A philosopher/mechanic's wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands Called "the sleeper hit of the publishing season" by The Boston Globe, Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.
A philosopher and mechanic extolls the virtues of manual labor, describing how the satisfactions and challenges of creating with one's own hands promotes a sense of connection to life that office work suppresses.
From the author of the landmark Shop Class as Soulcraft, a brilliant, first-of-its-kind celebration of driving as a unique pathway of human freedom, one now critically threatened by automation. "A thoughtful, entertaining, and substantive work about the joys of driving." —Wall Street Journal Once we were drivers, the open road alive with autonomy, adventure, danger, trust, and speed. Today we are as likely to be in the back seat of an Uber as behind the wheel ourselves. Tech giants are hurling us toward a shiny, happy “self-driving” future, selling utopia but equally keen to advertise to a captive audience strapped into another expensive device. Are we destined, then, to become passengers, not drivers? Why We Drive reveals that much more may be at stake than we might think. Ten years ago, in the New York Times-bestselling Shop Class as Soulcraft, philosopher-mechanic Matthew B. Crawford—a University of Chicago PhD who owned his own motorcycle shop—made a revolutionary case for manual labor, one that ran headlong against the pretentions of white-collar office work. Now, using driving as a window through which to view the broader changes wrought by technology on all aspects of contemporary life, Crawford investigates the driver’s seat as one of the few remaining domains of skill, exploration, play—and freedom. Blending philosophy and hands-on storytelling, Crawford grounds the narrative in his own experience in the garage and behind the wheel, recounting his decade-long restoration of a vintage Volkswagen as well as his journeys to thriving automotive subcultures across the country. Crawford leads us on an irreverent but deeply considered inquiry into the power of faceless bureaucracies, the importance of questioning mindless rules, and the battle for democratic self-determination against the surveillance capitalists. A meditation on the competence of ordinary people, Why We Drive explores the genius of our everyday practices on the road, the rewards of “folk engineering,” and the existential value of occasionally being scared shitless. Witty and ingenious throughout, Why We Drive is a rebellious and daring celebration of the irrepressible human spirit.
The key to personal choice, and even happiness, is to gain control of our attention—our mental lives. Matthew Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, which challenged our notions about what we do and how it affects our sense of self (and our happiness). This new book addresses the crisis of attention: where we focus -- or cannot focus--equally affects our sense of self. As our mental lives become more fragmented, what is at stake often seems to be nothing less than the question of whether one can maintain a coherent self. The key to a better life then is to get command not just of one’s physical environment, but of one’s mental life, too. Like Shop Class as Soulcraft, Crawford uses case studies as well as entertaining musings from his own personal observations to describe the fundamental shift surrounding attention that is happening in our culture. From making a surfboard, to parenting, to anxiously navigating the inside of an airport—all provide clues to a phenomenon that we increasingly experience, but could not put into words, until now. An accessible and food for thought kind of look at what our difficulties with attention mean for us as free thinking people.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 45-page guide for "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Matthew B. Crawford includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 8 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like The Importance of the Stochastic Arts and Problems in Modern Education.
A book for makers, for seekers of all kinds, an exhilarating look into the heart and soul of artisans—and how their collective wisdom can inspire us all. "Despite our technological advances, we’re busier than ever, our lives more frazzled. That’s why the handmade object, created with care and detail, embodying a history and a tradition, is enormously powerful. It can cut through so much and speak in ways that we don’t often hear, or that we’ve forgotten." —Eric Gorges, from A Craftsman’s Legacy In this joyful celebration of skilled craftsmen, Eric Gorges, a corporate-refugee-turned-metal-shaper, taps into a growing hunger to get back to what’s real. Through visits with fellow artisans—calligraphers, potters, stone carvers, glassblowers, engravers, woodworkers, and more—many of whom he’s profiled for his popular television program, Gorges identifies values that are useful for all of us: taking time to slow down and enjoy the process, embracing failure, knowing when to stop and when to push through, and accepting that perfection is an illusion. Most of all, A Craftsman’s Legacy shows how all of us can embrace a more creative and authentic life and learn to focus on doing what we love.
