibles embody the same core traits. And he shows why the rest of us might be more fulfilled if we followed their example. David Zweig has written for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, among other publications. He has presented his research about how media and technology affect self-perception at numerous universities and academic conferences. This is his first non-fiction book.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 453.59g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 159184634X
  • 9781591846345
  • 401,263

Review quote

It's a refreshing point of view, written with the precision and detail of the magazine fact checker Mr. Zweig used to be. -"The Wall Street Journal" An encouraging salute to the world behind the scenes, where the Invisibles allow the show to go on. Journalist Zweig suggests, with considerable merit, that, in our culture of wanting it all, we have forgotten the hard work of getting there In Zweig s fascinating world, the limelight doesn t hold a candle to the satisfaction of hard work well done. -"Kirkus" Zweig s stint as a fact checker at a magazine no doubt inspired him to look closely at the unsung, behind-the-scenes workers he calls the invisibles .[He] touches on philosophy, religion, and psychology in exploring the satisfaction derived from work exceptionally well done in contrast to the noisyself-promotion now prevalent and uses the profiles to offer some quiet and thoughtful space to consider the inner value of high-quality work. -"Booklist" "A fascinating tour of the hidden landscapes on which human society actually operates. This will change the way you see the world and, hopefully, your place within it."-Douglas Rushkoff, bestselling author of "Present Shock" ""Invisibles" is a one-book cultural revolution, fighting the current cultural tide toward narcissistic self-promotion with the truth that real satisfaction is often silent."-Jean Twenge, bestselling co-author of "The Narcissism Epidemic " "Top Business Book to Read in 2014: "Invisibles "explains why some of the world s most talented, accomplished people choose to fly under the radar It s a clarion call for work as a craft: for generously sharing knowledge without hogging credit and prizing meaningful work above public recognition. An excellent book." -Adam Grant, Wharton professor and bestselling author of "Give and Take" "The genius at the top doesn t make their team look good. It s a great team that makes the guy at the top look like a genius and Invisibles proves it."-Simon Sinek, Optimist and bestselling author of "Start With Why" and "Leaders Eat Last" An interesting and important book. It takes us a step closer to understanding how we can be happier and lead more meaningful lives. We can all benefit from the examples of Invisibles. -"The Buffalo News" The Radical Power of David Zweig s Invisibles . . . precise and insightful. -"Flavorwire" Named one of the 20 Best Books of June -"iTunes" Invisibles perform key tasks without seeking credit. And they re in high demand. -"The New Republic" The great workers who get no credit in a self-promotion obsessed world. -"The Washington Post" There are high-functioning invisibles in all factions of the economy, and they operate almost in defiance of the prevailing wisdom that self-promotion and self-regard bordering on narcissism are the way to get noticed. -"Maclean s" The wisdom of this advice is undeniable. -"New York Magazine" Zweig challenges the pervasive notion that the people who spend the most time getting others to pay attention to them win. -"Fortune""

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About Professor David Zweig

David Zweig is a writer, lecturer and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. His latest book, Invisibles, is about the power of embracing anonymous work in a culture obsessed with praise and recognition. He has released two critically acclaimed albums, All Now With Wings and Keep Going. Both albums charted on college radio playlists and garnered accolades for Zweig, with the press calling him a "symphonic pop prodigy." Zweig's debut novel, Swimming Inside The Sun, a modernist bildungsroman about identity and self-consciousness, was released fall 2009. It quickly gained notice with a rave review from Kirkus calling it a "terrific debut from a talented writer." Zweig has been invited to lecture at universities, academic conferences, and corporations around the U.S. and the world. As a freelance journalist, his pieces have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. More at

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