BOOKS / In the lists

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The Independent Culture
The Empty Raincoat, now six weeks in the charts, is one of those wild-card bestsellers - just shows what being featured in the Independent on Sunday can do for a chap. Apart from the title - spy thriller? grubby video? - it's a shy-looking volume, but it has struck a chord with a nervous and gloomy nation. It is about unemployment, or rather about the new ways of being employed that we're going to have to get used to. No nonsense about green shoots here, nor blithe predictions of endless leisure for all. Charles Handy believes there's precious little we can do to change the way the world is going, so we might as well adapt and survive: no more jobs for life in big organisations, just a lot of creative trading of useful skills and precious time. The book's charm is in its winning mix of serious philosophy, commercial sense and cheerful homespun wisdom - in fact just what you'd expect from an ex-oil executive, London Business School professor and sometime deliverer of Radio 4's Thought for the Day. Don't mock. It's a great relief, after all those finger-snapping Ten Minute Manager-style executive bibles of the Eighties.