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Shop Class as Soulcraft Audiobook

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

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Audible Editor Reviews

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An inquiry into the Value of Work hit the press at a historically significant moment. The economic crisis that began in 2008 continues its seismic re-landscaping of the globe in 2009. Assumptions once thought rock-solid now lay in shards at our feet. Matthew B. Crawford, a Ph.D. in political philosophy, has written a book about the value of work that expands from his personal history into an ethical treatise and manifesto of stunning polemic breath and scope. Crawford, after earning his degree, was offered the job of director of a think tank that paid a huge salary. "i landed the job at the think tank because i had a prestigious education in the liberal arts, yet the job itself felt illiberal: coming up with the best arguments money could buy. This wasn't work befitting a free man." After five months Crawford left the think tank and became a professional motorcycle mechanic, opening the repair shop Shockoe Moto.

Max Bloomquist narrates Shop Class with tonalities and a vocal range that nicely match Crawford's mixed social registries of mechanic, non-conformist, and Ph.D. — all the while managing to sound like your regular normal guy. indeed, Bloomquist seldom veers from his baseline down-to-earth, optimistic voice, a voice you might imagine coming from a PBS television network teacher of the mechanical trades. But Bloomquist moves out from this baseline voice with an expressive clarity and resonance that color Crawford's subject. These qualities especially reveal themselves as Bloomquist nicely frames some of Crawford's denser analytical arguments.

Shop Class takes critical and incisive aim at the corporate workplace, consumerism, our educational system's unbalanced tilt towards higher education at the expense of the skilled manual trades, and our relations with our own "stuff". The central concept enveloping and linking these various themes is "agency".

"This book grows out of an attempt to understand the greater sense of agency and competence i have always felt doing manual work, compared to other jobs that were officially recognized as 'knowledge work'. Perhaps most surprisingly, i often find manual work more engaging intellectually. This book is an attempt to understand why this should be so." —David Chasey

Publisher's Summary

Shop Class as Soulcraft brings alive an experience that was once quite common but now seems to be receding from society - the experience of making and fixing things with our hands. Those of us who sit in an office often feel a lack of connection to the material world, a sense of loss, and find it difficult to say exactly what we do all day. For those who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing.

On both economic and psychological grounds, Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a "knowledge worker", based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing, the work of the hand from that of the mind. Crawford shows us how such a partition, which began a century ago with the assembly line, degrades work for those on both sides of the divide.

But Crawford offers good news as well: The manual trades are very different from the assembly line and from dumbed-down white collar work as well. They require careful thinking and are punctuated by moments of genuine pleasure. Based on his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford makes a case for the intrinsic satisfactions and cognitive challenges of manual work. The work of builders and mechanics is secure; it cannot be outsourced, and it cannot be made obsolete. Such work ties us to the local communities in which we live and instills the pride that comes from doing work that is genuinely useful.

A wholly original debut, Shop Class as Soulcraft offers a passionate call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.

©2009 Matthew B. Crawford; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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)
"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." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (506 )
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4.1 (293 )
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew 07-02-16
    Andrew 07-02-16 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    Just about perfect; the kind of book that you end up remembering as an intuition more than a bookmark.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy 05-11-16
    Cindy 05-11-16
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    "Book is all over the place, only enjoyed first cha"

    Narrator did a great job but the book was all over the place, couldn't understand 20% of it, need a dictionary as the author uses uncommon words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeny Smith 03-28-16
    Jeny Smith 03-28-16
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    3
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    "wiser words were never spoken"

    though this book is not for everyone due to the philosophical language and heady way of Storytelling, drawing comparisons to motorcycle mechanics allows a complex story to be easily digested by anyone. this book completely describes today's corporate job rat race, where that model came from, and a potential path away from it. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone who has a hard time describing exactly what their job function is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heribert Eisinger 11-23-15
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    8
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    Performance
    Story
    "bleak ramblings of a mechanic"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    someone who likes to know in minute details of what screw another mechanic turned 20 years ago and if this mechanic succeeded in repairing a motorcycle or a porsche


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    don't know


    Would you be willing to try another one of Max Bloomquist’s performances?

    no


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    about 1/2h of layman's philosophy like you would get from a drunk person in a workingman's pup.


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 05-15-15
    Kimberly 05-15-15 Member Since 2006
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    "Best book I've read this year"

    A must for anyone who works for a living. A great thought book about what success means.

    Listen again and again to get even more from this gem.











    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Smolinski MARQUETTE, MI, US 03-21-15
    Stephen Smolinski MARQUETTE, MI, US 03-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Excellent Book. Necessary for today's world."

    A book everyone should read by a great author and mechanic. Wish he would take the time to narrate this title himself as it would improve this program exponentially. Having heard M. Crawford speak several times, this recording could use his voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.C. Dady Missoula, MT USA 03-21-15
    B.C. Dady Missoula, MT USA 03-21-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Inspiring"

    This books teaches a valuable perspective in a personal way. I expect these lessons and concepts to stick with me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shannon Glendale, AZ, United States 06-17-13
    Shannon Glendale, AZ, United States 06-17-13 Member Since 2016

    I love audible books. I can paint, run errands and clean my house while listening to a book. The best.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much car talk not enough soulcraft"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Maybe people who really enjoy cars and engines. The car lingo just lost me a lot of the time.


    What could Matthew B. Crawford have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Maybe not so technical, but that is his passion so I can appreciate that. It was like he was speaking another language. Car language and vocabulary words I wasn't sure about. I thought I had a well rounded vocabulary but apparently not.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Max Bloomquist’s performances?

    I'm not sure. He seemed kind of dry but that may be the writing.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment and frustration. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't .


    Any additional comments?

    I think if you like cars and tinkering with mechanical stuff you may like it, but his descriptions seemed kind of high brow and unaccessible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bart Cedar City Utah 05-07-13
    Bart Cedar City Utah 05-07-13 Member Since 2015

    clean movie fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't waste your time"

    I was pretty excited about this title but was very disappointed with the book. Was a lot of words that didn't seem to flow, and never really seemed to get anywhere. I was hoping it would be good for my kids to listen to to learn to value of learning both a trade and get a education, but could hardly listen to it myself so never gave it to the kiddos.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jimi H. 05-28-12
    Jimi H. 05-28-12

    Go Gophers

    ratings
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    31
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    "Great Book"
    What did you love best about Shop Class as Soulcraft?

    It was very insightful & in parts, very funny. As a Master Electrician, I could never articulate why I love working with my hands and with my head, but this book put it all together for me.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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