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Physical fatigue and emotional exhaustion is a natural part of being human. But can the cultural perception of burn-out have a history? According to author and researcher Anna Katharina Schaffner, it does.

Schaffner’s book “Exhaustion: A History” is a fascinating exploration of how physical (and mental) exhaustion became a status symbol in the Western World.” The book examine the many ways in which Western societies have understood, codified, represented, and judged this aspect of human physiology over the centuries.

Today people are addressing the modern culture of busy-ness and fatigue in all sorts of ways. For example, ShopTalk presenter Katherine Saunders talks with audiences about why we might want to consider designing work systems that are humane, sustainable and enlivening for the people. If this is an issue that will resonate with your community or audience, book Katherine’s talk for free here.

And we recommend adding Schaffner’s scholarly exploration to your Working Lives reading list. Here is a review of her book: https://newrepublic.com/article/135468/exhaustion-became-status-symbol

ShopTalk is a free program. Community groups can choose from a variety of speakers who are ready to share personal stories and explore what influences work today. Bring a ShopTalk conversation to your community!
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