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
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.
"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)
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
about 1/2h of layman's philosophy like you would get from a drunk person in a workingman's pup.
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.
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.
I love audible books. I can paint, run errands and clean my house while listening to a book. The best.
Maybe people who really enjoy cars and engines. The car lingo just lost me a lot of the time.
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.
I'm not sure. He seemed kind of dry but that may be the writing.
Disappointment and frustration. I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't .
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.
clean movie fan
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.
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.
I will be listening to this title again so I can soak it in.
I would recommend this to anyone who takes pride in what they do, and strives to improve the way they accomplish it. Job satisfaction must be intrinsic.
Very affirming of people who choose to follow their own drummer. Creative and inspiring it made me even more aware of the importance of being true to oneself.
Just like Daniel H. Pinks x 2 books - "Drive" and "A Whole New Mind" there are thoughts here that resonate.... by reflecting some of Matthew B. Crawford's loves - philosophy and hands on tinkering! Now they may seem at opposite sides of life but I believe they go hand in hand. And I agree it can appear to be 'heavy' and 'wanders' but I think that is largely due to the narration that makes it harder to grasp and to be 'emotionally' included. Which is a shame because it really does deserve a narrator that can reflect the enthusiasm of the author...I am glad I bought it and will buy a book version so I can re-read it! Thanks Matthew!
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