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The Craftsman

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  779 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
This text presents a philosophically-minded enquiry into practical activity of many different kinds past and present. It is divided into three parts: addressing the craftsman at work; the development of skill; and whether motivation counts for more than talent.
Unknown Binding, 326 pages
Published February 7th 2008 by Yale University Press (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,538)
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Patrick
Apr 10, 2015 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sociology of work PhD students
Shelves: non-fiction, craft
I really wanted to like this book, but became increasingly exasperated with it the further I read. I did finish it, but only so that my criticism would be complete.

Anyone with much knowledge of the sciences will be irritated by Sennett's tenuous grasp of basic scientific principles. Any engineer will be exasperated with his conflicting positions between the craft of creating and perfecting machinery, the design and use of tools as part of craft, and the romantic distaste for replacing handwork
...more
Janie
Jun 23, 2008 Janie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspiration, art
So happy to find a book that articulates the layered significance of the craftsman throughout history, and the many ways an individual crafts work in his daily life. Intelligently written and more far-reaching than I'd imagined, encompassing economics, cultural history, and corporate politics into its search for what it means to be a craftsman in contemporary society. Sennet is sociologist, and it shows. His writing doesn't always flow like it might if he were more a writer who simply did resear ...more
Esteban
Jun 05, 2016 Esteban rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Un historiador mencionaba que hasta la aparición de The Principles of Scientific Management de Taylor nadie había considerado al trabajo en sí mismo como algo digno de estudio. Una provocación, sí, pero no tan gratuita. Casi todas las aproximaciones políticas y sociológicas del trabajo en realidad estudian la forma en que se lo organiza institucionalmente, no al gesto técnico en sí. El artesano de Sennett viene a demostrar que uno puede excluir esas consideraciones y seguir manteniéndose a una d ...more
Jeffrey
First of all, it is exceedingly unfair to write a short, impressionistic review for a book that is meant to be the first of a three volume critique and analysis on material culture intended by Richard Sennett.

But being one of the rare books out there--and I can remember only Donald Schon's 'The Reflective Practitioner' as the last word out there outlining an epistemology of practice--Sennett's new book still warrants a few exciting words despite the caveat as stated. And like Schon's 'The Refle
...more
Nelson Zagalo
This is a masterpiece work on the philosophy of craft education. Sennett goes beyond current knowledge on creativity, art, play, education value and tacit knowledge. This book is a manifesto, full of knowledge, pragmatic knowledge here theorised for the first time.

A longer review will appear soon in my blog.
Jonathan Norton
Mar 06, 2013 Jonathan Norton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The sort of book in which John Milton is referred to as "the poet John Milton".
Brent Wilson
Sep 16, 2008 Brent Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is packed with interesting and provocative ideas for me as an instructional designer. Its focus is on the manual crafts, but I'm thinking about the issue of craft more generally and how it competes with general processes and technologies that threaten to overwhelm education. Is education something to be mass-designed and delivered via automatic tools and program - or a craft to be custom-designed and delivered by a pro? The answer is in between somewhere, and I'm exploring how both tec ...more
Robert Shadel
Mar 28, 2015 Robert Shadel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a different yet overlapping treatment of craftsmanship -- a sociological approach by a sociologist.
It complements several other books in a theme of craftsmanship, quality, worksmanship and philosophy that are also in my book list including
Korn, and Crawford most clearly,

Some important shared concepts:

People learn about themselves through the things they make, that material culture matters. p.8

The connection of working the with hands connects with the had with sustaining habits and a high
...more
Mavromou
Mar 31, 2016 Mavromou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lo más atractivo de este libro es lo que hace mas difícil de leerlo, el autor explica distintos conceptos relativos al trabajo con las manos y las herramientas del artesano (entre otras) haciendo analogías y cambiando de contexto (o de dominio como él lo denomina) de un trabajo artesanal a otro. Leí este libro por una recomendación y tenía expectativas de encontrar la historia de los artesanos y cómo iban cambiando su filosofía, valores, y formas de trabajar y organizarse a través de las eras hi ...more
Whitney
interesting exploration of craft (including related to architecture) but SERIOUSLY flawed. Remarkably poor editing - typos, misspellings, you name it. No bibliography and poor footnotes. Isn't there an irony in a book about craft being so poorly crafted.
Dave Armishaw
Jul 01, 2015 Dave Armishaw rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horrible. Tried time and again to find virtue in it because I had enjoyed reading previous works that bore the marks of being well thought out and firmly structured, all paths supporting the conclusion, convincingly assuring the reader that he had personal experience to back himself up.

