Great episode from HBR IdeaCast on the fundamental human relationship with work, featuring an interview with anthropologist James Suzman.

For hunter gatherers, when times were good, these were times to relax the most. So, Ju/’hoansi for example, there’s a nut called the mongongo nut and they had this great quote, why should we farm when there’s so many mongongo nuts in the world? And during the prolific season of mongongo nuts, people worked less. So, when the season was great, people spent less effort working and more time playing and on leisure.

By contrast with farming, when the seasons are good, that’s when you work the hardest. You work the hardest to try and sustain and maintain that surplus. When you’re dependent on a crop of barley and some, you know, a herd of goats, you’ve effectively got eggs in one basket. And you live constantly, a drought, a flood, a frost, a blight and a plague away from potential famine.

Have a listen here or search 'HBR IdeaCast' wherever you search for things on the internet.