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.
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
Matthew B. Crawford, promovierter Philosoph und Motorradmechaniker, studierte politische Philosophie an der University of Chicago und war dort Fellow am Commitee on Social Thought. Zurzeit lehrt er am University of Virginia s Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture und arbeitet als Motorradmechaniker in seiner eigenen Reparaturwerkstatt Shockoe Moto in Richmond, Virginia.