Escape Total Work! A 4-Week Course Starting In November

To Those Who Received The February Discount Code

The course will be held on each Sunday in February: that is, on February 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th. The start time will be 4 p.m. EST/9 p.m. GMT.

Update (October 12)

The course was full by October 10th, i.e., in 2-3 days after it was listed. If you’d like to be put on a list of those interested in taking the February course, please fill out this contact form.

The Character of Our Time

It has gone largely unnoticed that our time is defined by Total Work, the long historical process through which human beings have been slowly transformed into Workers as nearly every domain of life — almost every nook and cranny — has come to be, or resemble, work. More and more people live for, and sometimes die for, work while mistakenly construing their lives as works themselves.

Video Essay With Daniel Kazandjian
TEDxABQ Talk (2018)

Who’s Teaching This Course? A Fancy, Quasi-work-centric Biography

Andrew Taggart is a practical philosopher. He asks and seeks to answer the most basic questions of human existence with others around the world. In 2009, he finished a Ph.D., left the academic life, and moved to New York City because he thought the most fundamental question of how to live needed to be brought back into our everyday lives. Each day he speaks via Zoom with executives, entrepreneurs, and creatives throughout the US, Canada, and Europe about the nature of a good life. He is also the founder of Askole whose aim is to help technologists examine what, at bottom, they’re taking for granted. His ideas have been discussed in Quartz, The Guardian, Big Think, Wisconsin Public Radio, TEDx, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. He and his wife Alexandra are currently exploring the American Southwest.

At A Sesshin (2018)

OK, So Who’s Really Teaching This Course?

I’m a Zen Buddhist and a philosopher. I care about people. I want to live a wise and loving life, and I want to do my part to end unnecessary human suffering.


Signs of Total Work

Are you burned out? Often anxious? Frequently overwhelmed? Feeling overburdened? At wits’ end with no end in sight?

Who Could Benefit from This Course

During a meeting, you may have had the sneaking suspicion that all of this jazzy talk about—let’s say — product development is really just a bunch of bullshit. Or you may have looked around and wondered, “Am I totally crazy, or is everyone else here crazy?”

A Provisional Schedule

Week #1: Deepening Awareness of Total Work

How do we come, in our daily lives, to see and feel how we’ve been specifically ‘gripped’ and ‘caught’ by Total Work? When and where, exactly, does it show up? In what particular ways have we unwittingly, and rather blindly, been governed by its logic?

Week #2: Turning Over Every Stone

If in Week #1 we started to be more aware of Total Work’s effects on certain aspects of our lives, in Week #2 we roll up our sleeves and begin the inquiry into completeness. Awareness, after all, yearns for thoroughness. To be thorough with ourselves, we need, as best we can, to leave no stone unturned.

Week #3: There’s Nothing Special After All

Around Week #3, we set foot on the path of coming home again. For all this time, during all these years, we’ve come to think that work must be something special; that it must shine with its own brilliance; that it will ‘make something’ of us, making us into Somebody; and that we, in turn, shall be outstanding, remarkable, or special too just so long as we honor its claims and calls. But we are sadly mistaken, and now is the time to lovingly correct our misunderstanding, to see through the tissue of misguided illusions.

Week #4: Tasting Freedom

I don’t think that work should be jettisoned for the simple Buddhist reason that anything in life may have its place in our hearts if only we know how to welcome it and if only we also know how to show it the door when it’s time for it to leave. To jettison it is to continue to react to it and therefore still, perversely, to give energy to it, the energy of hatred. To regard work as a great antagonist: this is not wisdom but imprisonment.

Broad Overview

  1. “Escape Total Work” is a 4-week course running from November 1st to November 22nd. Each class will start at 4 p.m. EST/8 p.m. (20:00) GMT.
  2. Each class, lasting 1 hr. 45 min., will be held weekly on Sundays (i.e., November 1st, November 8th, November 15th, and November 22nd). There will be 4 classes in all. Each student will be expected to come to all 4 classes and to participate in the group philosophical conversations.
  3. Each class will draw on, while deepening the insights from, the prior class. The learning will be experiential in nature: it may begin with a brief guided meditation, move onto a short lecture, and then segue into a group philosophical conversation. The point is to get you to look within.
  4. Deep readings will prepare you for the upcoming class, and “invitations,” which are akin to homework, will be sent out after each class. The latter will help to prepare you for the next class.
  5. The course will be capped at 12 people.
  6. A reading list, consisting of articles on Total Work I’ve written over the past 3 years, excerpts from my forthcoming book The Total Work Manifesto, important books on the history of work, and more, will allow you to dive deeper into specific subjects during the course or, more likely, after it concludes.
  7. A final project — a life design challenge — will enable you to start bringing the experiential knowledge gleaned from the course into the rest of your life.


Frequently Asking Questions

Q1. How can I expect this course to change my relationship with work as well as my relationship with domains outside of work?

Course Details

If this course resonates with you, then you can fill out an application as well as pay the course fee. Both will secure your place in the course.

  1. In the application, I include instructions pertaining to how you can pay via PayPal.
  2. We’ll convene on Google Meet, which I prefer to Zoom. If you haven’t used it before, don’t worry: it’s easier to use than Zoom. I’ll send out the Google Meet link to all participants one day before each class.
  3. If you have any questions about the course, you can ask them by filling out this contact form.

And Just In Case You Can’t Get Enough…

IHMC Public Talk (2019)

Practical Philosopher, Ph.D. | Rinzai Zen Buddhist ( | Examining What Technologists Are Taking For Granted