A philosopher/mechanic's wise (and sometimes funny) look at the challenges and pleasures of working with one's hands Called "the sleeper hit of the publishing season" (The Boston Globe), Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker," based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world. From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Max Bloomquist brings his considerable talents to Crawford's meditation on the meaning of work and disparity between blue collar and white collar occupations. Crawford draws on his own experience—he quit a miserable think tank job and has found joy and meaning working as a motorcycle mechanic—to question the presumed value of the cubicle working world, deplore society's disconnection from the material world and vividly convey the reward of working with one's hands. Bloomquist reads with authority and erudition; his steady, everyman narration makes Crawford's well-founded arguments even more persuasive. A Penguin Press hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 20). (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Bookmarks Magazine We note that Publishers Weekly named Shop Class as Soulcraft one of the top ten books of 2009. Reviewers were clearly intrigued by Crawford's argument, but only a couple of them seemed fully persuaded. (The New York Times Book Review critic, for example, admitted to enjoying Crawford's manual work alongside his academic career.) But most critics, while praising the book's overall premise, seemed a little hesitant about fully embracing Shop Class as Soulcraft, perhaps because, as the New York Times reviewer observed, many of the author's personal preferences and quirks, such as Crawford's defense of dirty jokes, seem to impede his argument. However, it's hard not to be interested in a philosopher who, in a nation that privileges intellectual attainment, can also successfully replace a carburetor. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From AudioFile Crawford offers a compelling book at a time when we struggle to define our values amid the whirl of technological progress. However, narrator Max Bloomquist falls a little short in his performance. Crawford argues that while technology entices us with promises of convenience and ease, our ignorance about the mechanics of our magic machines disempowers us as a society and as individuals. Though competent, Bloomquist's voice doesn't do full justice to the ominous warnings--reminiscent of Huxley--implied in the book. At times, Bloomquist's delivery even has a note of what sounds like condescension that seems unintended by the author. Still, the experience of listening to Crawford's book while driving or working might bring home the power of its message. L.P. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Review "It's appropriate that [Shop Class as Soulcraft] arrives in May, the month when college seniors commence real life. Skip Dr. Seuss, or a tie from Vineyard Vines, and give them a copy for graduation.... It's not an insult to say that Shop Class is the best self-help book that I've ever read. Almost all works in the genre skip the "self" part and jump straight to the "help." Crawford rightly asks whether today's cubicle dweller even has a respectable self....It's kind of like Heidegger and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." -Slate "Matt Crawford's remarkable book on the morality and metaphysics of the repairman looks into the reality of practical activity. It is a superb combination of testimony and reflection, and you can't put it down." -Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University "Every once in a great while, a book will come along that's brilliant and true and perfect for its time. Matthew B. Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft is that kind of book, a prophetic and searching examination of what we've lost by ceasing to work with our hands-and how we can get it back. During this time of cultural anxiety and reckoning, when the conventional wisdom that has long driven our wealthy, sophisticated culture is foundering amid an economic and spiritual tempest, Crawford's liberating volume appears like a lifeboat on the horizon." -Rod Dreher, author of Crunchy Cons: The New Conservative Counterculture and Its Return to Roots "This is a deep exploration of craftsmanship by someone with real, hands-on knowledge. The book is also quirky, surprising, and sometimes quite moving." -Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman "Matt Crawford has written a brave and indispensable book. By making a powerful case for the enduring value of the manual trades, Shop Class as Soulcraft offers a bracing alternative to the techno-babble that passes for conventional wisdom, and points the way to a profoundly necessary reconnection with the material world. No one who cares about the future of human work can afford to ignore this book." -Jackson Lears, Editor in Chief, Raritan "We are on the verge of a national renewal. It will have more depth and grace if we read Crawford's book carefully and take it to heart. He is a sharp theorist, a practicing mechanic, and a captivating writer." -Albert Borgmann, author of Real American Ethics "Shop Class as Soulcraft is easily the most compelling polemic since The Closing of the American Mind. Crawford offers a stunning indictment of the modern workplace, detailing the many ways it deadens our senses and saps our vitality. And he describes how our educational system has done violence to our true nature as 'homo faber'. Better still, Crawford points in the direction of a richer, more fulfilling way of life. This is a book that will endure." -Reihan Salam, associate editor at The Atlantic, co-author of Grand New Party "Crawford reveals the satisfactions of the active craftsman who cultivates his own judgment, rather than being a passive consumer subject to manipulated fantasies of individuality and creativity." - Nathan Tarcov, Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago Philosopher and motorcycle repair-shop owner Crawford extols the value of making and fixing things in this masterful paean to what he calls "manual competence," the ability to work with one's hands. According to the author, our alienation from how our possessions are made and how they work takes many forms: the decline of shop class, the design of goods whose workings cannot be accessed by users (such as recent Mercedes models built without oil dipsticks) and the general disdain with which we regard the trades in our emerging "information economy." Unlike today's "knowledge worker," whose work is often so abstract that standards of excellence cannot exist in many fields (consider corporate executives awarded bonuses as their companies sink into bankruptcy), the person who works with his or her hands submits to standards inherent in the work itself: the lights either turn