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Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
 
 

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work [Kindle Edition]

Matthew B. Crawford
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"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



Kurzbeschreibung

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.



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5.0 von 5 Sternen super buch 8. Dezember 2013
Von Ivy
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
A very interesting read for everybody who is doubting whether company culture and our working routines make any sense at all
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Necessary book 7. Juni 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
Extremely interesting book. It makes you think seriously about our hyper-sophisticated civilization, which is actually so fragile and prone to fail thanks to the gradual loss of knowledge.
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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Super 23. August 2010
Format:Taschenbuch
Es ist nicht so einfach zu lesen aber sher gut.
This book makes one re-think what one is doing in life, a real thinking wo/man's book.
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2 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Searching for Meaningful Work 22. Juli 2009
Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." -- 1 Corinthians 15:58

Imagine that you build sand castles for a living. It could be pretty frustrating. When the tide comes in, a wave will wash away all but the memory of your work. Or if the waves don't get you, a careless foot may. Alternatively, the wind will blow your castle down.

It's the nature of a very secular society to seek enormous satisfactions from work. After all, it's what we mostly do on Monday through Friday. Matthew Crawford describes his experiences and observations about how to gain pleasure and meaning from work. He does so from an unusual perspective. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the University of Chicago but prefers to repair old motorcycles.

After you go through the story of his working life, you'll be reminded of all those wonderful vignettes in Studs Terkel's book, Working. You don't have to be president of the United States to find work satisfying.

Mr. Crawford posits these kinds of qualities for making work meaningful:

1. You work on something you care about.
2. You come into contact with those whose lives will be affected by your work.
3. The nature of the tasks is inherently satisfying to you.
4. You get to solve difficult problems.
5. You develop expertise that makes the work more enjoyable and helpful.
6. You use creative thinking.
7. You are not bound by time, space, or quotas.

For much of the book, he describes in glowing terms how great motorcycle repair is for him . . . and some of the satisfactions of electrical work.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  271 Rezensionen
356 von 374 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Radical, Timely, Moving. 28. Mai 2009
Von David McCune - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
This could easily be the most important book a parent or young adult reads this year.

Matt Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft touched a chord with me. Both his life and his book are a rebuke to the assumptions which govern modern ideas about work, economics, self-worth, and happiness. Crawford would seem to have lived the American Dream right into his twenties. He finished his formal education (which, to judge by the breadth of references to literature and philosophy in the book, wasn't shabby) and was quickly hired by a Washington "think tank". Any young, aggressive climber would recognize this as a coveted place from which to launch of career. But where others would see a rapid ascent up the social pyramid, Crawford sensed emptiness. He left to work in a motorcycle repair shop, where he got his hands dirty, fixed bikes, and used his brain. Where others might see "mere" manual labor, he learned the value of a tangible skill. He now shares with readers his thoughts on this value, how it is vanishing from modern society, and the implications for us as a people.

Crawford traces the evolution of shop class, its intended and unintended consequences, and its subsequent rapid retreat from our schools. He lays out the historical transition from individual craftsman to interchangeable piece of a human assembly line during the industrial revolution. Much more frighteningly, he reviews how the same approach is well underway in the "white collar" information economy. Whether one has lived the absurdities of cubicle farms first hand or only through Dilbert, it is not hard to see how the modern, homogenized college prep education and liberal arts degree leaves a modern worker predisposed to try to fit as a cog in a modern information assembly line. Crawford taps a fundamental part of the psyche as he reminds us of the inherent pride in being able to say "I fix bikes" when asked what he does for a living. Does a country really need every high school student to strive to attend college? Crawford makes the case that for many this will not only be a waste of time and money, but will ultimately land them in careers in which they have trouble seeing the value of what they do. Too many will, in the words my son once used to describe my job, "type on the computer and answer the phone".

This advice may be coming at a perfect time. Although he claims it is not his goal to discuss the economics of working with one's hands, Crawford still makes a compelling case. As anyone who has called tech support can vouch, it is easy to transfer information economy jobs overseas. Helping someone deal with computer software can be done from India or the Philippines, but you can't hammer a nail over the internet. Crawford builds his case with anecdote, WSJ articles, and quotes from professors of economics. We may all make jokes about droopy overalls and plumber's crack, but there's a good chance that that plumber has better job prospects than many in the graduating college class of 2009. Plumbing may not be totally recession-proof, but there will always be a demand for a person who can fix a plugged drain.

Still, the best parts of the book are where Crawford talks about what working with the hands can do for a person's mind and soul. When he describes the satisfaction of hearing the roar of a motorcycle leaving his shop, knowing that it arrived in the bed of a truck, it is clearly heartfelt. His desire to share that experience with others is palpable. Well, maybe that not exactly it. More the desire to say "there is another path" to the members of our society, in particular those about to shuffle off to college because that's simple what one does after high school. To them I would say: read his book, and consider how your brain might be engaged by the thoughtful application of experience and labor in a trade. Decide if the potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of college and years of debt really return enough value to your life to make college worthwhile.

