Heath's Reviews > Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford
Rate this book
Clear rating

M 50x66
's review
Jan 28, 2010

liked it
Read from January 28 to 29, 2010

I'd probably have given this book 5 stars if Crawford didn't come across as such a macho prick (the reason I say he's a macho prick is summed up well by this NY Times book review and this one in the New Yorker).

It's unfortunate that Crawford allows his tough guy persona to seep onto the page, because the book is very compelling otherwise. It does an excellent job of explaining why office work is so demeaning and unfulfilling (hint: it's often planned to be that way), despite the fact that working in an office job often confers a higher social status than working a "lowly" job in the manual trades (think of the disparity in status between vocational school and the university). He also makes a persuasive case for the importance of understanding how the objects we come into contact with on a day-to-day basis actually work, and how to fix them when they break.

While I don't agree with some of the political implications of his ideas, and I could easily point to manual work that is completely depraved and degraded (farmworkers, factory farm work), it's also undeniable that many people feel alienated from their work because so many service sector and office jobs have been dumbed down to the point of complete degradation. While Crawford doesn't offer much of a prescription for this problem, his diagnosis will, at the very least, make you consider your own situation and think about changing it.

If you can manage to ignore the macho bullshit that appears at moments, this is a worthwhile read that will challenge you to think about your job and whether or not it serves any useful purpose.
4 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Shop Class as Soulcraft.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.