"Nice Work If You Can Get It," my review of Matthew B. Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, appears in this weekend's edition of The National (Abu Dhabi). For the record, I wrote this review well before the controversies of the past week.
5 thoughts on “My review of Matthew B. Crawford’s “Shop Class as Soulcraft””
“Because assembly-line work demanded little of a worker other than submissive patience, it did not focus his attention and felt meaningless in the moment.”
I hated thinking about how much this applies to contemporary office work, but I really loved this review, Caleb–so thoughtful and elegant.
Great review! Which controversies were those?
A better review than the piece about The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work … which shows a deep misunderstanding of the British attitudes towards work, eccentricity, and humor … to state that 'Either geeking out is shameful or it isn't' is a purely American perspective, the cultural hegemony behind the unquestioned assumption that motivations and values are the same across these two cultures is disappointing.
Excellent review. A small objection: when you say "Ph.D.s", it is important to remember that a quite large percentage of Ph.D.s are in the sciences – and these often involve experimental (hands-on) and intellectual work.
At their best, these jobs really do live up to Crawford's hopes. Which is exactly why I have been unable to convince myself to do something less engaging for more money…
Mark: Good point! I think I was wearing my humanities-PhD blinders, in that sentence.
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