Shop Class as Soulcraft

An Inquiry into the Value of Work
Narrated by: Max Bloomquist
Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Business, Career Skills
4.5 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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" by The Boston Globe, Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant best seller, attracting fans 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.

©2009 Matthew B. Crawford (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)  

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a worthwhile read multiple times over

I've listened to this book 2-3 times and have been educated, validated, and entertained by it. I also find it very relatable in that I also have a college degree, but have chosen to work a trade as a painting contractor. So not only do I get to work with my hands and see the results of my work, I get to listen to audiobooks while I do it!

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Best exposition on philosophy of work!

This book helped me understand many of the questions and problems heard every day at work. It doesn't seek to answer all of them, but it portrays them in a way that makes sense and points to answers while giving vivid analogies for the philosophical terms that he uses.

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Hands and brain: a matching set

A very good reasoning on how our education system, in its zeal to accredit the masses (in unwitting league with corporate America and its need for “Knowledge Workers”), has taken away the legitimacy of people having a career based on working with their minds through the use of their hands to repair and create.
Takeaway: Deal not in ambiguous abstractions of life; get your hands dirty

1 person found this helpful