Instead I became angry at broad leaps from discussion of true craft work to blithely passing their attributes to white collar workers without supporting argument.

The book was a two-fold disappointment in that we
...more
Alex Moseley
Sennett made interesting observations on the life and work of the craftsman, but in the end, I was deeply disappointed. Ultimately, he never really descends from his academic perch to stand at the craftsman's workbench. Rather than acknowledging the deeper significance within the life of the craftsman, Sennett seems to be using the experience of the craftsman as a means to his own end, which has nothing to do with craft or craftsmanship.

In Part III he seems to slip into the conceit that the lif
...more
Michael
Aug 03, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A philosophically challenging book written for a general audience. So rare these days. A casual read that still keeps one intellectually engaged.



Sennett here sifts through the history of work in general and craftsmanship in particular, looking for the reasons why quality and care are so forgotten in our society. What he unfolds is a remarkably balanced perspective on capitalism, recognizing its positives and its pitfalls, dwelling in particular on pyramidal power structures and on equality of in
...more
Stephen Buggy
Nov 30, 2014 Stephen Buggy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ughh. Painful. I read The Case for Working with Your Hands earlier this year. That was spectacular. I was hoping for something similar with Sennett. His paragraphs read like they were written by a committee. There is an immense amount of learning in each chapter but Sennett seems to expect the reader to do the work of distilling that learning into a point.
Alissa Thorne
I picked up this book to wrap my head around some particular aspects of craftsmanship, namely the philosophy, quality, and what drives the craftsman. Because this research was pursuant to a specific project, I skimmed many sections that didn't apply, skipping some chapters wholesale. All if that is to say, I'm probably not terribly qualified to give a legitimate review.

That being said, I found it intriguing at times and the writing style unusual and mostly pleasant. (Albeit a touch rambly and s
...more
David
May 07, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful book - it actually made me think. Some daunting thoughts - that it takes 10,000 hours of practicing a craft (making something, playing an instrument, computer programing) to become really proficient. That's 3 hours a day for 10 years. I'd better get moving. Some other ideas: that as you learn a craft, each problem you solve brings up new problems - that is ingrained in problem solving and if you don't have that cycle you really aren't involved in learning. Then there's the Isaac Ste ...more
Joshua
Aug 03, 2008 Joshua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had our local library purchase this new book just for Donnie to read. They'll do things like that for you; they're wonderful. She liked it so much that she bought a copy as a gift for a photographer friend and one for herself to keep and annotate.

After abandoning "Digital Fortress," I took her copy with me on vacation to Wisconsin but have not been able to pay serious attention to the book until I returned. I'm getting into it now and will let you know.

Finished "The Craftsman" on Aug. 3... I
...more
Monica
Mar 20, 2009 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a book that explains to me why I find many things about the modern workplace so unsatisfying. I've long known that treating workers as cogs in the corporate wheel is not only morally bankrupt but actually counterproductive to maximizing worker throughput. Inspired and dedicated workers work harder and better than denigrated (because they are treated like cogs) and terrified (because they can be "laid off" at any time without cause) workers every time...the best work any person can give ...more
Claudia
Apr 25, 2009 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Sennett utiliza el concepto del artesano para examinar la diferencia entre el que realiza una labor de amor, por así decirlo, y crea un objeto (o un concepto: Linux, o un texto) lo más perfecto posible, cuidando el detalle y mimando el proceso y aquél que siguiendo los preceptos del fordismo, ejecuta en cadena una serie de funciones sin preocuparse del resultado final. Para ello, se basa en la historia de los gremios medievales y los procesos de aprendizaje heredados del pasado. Muy inte ...more
Tom Darlington
lovely - brilliantly written, very accessible - insight into the way humans make things, what these acts mean in a political and economic context, how technology and material change our approach to the creation of things
Luis Miguel
Feb 03, 2012 Luis Miguel is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
PROLOGO:
EN general, las personas que producen cosas no comprenden lo que hacen.

