Reading List: Invisibles

UPDATED: May 21, 2024
PUBLISHED: July 5, 2014

In an era when being famous is recognized as a career path and people who opt out of Facebook are considered Luddites, what kind of person chooses a career that’s essentially anonymous? People who are ambivalent toward public recognition prefer internal satisfaction over external accolades, are meticulous and relish responsibility, says the author.

David Zweig stresses that “invisibles” are not those engaged in mundane jobs; they are highly skilled individuals working in highly regarded professions, albeit careers that aren’t usually in the public eye. The better they do, the more they disappear—because the only time they are noticed is when something goes wrong.

To write Invisibles, he profiled some of these quiet masters of their art, including an interpreter at the United Nations, a top perfumer, and the tech coordinator of a famous rock band, among others. Zweig takes readers behind the scenes, exploring a day in the life of each of his subjects. His fly-on-the-wall reportorial skills give readers an impressive, although sometimes overly detailed, look into the lives of invisibles, who can teach us a few solid things about satisfaction and achievement.

Invisibles are hidden in every industry—are you one?

by David Zweig

Portfolio/Penguin; $27.95

Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.