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David Graeber Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Toward An Anthropological Theory of Value (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lost People (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Possibilities (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Revolutions in Reverse (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Direct Action: An Ethnography (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Debt: The First 5,000 Years (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Utopia of Rules (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
On Kings (With: Marshall Sahlins) (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Anarchy — In a Manner of Speaking (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dawn of Everything (With: David Wengrow) (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Uprisings (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

We Are Many(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
To Dare Imagining(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Why Work?: Arguments for the Leisure Society(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Never Work(2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

About David Graeber

David Graeber was an American anarchist and activist author, who was born and raised in New York City. As a child, he was introduced to a unique interest in Maya hieroglyphics, which resulted in a scholarship at Phillips Academy at Andover. He then returned to state school at SUNY Purchase, where he graduated with a BA in Anthropology in 1984. After receiving his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1996, Graeber held multiple teaching positions, including graduate teaching at Chicago and a junior faculty position at Yale.

Active in the Global Justice Movement, he was also extremely active in numerous other anarchist-inspired projects, but ultimately was not hired for tenure at Yale, which some concluded may have been in part due to his activism. After that experience, Graeber was employed at Goldsmiths, University of London from 2007-2013, and eventually became a full professor at the London School of Economics. All of his work encompassed both intellectual research and practical attempts made in order to create a free society, free of patriarchy, capitalism, and coercive bureaucratic states.

Graeber was an anarchist since the age of 16, and he often tried to ask questions that were important to those actively trying to change the world, instead of those of funders. His two strains of work intertwined and influenced each other in endless ways, creating a creative and mutually reinforcing cycle. He passed away in 2020, leaving behind a legacy of activism and a deep understanding of the human experience.

Early and Personal Life

David Rolfe Graeber was born in 1961, on the 12th of February, to self-taught working-class Jewish intellectuals in New York. His mother, Ruth Rubinstein, was a garment worker, and his father, Kenneth, had been affiliated with the Youth Communist League and served in the Spanish Civil War. Growing up in union-sponsored housing, Graeber was exposed to radical politics from a young age. He began participating in peace marches at the age of seven and declared himself an anarchist at 16.

Graeber went on to receive his B.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase, his master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago, and a Fulbright fellowship to conduct field research in Madagascar. Throughout his life, he remained politically engaged, participating in the initial meetings to create Occupy Wall Street and contributing to the Kurdish Freedom Movement. He also helped popularize the phrase “We are the 99%”, which was later adapted from his original suggestion to call themselves the 99%.

Writing Career

David Graeber was an influential writer and activist who left an imprint on the world with his work. He was an anthropologist and professor at the London School of Economics, and his career was marked by accomplishments that earned him recognition in the academic and political realms.

Graeber’s first book, titled Lost People, was an ethnography of Betafo (Arivonimamo), a community in Madagascar. This work was written in a dialogic style, which was well-received by readers. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value was published shortly after, and was a tribute to one of his mentors at the University of Chicago, Terry Turner. He went on to write Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, a tiny book that gave him the title of “the anarchist anthropologist.”

In addition, Graeber wrote Direct Action: an Ethnography, Possibilities, Constituent Imagination, Revolutions in Reverse, Debt: the First 5000 Years, The Democracy Project, The Utopia of Rules, On Kings, and Bullshit Jobs: A Theory. He was in the process of writing a series of works with the archaeologist David Wengrow, which aimed to completely reimagine the origins of social inequality.

Bullshit Jobs

David Graeber’s stand-alone non-fiction book ‘Bullshit Jobs’ was published on May 15th, 2018 by the renowned publisher Penguin. The book was written by the renowned author David Graeber, who is well-known for his expertise in the field of anthropology. It was published as a stand-alone non-fiction book, allowing readers to gain insight into the topic of meaningful employment.

David Graeber’s book ‘Bullshit Jobs’ explores the idea of meaningful work, and how many jobs do not contribute to the world in a positive way. There are millions of people in jobs that are regarded as ‘useless’ and they are aware of it, and Graeber looks into the underlying causes of this phenomenon, and allows people to reconsider what sort of work should be valued in our society. He encourages us to embrace creative and caring work, and outlines how those ideals are shared by many different thinkers. This book encourages individuals and societies to rethink their values and make meaningful contributions to the world.

David Graeber’s ‘Bullshit Jobs’ is an eye-opening read. The book examines the idea of meaningful work and how many jobs are not beneficial to our world. Through research and analysis, Graeber looks at the underlying causes of this growing issue, and how to view work in a different light. He encourages readers to embrace creative and caring work, and how these values are shared by many. This book provides a great insight into the current state of the working world, and inspires us to make meaningful contributions to society.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’ was published by Melville House on 9 December, 2014. This stand-alone work was authored by David Graeber, and is a critically acclaimed book on the history of debt and its implications on societies. The book has been praised for its coverage of a range of cultures and approaches to the topic, giving readers an interesting insight into the history of debt.

