Shop Class as Soulcraft  Book Summary - Shop Class as Soulcraft  Book explained in key points
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Shop Class as Soulcraft summary

Matthew B. Crawford

An Inquiry Into the Value of Work

4.3 (18 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford is a philosophical exploration of the value of skilled manual labor in an increasingly automated and abstract world. It argues for the dignity of manual work, and the importance of cultivating practical skills and knowledge.

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    Shop Class as Soulcraft
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Even though we don’t fix and build things ourselves anymore, an interest in manual labor is on the rise.

    Can you recall the last time you worked on your car, built a piece of furniture from scratch or made your own clothing? Chances are it’s probably been a while – if you’ve ever done it at all.

    That’s because the modern world is full of devices that discourage users from repairing or even understanding them. Many modern products are so complex and delicate that the majority of people are too intimidated to attempt repairing them. Just imagine trying to fix a problem with your flat-screen TV.

    In addition, many contemporary products are designed to conceal their messy inner workings with a seamless facade. For instance, if you open the hood of a new German car you won’t see an engine but a plastic case.

    Products are even put together in such a way as to discourage their disassembly. For instance, they might come with extra hardware that can only be loosened with uncommon tools.

    Part of the reason we’ve become more passive and dependent on other people to fix things is due to these changes. We used to make things; now we buy them. We used to fix things; now we throw them away.

    It’s not just that we’re discouraged from making repairs – we might also have the feeling that doing things ourselves is economically wasteful. After all, imagine all the time and effort that would go into knitting an imperfect sweater when you could buy a perfectly good one for a few bucks.

    However, the interest in manual work is slowly but surely on the rise. It’s clear that people are growing increasingly discontent with not understanding the products they use and depending on businesses to provide them with everything from food to clothing.

    On top of that, the rapidly deteriorating state of the economy is demanding more self-reliance. As a result, we’re seeing people grow their own food, fix things themselves and even raise chickens on the rooftops of New York City.

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    What is Shop Class as Soulcraft about?

    Shop Class as Soulcraft (2009) is an eye-opening view into how working with your hands can transform your life. These blinks take a look at the changing nature of work, the value of manual labor and how choosing a trade, as opposed to a profession, might be your ticket to happiness.

    Shop Class as Soulcraft Review

    Shop Class as Soulcraft (2009) is a thought-provoking exploration of the value of manual work and the fulfillment that can be found in skilled trades. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It challenges the notion that all work should be desk-based and highlights the importance and dignity of craftsmanship and hands-on skills.
    • Through engaging anecdotes and insightful analysis, the book showcases the intellectual depth and satisfaction that comes from working with one's hands.
    • With its philosophical reflections on the nature of work and the impact of technology, the book sparks deep reflection and invites readers to question the cultural norms surrounding labor.

    Best quote from Shop Class as Soulcraft

    Does the use of tools answer to some permanent requirement of our nature?

    —Matthew B. Crawford
    example alt text

    Who should read Shop Class as Soulcraft ?

    • Academics and students who aren’t sure if a life of theoretical work is for them
    • Readers who want to learn more about the philosophy and psychology of manual work
    • Anybody who’s fed up with working in a cubicle and wants a way out

    About the Author

    Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and motorcycle mechanic. He earned a Ph.D. in political philosophy and took a job at a Washington D.C. think tank but wasn’t satisfied. So he changed course to open an independent motorcycle repair shop and is still pursuing academia as a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.

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    Shop Class as Soulcraft  FAQs 

    What is the main message of Shop Class as Soulcraft?

    The main message of Shop Class as Soulcraft is that manual work can provide meaning and fulfillment in a technology-driven world.

    How long does it take to read Shop Class as Soulcraft?

    The reading time for Shop Class as Soulcraft varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Shop Class as Soulcraft a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Shop Class as Soulcraft is worth reading as it highlights the importance of manual labor in a society that often undervalues it. It provides valuable insights into the value of craftsmanship and skilled work.

    Who is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft?

    Matthew B. Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft.

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