Shop Class as Soulcraft
An Inquiry into the Value of Work
By Matthew B. Crawford
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143117469, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
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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.
Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago and served as a postdoctoral fellow on its Committee on Social Thought. Currently a fellow at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia.
An Inquiry into the Value of Work: Ex-Bush think-tank dynamo-turned-vintage motorcycle shop owner Crawford calls out the trend in America's displacement of values pertaining to manual trades while questioning the misguided future of would-be knowledge workers (a dirty word as far as Crawford's concerned).