In Debt: The First 5,000 Years, anthropologist David Graeber challenges the popular belief that money was invented to replace barter systems. Through his research, he shows that humans have actually been using credit systems for over 5,000 years, and that arguments about debt have been at the core of political debates. He further explores how the language of law and religion have grown from these debates, and how it continues to shape our ideas of right and wrong. This book offers a deep look into the history of debt and its implications for the present and future of our economy.

David Graeber
David Graeber was born February 12, 1961 in New York City to a working class Jewish family.

His first experience of political activism came at the age of seven, when he attended peace marches in New York’s Fire Island and Central Park. He was an anarchist starting at the age of 16.

David graduated from Phillips Andover in 1978 and got his BA from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1984. He got his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Chicago, where he won a Fulbright fellowship in order to conduct 20 months of ethnographic field research in Betafo, Madagascar, starting in 1989. His resulting PhD thesis on slavery, magic, and politics was all supervised by Marshall Sahlins and was called “The Disastrous Ordeal of 1987: Memory and Violence in Rural Madagascar”.

David was an assistant professor and associate professor of anthropology at Yale University from 1998 until 2007, where he specialized in theories of social theory and value. The university made the controversial decision not to renew his contract just before he was eligible for tenure.

Since he was unable to secure another position in the United States, he entered into an “academic exile” in England, where he was a reader and lecturer at Goldsmiths’ College from 2008 until 2013, and was a professor at the London School of Economics in 2013.

His activism includes protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001, and the 2002 World Economic Forum in New York City. He was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and has sometimes been credited with having coined the “We are the 99 percent”.

After being in a relationship with Lauren Leve (an anthropologist), he married Nika Dubrovsky (an artist) in 2019. they collaborated on a series of workshops, books, and conversations called “Anthropology for Kids” and on the Museum of Care, which was meant to produce and maintain social relationships.

David died suddenly on September 2, 2020, at the age of 59, from necrotic pancreatitis while he was on vacation in Venice, Italy with his wife and friends.

“Debt: The First 5,000 Years” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2011. Before there was even money, there was debt.

Every economics textbook says the exact same thing: Money was invented in order to replace the complicated and onerous barter system and to relieve ancient folks from needing to haul their goods to market. The issue with this version of history? There is not a shred of evidence to support it.

Here David Graeber (anthropologist) presents this stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He illustrates that for over 5,000 years, since the start of the first agrarian empires, humans have used these elaborate credit systems in order to sell and buy goods, which is long before the invention of cash or coins. It is during this era, David argues, which we also first encounter a society divided into creditors and debtors.

He shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the core of political debates from China to Italy, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also demonstrates brilliantly that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words such as “redemption”, “guilt”, and “sin”) derive in large part from ancient debates of debt, and they shape even our most basic ideas of wrong and right. We’re still fighting these battles even today without fully realizing it.

This is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history, as well as how it’s defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of modern day and the future of our economy.

“Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2018. A powerful argument against the rise of unfulfilling and meaningless jobs, and their consequences.

Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? During the spring of 2013, David asked this very question in a provocative and playful essay called “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs”. It went viral. And after a million online views in seventeen different languages, people all around the world still debate the answer.

There are millions of people: telemarketing researchers, communication coordinators, HR consultants, corporate lawyers, whose jobs are just useless, and they tragically know it. These people are caught in their bullshit jobs.

David explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, which includes among other villains this particular strain of finance capitalism which betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Lincoln to Keynes. This book gives corporations, individuals, and societies the permission to undergo a shift in their values, placing caring and creative work at the center of our culture. This is a book for everybody that wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.

“The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2021. One dramatically new understanding of human history, which challenges our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution, from the development of agriculture and cities moving to the origins of the state, inequality, and democracy, and reveals some new possibilities for human emancipation.

For generations our most remote ancestors have been cast as childlike and primitive, either equal and free innocents, or warlike and thuggish. Civilization, we’ve been informed, could only be achieved just by sacrificing those original freedoms, or (alternatively) by taming our more baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow illustrate how these theories first emerged during the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to some of the powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous intellectuals and observers. Revisiting such an encounter has some startling implications for how we make sense of human history in the present, including the origins of property, slavery, farming, cities, and democracy, even civilization itself.

These authors show just how history gets to be a much more interesting place once we learn to buck our own conceptual shackles and see what’s truly there. So if humans didn’t spend 95% of their evolutionary past in tiny groups of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing with their time?

This book fundamentally transforms our comprehension of the human past and offers up a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, some new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book about formidable intellectual range, animated by moral vision, curiosity, and this faith in the power of direct action.

Book Series In Order » Authors » David Graeber

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