February 19, 2010
Nonrequired Reading: 012: Shop Class As Soul CraftCategory: Nonrequired Reading
The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, who has no real effect in the world. But craftsmanship must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away.
-- Matthew Crawford, Shop Class As Soulcraft
While at times tedious and extremely heady, Crawford's work moved and challenged me to rethink "knowledge work" vs. "manual work" or white collar vs blue collar. He makes a strong case for manual labor, runs through it's history and weaves his own story as a motorcycle mechanic into the book. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book, which I doubt I would have made it through if I wasn't listening to it in the car, but I would highly recommend his essay that preceded the book. You can check it out here and it's definitely worth thirty minutes of your time.