Intern Nation

Intern Nation Cover
Intern Nation Cover

How did internships become almost as important as a college degree?

Why are prestigious internships routinely being auctioned off for thousands of dollars?

Why did Disney World in Orlando start employing up to 8,000 interns through its College Program every year? 

Intern Nation was the first book to document and analyze the rise of internships and unpaid work in the modern workplace, a major new practice of the white-collar workplace and rite of passage for young people. Based on hundreds of conversations, the book draws on nearly four years of research, highlighting the stories of dozens of individual interns and the testimony of employers, educators, economists, and labor experts. Among the topics covered the economic impact of internships, their role in young people's lives, the social inequalities they perpetuate, and their effect on particular industries.

Since its publication, Intern Nation has generated an unprecedented discussion, virtually from scratch, about the dangerous new culture of unpaid work that young people face in the labor market and its wider effects on social, economic, racial, and gender equality. Widely reviewed and discussed worldwide, the results have galvanized a long overdue wave of discussion and activism across the US and the UK, including corporate policy changes, high-profile lawsuits, protests, and new advocacy efforts. 

Read an excerpt HERE.

Buy the book HERE.

Selected Reviews

The Washington Post

“[E]ye-opening ... The book tackles a sprawling topic with earnestness and flair.”

The Guardian

“A portrait of how white-collar work is changing ... thought-provoking and at times jaw-dropping—almost a companion volume to Naomi Klein's celebrated 2000 exposé of modern sweatshops, No Logo.”

The New Yorker

“Perlin contends that most internships are illegal, according to the Fair Labor and Standards Act, stripping people who are employees in all but name of workers’ rights.

The London Review of Books 

“A book that offers landmark coverage of its topic.”

The Boston Globe

“[A] blistering, highly entertaining attack on today’s internship culture.”

Time Magazine


The Sunday Times 

“[An] eye-opening, welcome exposé.”


“This vigorous and persuasive book ... argues that the fundamental issue is the growing contingency of the global workforce."

This work is under a Creative Commons license

Last updated: 20 October 2023.