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)
Interests in Design/Engineering, Architecture, & History
My reaction, put simply is - I can't tell if the author is trying to justify the merits of being a motorcycle mechanic to us or to himself. It's as if he started off overly in defense of his career choice, as if bitter of the lack of respect he feels people may hold for him because he is a mechanic, rather than a think tank academic. By the end, he just sounds very full of himself and rather intolerable. and the worst part? I more or less agree with what he's saying.
first if not you have not read Zin and the art of motorcycle maintenance then read that book and come. Back. I am college educate who found his career though a trade. I agree with the basic supposition that as society we have devalue manual labor and six years of education ending with goofy cap and dress and pice paper with the words PHD don't empower you with Godley powers. if find first chapters hard skip them the re al meat is after chapter 4 and it is good.
Eh.... maybe.... only if he promised not to "lecture" me with unnecessary commentary that required a dictionary, thesaurus and Google to understand.
If I had to "read" the book, I would have put it down before the end of the first chapter.
Somebody who doesn't mind listening to humorous yet arrogant babble to get to the point.
After listening to this book, which by the way, I did enjoy parts of, I realized that this whole book could have been said in one chapter. It's about "Work Ethic". Having it, using it, controlling it, making it part of your everyday life and how to succeed with it. I got that right away and he did a great job, albeit the long way, to get that point across. What made the book very tolerable is the use of expletives from time to time. I don't care who you are, a strategically placed "F" word makes for a chuckle in any book.
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.
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.
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.
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