Is Your Work Worth It?

How to Think About Meaningful Work

Coming Soon


By Christopher Wong Michaelson

By Jennifer Tosti-Kharas

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$41.00 CAD

What is work that’s worth doing in a life worth living? A revealing exploration of the questions we ask and the stories we tell about our work.

According to recent studies, barely a third of American workers feel “engaged” at work, and for many people around the world, happiness is lowest when earning power is highest. After a global pandemic that changed why, how, and what people do for a living, many workers find themselves wondering what makes their daily routine worthwhile.

In Is Your Work Worth It?, two professors – a philosopher and organizational psychologist – investigate the purpose of work and its value in our lives. The book explores vital questions, such as: 

  • Should you work for love or money?
  • When and how much should you work?
  • What would make life worth living in a world without work?
  • What kind of mark will your work leave on the world?

This essential book combines inspiring and harrowing stories of real people with recent scholarship, ancient wisdom, arts, and literature to help us clarify what worthy work looks like, what tradeoffs are acceptable to pursue it, and what our work can contribute to society.

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  • “Wise, intelligent, provocative, and ambitious. A worthy read, in which the authors ask us to explore and consider what our own work means and what role it plays in our lives. A beautiful book.”
    Amy C Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School, and author of Right Kind of Wrong
  • “Michaelson and Tosti-Kharas have masterfully tackled the crucial question of finding purpose and meaning through work. In a world where the nature of work is evolving rapidly, this book provides essential insights from both personal experiences and academic expertise. A valuable compass for anyone seeking purpose in their professional journey.”
    Hubert Joly, former CEO of Best Buy, senior lecturer Harvard Business School, and author of The Heart of Business
  • "In the tradition of Studs Terkel’s Working, this profound and engaging book tells workers’ stories, peppered with philosophical insights, to explore what makes work worthy. It challenges us to reflect on what we do for a living, why we do it, and how our self-worth stacks up against our net worth.”
    Joanne B. Ciulla, Professor and Director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers University, and author of The Working Life
  • “This rich and engaging book shares the wisdom of diverse thinkers, from Aristotle to Dolly Parton, and guides the reader through a series of profound questions about the meaning and value of work. Instead of providing one-size-fits all answers, it presents stories of real people and their work, told with compassion and insight. Highly recommended!”
    Valerie Tiberius, Paul W. Frenzel Chair in Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, and author of What Do You Want Out of Life?
  • “A thoughtful, thought-provoking read on what makes our jobs significant. This book won’t give you all the answers, but it will help you ask the right questions.”
    Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again, and host of the podcast WorkLife
  • “Whether you’re at the beginning, middle or nearing the end of your career, this book will help you navigate important questions about balance, purpose, and legacy. Michaelson and Tosti- Kharas masterfully weave personal narratives, philosophy and science together to produce an invaluable guide to making more informed career choices.”
    Katy Milkman, James G. Dinan Professor at the Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, and author of How to Change
  • “The first question you hear when you meet someone is often “what do you do for a living?” But people rarely follow that with “why?” This book digs into this critical idea, using interesting and compelling anecdotes to contemplate what it means to do purposeful work. It challenges us not with answers but with questions we rarely take the time to consider. Why do we work? What purpose does the work you do serve? What role can your work play in creating the world you wish to see?”
    Shannon Schuyler, PwC Chief Purpose & Inclusion Officer
  • “An exploration of work that will speak to your head, heart, and soul. As touching as it is essential.”
    Dolly Chugh, Author of The Person You Mean to Be and A More Just Future, NYU Stern Professor

On Sale
May 7, 2024
Page Count
304 pages

Christopher Wong Michaelson

About the Author

Christopher Wong Michaelson is a philosopher with 25 years of experience advising business leaders pursuing meaning and providing work with a purpose. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and then joined the New York office of Price Waterhouse (now PwC) as one of the first five consultants in a business ethics practice. When he accepted a full-time faculty position teaching corporate ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he kept a foot for several more years at PwC working on its Global CEO Survey and as its first Strategy Officer to the World Economic Forum. Christopher went from Wharton to NYU’s Stern School of Business, where he still teaches, and later joined one of the largest business ethics faculties in the world at the University of St. Thomas, where he is the Opus Distinguished Professor and Academic Director of the Melrose and The Toro Company Center for Principled Leadership. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, three kids, and two dogs.

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Jennifer Tosti-Kharas

About the Author

Jennifer Tosti-Kharas is the Camilla Latino Spinelli Endowed Term Chair and Professor of Management at Babson College. Her research on meaningful work, work as a calling, and employee sustainability efforts has been published in top journals, covered in international news outlets, and recognized with Best Paper awards by academic publishers and the Academy of Management. She has co-authored a digital, interactive textbook, Organizational Behavior: Developing Skills for Managers and co-edited The Handbook of Research Methods in Careers. A former management consultant, Jen works with both companies and individuals to craft meaningful careers and appreciate the risks and rewards of work as a calling. She holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Management with an emphasis on Organizational Behavior from the Stern School of Business of New York University. She lives outside Boston with her husband and two kids.

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