Shop Class As Soulcraft


Author: Matthew B. Crawford

Title: Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication date: 2009

Number of pages: 246

Geographical setting: United States

Time period: 1970s – 2009

Plot summary: At age 14 Matthew Crawford was apprenticing as an electrician while living in a commune. Later he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy and became director of a Washington think tank. Six months later he quit and opened his own motorcycle repair shop. Though not an autobiography, Crawford uses the twists and turns and the experience of his own life, along with philosophical, psychological and sociological theory and literature, to illustrate the importance of working with your hands. Not only does this work make one useful, the tangibility of the work creates a satisfaction that is fulfilling and addictive. Throughout the text Crawford relates stories of working on and riding motorcycles. While motorcycle enthusiasts will enjoy the inside look at repair and restoration, this book will appeal to anyone in the trades or who values working with his or her hands — and especially those who don’t like their current job.

Subject headings: Work; Purpose in life; Job satisfaction; Quality of work life

Appeal: humor, philosophical, deliberate, insightful, inspiring, informative, sophisticated, thoughtful, engaging, passionate, hopeful, authoritative

3 terms that best describe this book: philosophical; practical; intriguing

Similar works:
The Craftsman by Richard Sennett | A basic human need is to do a job well. Sennett explains why craftsmanship is the embodiment of this impulse but frames it in a context wider than just skilled manual labor to include computer programming, the medical field, and more.

The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker by Mike Rose | Looking at American labor, Rose reassesses the use of intellect in blue collar work. Across the board he finds intellect is required much more than we think, and he redefines old notions of manual labor, from plumbing to hair-dressing.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Persig | In 1965, Persig and his son loaded up a Honda motorcycle and spent a summer riding around America’s Northwest. The result was a book that looks at life and the value systems in which we live.

40 Hour Man by Stephen Beaupre | A hilarious, illustrated look at the low-wage American Dream in action. Follow the “hero ” as he works a series of nowhere jobs in this book that reads similar to a graphic novel.

After Hours at the Almost Home by Tara Yellen | It’s Super Bowl Sunday at the Amost Home Bar and Grill. During the game, we get a glimpse into the lives of the waitstaff as they each struggle to find satisfaction in work and life.

Somewhere Fast by Bob Beltz | What do you do when you have the perfect life as a doctor in Chicago? Run away. John Calvin rides his Harley on a spiritual journey down Route 66 to find himself.

Name: Jason J. Lamb


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