BOOK REVIEW: Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford (2009 Penguin)
The crusty vintage BMW Boxer on the jacket cover is what initially caught my attention in the bookstore but the well written and thought provoking content is what kept me entertained. Matthew B. Crawford, author, philosopher, mechanic and PhD takes us on a journey through the world of work. Destroying the myths of the high-prestige workplace while enlightening us on the joy of working with our hands, which he surmises is a rapidly declining commodity in today’s throwaway society.
His background as both a “knowledge” worker and tradesman empowers him with an intimate understanding of both worlds. After years working as an electrician (a necessity required to pay for his University education) he ultimately shuns his high salary “Think Tank” job to open his own small motorcycle repair shop.
To quote the book jacket: “Shop Class as Soulcraft brings alive an experience that was once quite common…making and fixing things. Those of us who sit in an office often feel a lack of connection to the material world… For anyone who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclination…Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing.”
Crawford is equally adept describing specific details of his latest motorcycle restorations, or the history behind Henry Ford’s trouble luring craftsmen to dumb-down their skills to work the early assembly lines. All in all, a very interesting book and a must read for any intelligent gear head. ISBN 978-1-59420-223-0