"Cuando ves algo técnicamente atractivo, sigues adelante y lo haces; Sólo una vez logrado el éxito técnico te pones a pensar qué hacer con ello. Es lo que ocurrió con la bomba atómica"
Robert Oppenheimer Director del proyecto Manhattan.

Lo que lleva a los seres humanos a autoinflingirse daño no es tanto el ansia de sexo como la sed de conocimiento.

Los humanos creemos que tenemos el deber de intentar todo aquello que par
...more
Anna
Aug 19, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction-read
This book is defining my life right now, at least from a studio perspective. No, actually, from every perspective. Thoughts on skilled hand work/craftsmanship and how it has impacted us psychologically, socially, physiologically and how the loss of learned skills and the age of information is building an intellectual and emotional debt we may not be able to repay. Totally fascinating! Science and philosophy, my faves in one place! And now, thanks to Tyger, I have my very own copy (inclusive of p ...more
Marks54
Apr 11, 2011 Marks54 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really thoughtful book about how to think of professional activities, jobs, tasks, etc. in terms of specialized customized crafts, rather than as mass produced and standardized items. This is an entirely different frame of mind from how we are typically taught in universities and business schools and is incredibly powerful. For example, it brings to mind just what the task is in running a business or carrying out some business strategy. It is not a matter of understanding a series of ...more
Darkpurplemoon
wow, I did not like this book at all. I found it painful from beginning to end, I thought it was just me, so I checked with the rest of the people on my course, as we all did.

I have read every word on this book and it has been slow, heavy going and I am still not entirely sure what the point of it is. I get it, craftsman can be applied to a wide range of people and it requires skill which is built up over time through repetitive actions and movements. I am not entirely sure that an entire book
...more
Steve
Jun 18, 2011 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An in-dept technical and philosophical description of craftsmanship. It is treated as concept and a history. The book is filled with examples, historical references, and analogies to both explain as well as deepen understanding through extended thought. Very insightful, but at times tedious. I found most insightful the second of the three parts; Craftsman, Craft, Craftsmanship. Particularly, I enjoyed the chapters about The Hand, and he relationship of the activities of the hand formulating conc ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Aug 20, 2010 Bryan Kibbe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book that looks closely at the practices and concept of the craftsman and his or her craft. Sennet is both engaging and intelligent in his writing, offering interesting examples of craft from ancient times through modern times that cluster around key insights or points that he makes. More especially, Sennet displays a measure of wisdom in his writing that avoids hyperbole and jargon, and instead attunes us all to the potential craftsman within each of us. This book is an impor ...more
Simon
Jan 08, 2010 Simon marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Very weak and silly. Example: Sennett wants to illustrate the difficulty of keeping a craft tradition open to all and maintaining quality in its product. He uses the case of the community of Linux producers and the quality control problems in Wikipedia which, apparently, is a Linux application. But this simply conflates two communities: those Linux producers who write software and the Wikipedia content providers, who supply the information in Wikipedia. Quality control problems in the products o ...more
Justin Cormack
Sep 10, 2008 Justin Cormack rated it it was amazing
Essential reading. Puts craft back on the agenda in a way that has been sadly lacking.

The workshop, and the ways of learning it created have been ignored, but it is the best fit to the modern knowledge based business there is. The examples come from diverse sources, even Linux kernel hackers.

It makes concrete a lot of thoughts I had - my first job was editing an encyclopaedia of musical instrument makers, so I had been exposed to some of the history of craft.

If you are going to read a book this
...more
Thomas Fitzpatrick
The book that changed my life.
Esther
Mar 19, 2013 Esther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
Sennet describes the term 'craftsmanship' from all angles he can think of, which are a lot. To do so he delves into history, and provides colourful descriptions of craftsmen from all areas of expertise.

His use of the English language is something a lot of contemporary writers can aspire too, I often checked the date of the publication just to make sure it was indeed only a few years old. Though I often have trouble getting through non-fiction, informational volumes, this was a treat. I can and
...more
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52077
Richard Sennett has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sen ...more
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“Issac Stern rule: the better your technique, the more impossible your standards.” 6 likes
“To the absolutist in every craftsman, each imperfection is a failure; to the practitioner, obsession with perfection seems a perception for failure.” 4 likes
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