Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford

I came across the name Matthew Crawford while reading an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education. I was enthralled by article and was extremely interested to learn more and to read Shop Class as Soulcraft.

Working with my hands has always been appealing to me. I love creating things out of nothing or repairing items by trial and error. I enjoying getting my hands dirty. On the other side, I love my job working in education, helping students find their passions. I love hearing what excites them. I love conversations about business, art, theology, sports, etc. I love it all.

I have read a lot of books on leadership and education, so I was excited to read a book endorsing the fruits of physical work. What I got was weirdly constructed book of thoughts. When Crawford is not demonizing knowledge work or “cubicle work” as he calls it, he is deifying the process of motorcycle mechanics. I like motorcycles, I have driven many over the years, but reading how someone figured out why a vintage engine was locking up was completely boring.

I still believe in the art of manual work, but I do not believe office work should be belittled. Meaning can be found in anything we do. There is certainly a lot of work I do that is tedious, but I know this work supports the bigger picture.

Physical labor and trade work are definitely devalued in our culture. The American dream still includes college, minimal discomfort, a big office and a bigger house. I believe physical work and trade jobs definitely deserve better respect. Electricians and plumbers play a vital role in our society and they are great jobs. We can definitely elevate these jobs without devaluing others.

In rare form, I would definitely pass on this book.

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