In this moving account, Peter Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer and maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and then founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit institution.
Furniture making practiced as a craft in the 21st century is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For Korn the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one's own volition - whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace - is what generates the meaning and fulfillment that so many of us seek.
This is not a how-to book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular and the satisfactions of creative work in general to understand their 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, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book.
©2013 Peter Korn (P)2014 Blackstone Audiobooks
This book is rich and dense in a good way, and stands up to repeated listenings. Korn weaves together his own life story, a history of the craft movement (the only part of the book where the momentum sags a bit), and a philosophy for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you're anyone trying to create something--whether writer, artist, musician, craftsperson, whatever--I haven't found a deeper guide to that journey anywhere. Inspiring!
Well, not for everyone, but for those who are at least a little disturbed by the disposable culture we now live in, it's a must read. Not as good "Shop Class as Soulcraft" though to be fair, the author isn't trying to write the same book so perhaps it's just different.
Easier to read than Pirsig's "Zen" and definitely more to the point, it belongs on the same as shelf as these two books as well Richard Sennett, David Pye et al.
The narrator has a pleasant voice and the author's story was both interesting and insightful.
The truths about life that the story uncovers.
No extreme reaction but I will listen to it again.
Chapter 12 is great
A book on woodworking as a life plan and the philosophy behind it. Excellent written and a good performance. Don't expect anybody teaching woodworking technique.
Mr Korn chronicles his woodworking career in biographical form while asserting the value of artistic creation & finishing the timetable with the altruistic generation of a non-profit school for furniture makers. As a dabbling woodworker myself, I enjoyed this effort of explanation of why we make things, it seemed a bit narrow in scope, solely biographical, and thus less rewarding for me, because the term "things" encompasses a much greater genre than handicraft. Perhaps I would've enjoyed it far more if the reference photos could be included as a .pdf file to the audiobook.
Thoreau's 'Walden' and Ayn Rand's 25th anniversary introduction to 'The Fountainhead' summarize my library well.
Master craftsman Peter Korn has lived self-determined, intentional life in which he has found value and meaning, and hopes to share his lessons with others. WWMT is at times inspiring with moving epiphanies and candid life stories, and at other times dry with the mechanics of his life and decisions. Overall, the book is easily worth the credit.
Korn describes his two epiphanies: turning ideas into objects, and the creation of objects actually being a projection of the self he was trying to create. I actually found some of his other experiences to be enlightening: the joy he felt with the absence of want after his first bout with cancer, the difference between happiness and contentment, the importance of other people and their ideas, and the like. His narrative on the creative process changing your mental maps and yourself is interesting as well.
I think Korn is fair with his self-criticisms, and overall a very self-reflective individual. He clearly cares about his work, be it a dining room table, woodworking school or a published book. In the end, its caring about your work that matters.
Traber Burns is a perfect fit for this title. There should be a radio station that streams his reading of inspirational words ("integrity," "quality," "craftsmanship," etc.) 24 hours a day. Well done.
50 something female, not a bibliophile by any stretch of the imagination. Don't have time to sit. I love history and biographies.
As someone with a master's degree in human communication, much of this book reminded me of an academic lecture. I enjoyed hearing the author's life journey. Would recommend if you like deep contemplation and have an academic bent.
This book illustrates a life of a crafts man and the intrinsic values it can give.
I was not specially interested in the topic of crafting but more in the philosophy of creativity, intrinsic values and individualism behind this. The book did an excellent job in illustrating these concepts.
Although I expected a over Romanticization at times the author keeps his feet on the ground and illustrates the topics in a rational and enjoyable way.
Would definitely recommend it for people who are interested in the ""why" question to life.
The narrative is great in this book. Some of the existential chapters were hard to follow in the audio version of this book. I learned a good bit from this book and would recommend it for anyone who wishes to take more pride in what they do.
"fascinating life story and philosophy"
I'm really interested in craft and it's sociological functions and this tapped directly into my interest. Mr Korn tells a life story with the lifelong development of his craft at the centre. in between he expands on his understanding of how his craft has informed his development as a person. I found it very interesting and inspiring and couldn't wait to return to it
I listened while I worked ony canoe. which seemed appropriate!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.