on or they don't, the toilet flushes or it doesn't, the motorcycle roars or sputters. With wit and humor, the author deftly mixes the details of his own experience as a tradesman and then proprietor of a motorcycle repair shop with more philosophical considerations. - Publishers Weekly, Starred review Philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Crawford presents a fascinating, important analysis of the value of hard work and manufacturing. He reminds readers that in the 1990s vocational education (shop class) started to become a thing of the past as U.S. educators prepared students for the "knowledge revolution." Thus, an entire generation of American "thinkers" cannot, he says, do anything, and this is a threat to manufacturing, the fundamental backbone of economic development. Crawford makes real the experience of working with one's hands to make and fix things and the importance of skilled labor. His philosophical background is evident as he muses on how to live a pragmatic, concrete life in today's ever more abstract world and issues a clarion call for reviving trade and skill development classes in American preparatory schools. The result is inspired social criticism and deep personal exploration. Crawford's work will appeal to fans of Robert Pirsig's classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and should be required reading for all educational leaders. Highly recommended; Crawford's appreciation for various trades may intrigue readers with white collar jobs who wonder at the end of each day what they really accomplished. - Library Journal
Why do some jobs offer fulfilment while others leave us frustrated? Why do we so often think of our working selves as separate from our 'true' selves? Over the course of the twentieth century, we have separated mental work from manual labour, replacing the workshop with either the office cubicle or the factory line. In this inspiring and persuasive book, Matthew Crawford explores the dangers of this false distinction and presents instead the case for working with your hands. He brings to life the immense psychological and intellectual satisfactions of making and fixing things, explores the moral benefits of a technical education and, at a time when jobs are increasingly being outsourced over the internet, argues that the skilled manual trades may be one of the few sure paths to a good living. Drawing on the work of our greatest thinkers, from Aristotle to Heidegger, from Karl Marx to Iris Murdoch, as well as on his own experiences as an electrician and motorcycle mechanic, Crawford delivers a radical, timely and extremely enjoyable re-evaluation of our attitudes to work.
Welcome to the Age of Immediacy. We're in a new era of learning, one in which learners expect information to be available anywhere and anytime. How do you make sure your learning experiences keep up with the pace of workplace transformation? In Learning in the Age of Immediacy: 5 Factors for How We Connect, Communicate, and Get Work Done, learning strategist Brandon Carson argues that five edge technologies (augmented reality and virtual reality, the cloud, mobile, big data, and the Internet of Everything) are transforming the modern workplace, requiring new learning methods to empower the modern worker. Through real-world case studies and interviews with industry experts and business leaders, he shows how these technologies affect training's design, delivery, and evaluation. He also provides practical advice to integrate the five factors into your learning strategy, helping you answer important questions along the way: What will the workforce you support look like in the next several years? How will you provide in-the-moment learning for the streaming economy the cloud has introduced? Do you have a mobile learning strategy? (You should). And how will you use the emerging practice of data science to provide evidence of training’s value to the business? The stakes are high, and these factors could be the difference between achieving measurable results or driving your learners to seek solutions elsewhere. Use Learning in the Age of Immediacy to create a learning plan that will serve your workforce now and in the future!
Why do we make things? Why do we choose the emotionally and physically demanding work of bringing new objects into the world with creativity and skill? Why does it matter that we make things well? What is the nature of work? And what is the nature of a good life? Part memoir, part polemic, part philosophical reflection, this is a book about the process of creation and what it means to be a craftsman in a mass-produced world. For woodworker Peter Korn, the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one’s own efforts is exactly what generates authenticity, meaning, and fulfilment, for which many of us yearn. This is not a ‘how-to’ book in any sense, Korn wants to get at the ‘why’ of craft in particular, and the satisfaction of creative work in general, to understand its essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently in this heartfelt, personal and revealing book.
In a provocative challenge to Republican conventional wisdom, two of the Right's rising young thinkers call upon the GOP to focus on the interests and needs of working-class voters.Grand New Party lays bare the failures of the conservative revolution and presents a detailed blueprint for building the next Republican majority. Blending history, analysis, and fresh, often controversial recommendations, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argue that it is time to move beyond the Reagan legacy and the current Republican power structure. With specific proposals covering such hot-button topics as immigration, health care, and taxes, Grand New Party shakes up the Right, challenges the Left, and confronts the changing political landscape.
A celebration of craftsmanship, teamwork, and the relationship between contractor and client. "An enriching and poetic tribute to manual labour."—Karl Ove Knausgaard Making Things Right is the simple yet captivating story of a loft renovation, from the moment master carpenter and contractor Ole Thorstensen submits an estimate for the job to when the space is ready for occupation. As the project unfolds, we see the construction through Ole’s eyes: the meticulous detail, the pesky splinters, the problem solving, patience, and teamwork required for its completion. Yet Ole’s narrative encompasses more than just the fine mechanics of his craft. His labor and passion drive him toward deeper reflections on the nature of work, the academy versus the trades, identity, and life itself. Rich with descriptions of carpentry and process, Making Things Right is a warm and humorous portrayal of a tightknit working community, a story about the blood, sweat, and frustration involved in doing a job well and the joys in seeing a vision take shape.