For the rest of us, now past that decision point, consider Crawford's thoughts on freedom and specialization. Maybe it _does_ make financial sense to contract out our projects and repairs, but does that necessarily make it wrong to try to fix things ourselves? Are we truly free if so much of the technology we depend on is beyond our ability to repair it? Perhaps Crawford has a point, that there is more to work than simple money and time. Maybe dirty hands will be good for our souls.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-Robert A. Heinlein
772 von 837 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Half the Story 1. Juni 2009
Von D B Cooper - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is very nicely done. There is a dignity and elegance to hands-on work, and a pointlessness to much that's done in a cubicle these days, and the author does an impressive job of bringing both to the reader's understanding. Probably the expression in this book of what can be fulfilling about craftsmanship is unmatched. If you love working with your hands but have never put your finger (pun intended) on exactly what that magic is this book will make you smile. If you've never fixed something yourself it will have you tearing apart whatever you own that can still be serviced (probably not much) and chasing the feeling you got from reading about it. I've done a lot of mechanical work but never could have expressed its virtues the way Mr. Crawford has. Great job.

There are two problems. The first is the 'Malcolm Gladwell problem'. Remember when our founding fathers published pamphlets? Let's bring that back. This first appeared as an essay and probably should have stayed as one, it's just not full length book material.

The other problem is that he presents a simple truth which is only half the story. To the author, there is hand-work, in which feedback is absolute therefore the work stays meaningful, and office work, in which achievement is unnecessary and an accent on procedure over substance has ruined everything. What he's missing (and this is where some of the condescension toward craftsmanship Mr. Crawford bristles at so is actually based on a grain of truth) is that all these possibilities exist in both worlds, they're just more obvious in the hands-on. We have all gotten back a car that's still broken because a mechanic only followed the procedures in a shop manual he was ordered to follow by corporate hq. Gertrude Stein's famous term was actually borrowed from a Paris car mechanic who found the younger mechanics went through the motions but didn't understand what they were working on and so missed the nuances. He called the up-and-coming mechanics a 'lost generation'. The point is that hand workers make the mistakes and work in the ways the author treats as unique to offices. Likewise, good managers cause nebulous organizations to work better. In, say, a school, it is much more difficult to diagnose a case of students who don't learn what they could than it is to notice a light that doesn't light. And you can bet the fix will take perception, subtlety, strength of character tempered with patience, tolerance for bureaucracy, etc. etc. yet people do this. It's just harder, that's why they fail a lot.

The problem with this book seems to be that the author could not find a way to do this in his former (white collar) work life and instead moved to a world in which he could recognize faults and determine fixes. When he found this spot, life became more satisfying for him. That's wonderful, and he expresses the process and joy marvelously. But it's quite different than one world being wrong and the other right - the impression he gives.
81 von 85 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A great book with so many useful lessons. 27. Juni 2009
Von CR73 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
It's hard to put into words the message I got from this book. As a college graduate with dual degrees in economics and engineering who spends most of his day in a cubicle, pushing paper and feeling my soul drain out of my body, this book put into words a lot of the feelings and internal conflicts I struggle with daily. About a year ago, I grew tired of not working with my hands and using my creativity so I enrolled in a machinist training program at a local community college to satisfy my needs. I got so much out of working with my hands, it was almost therapy for me. The author writes about how much we can gain from working with our hands, stimulating creativity, problem solving, and a real connection with a tangible result from our work. Think of how many days you've spent at the office, making conference calls, sending emails and filling out spreadsheets, only to go home and wonder "What did I really do today? What is the proof of my work today?" Reading this book puts a lot into perspective and extolls the virtue of skilled trades, and the author urges a well-deserved re-examination of the skilled trades as a rewarding career option.
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Professional Perspective 17. Februar 2010
Von Alan Kendall - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I connected with this book in several ways. First, while in Junior High (remember when it was called that) in the 60s I was told by my guidance counselor I couldn't take Shop II because I was on a college prep track and Shop 2 was for those kids who would be blue collar workers. The bias of those comments stuck with me all these years. Second, there is an option pursued by myself and many of my close friends. While I was a white collar worker my entire professional career my hobby was restoring and maintaining cars. I needed the satisfaction of that work so took it on as a hobby and developed mechanical proficiency many mechanical skills including engine and gearbox rebuilding. After reading this book I realized many of my close friends have the same approach. A teacher who built his own house. A doctor who hand builds kayaks. A CPA who welds, restores and works on cars. Somehow we all value working with our hands and while we don't do it to pay the bills we all do it to satisfy our souls to great success. Crawford explains why we all feel this way. All of these friends have now read the book and enjoyed it. Crawford nailed it.
28 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Paradox - difficult to read 12. August 2009
Von Doug - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Von Amazon bestätigter Kauf
The concept presented in this book is excellent. I am absolutely the hands-on kind of person that he talks about, and whole-heartedly agree with the value of being such. However, his over-indulgent vocabulary and run-on sentences frequently left me wondering what the heck he was talking about! It's as if the author floated between writing from his heart, and trying to make his argument sound scholarly. I wish he would have stuck to writing from his heart because within those lines he spoke to me. Ultimately, I did not finish the book because I lost interest.
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Beliebte Markierungen

 (Was ist das?)
&quote;
Craftsmanship entails learning to do one thing really well, while the ideal of the new economy is to be able to learn new things, celebrating potential rather than achievement. &quote;
Markiert von 142 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. &quote;
Markiert von 141 Kindle-Nutzern
&quote;
The truth, of course, is that creativity is a by-product of mastery of the sort that is cultivated through long practice. &quote;
Markiert von 136 Kindle-Nutzern

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