Book: The Shift by Lynda Gratton


 The Shift - CoverTitleThe Shift:
The Future of Work is Already Here
Author(s)Lynda Gratton
Initially Published In2011
PublisherHarper Collins
Formats AvailablePaperback, and Kindle

The Shift by Lynda Gratton looks at the forces that will change the way we work in the next fifteen years, and the key ‘shifts’ that individuals need to make to survive and thrive.

“A compendium of modern management and social science theories … the novelty of Gratton’s book is her synthesis of so many contemporary ideas about the changes to our working lives ”

— FINANCIAL TIMES (book of the year) 


The Shift takes a long and hard look at the trends that will affect work in future. The author conveys this through short ‘stories’ of individuals in the future – these scenarios include the negative as well as positive.

The Shift starts by identifying five emerging forces and the way they will impact the future of work. The five important forces identified by the author are (1) Technology (esp. the Cloud), (2) Globalization, (3) Demography & longevity, (4) Society, and (5) Energy resources. The book goes on to describe the history, trends and how these will affect our lives in the decades to come.

Part 2 of the book paints a dark picture where these five trends create fragmentation, isolation, and for some, exclusion from work altogether as they are left behind. This is projected as the ‘default future’ where the five forces shaping the future take charge of people’s descent into hell if they are not proactively crafting their future.

The next part of the book focuses on the kind of work that people who actively craft their life can possibly have. These include increase in co-creation/ collaboration, greater social engagement, and creative micro-entrepreneurship.

So what does one have to do to proactively craft one’s future of work? The Shift identifies three main themes that one needs to work on: (1) moving from being the shallow generalist to the serial master, (2) moving from being the isolated competitor to an innovative connector, and (3) moving from being a voracious consumer to an impassioned producer.

At the end there are insightful notes for children, CEOs, and governments on what they can do to move towards a better future.

Well-written and Thought Provoking

I found The Shift entertaining and thought-provoking. It is a current masterpiece on the subject of ‘the future of work’.

The pace (across the 350 odd pages) is breathless, directed and self-assured. While reading the book, the analysis appears sound.

This book helped me think about the future. Though the future may not fully match Gratton’s prediction, it sure is going to be different and some of the things that book predicts will become true.

I think the book should be read by youngsters, parents, leaders (corporate & political), and HR folks.

“Uses historical context brilliantly to put the megatrends … into perspective … simply brilliant. Inspirational and provocative”


The Shift  by Lynda Gratton is available at:

Check out sample pages of the book by using the “Look Inside” feature in Amazon, here. You will get a feel of the book, and you can decide whether it suits you.

About the author

Lynda Gratton, an organizational theorist, consultant, and Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, is known for her work on organisational behavior.

Gratton has worked with many of the world’s biggest companies, including Vodafone, Shell and Unilever.

In 2008 The Financial Times selected her as the business thinker most likely to make a real difference over the next decade. In 2011 she was ranked by The Times as one of the top 15 Business Thinkers in the world today. In 2011, she was also ranked number one in Human Resources Magazine’s “Top 25 HR Most Influential UK Thinkers 2011” poll.

Gratton is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement, a specialist research and consulting team that works to identify where companies can future-proof their working practice, in order to foster innovation and enhance performance.

Here is a TEDx video featuring Lynda Gratton talking about the concepts in the book.

If the video does not open, use the link

The book is available at:

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