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Shop class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.

Shop Class as Soulcraft may not be your typical business book, but it's a great read and has a permanent place on my bookshelf. I enjoyed Matthew Crawford's perspective and highly recommend it to anyone interested in a greater understanding of what motivates people and how the industrial revolution still impacts how we work with and manage people.

I was drawn to Shop Class as Soulcraft by the tactile nature of working in the shop and the satisfaction of experiencing the success associated with the purring of a well-tuned engine. "Those of us who sit in an office feel a lack of connection to the material world and find it difficult to say exactly what we do all day," writes Crawford. "For anyone who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their inclinations and natural bents, Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing."

A fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia and professional motorcycle mechanic, Crawford shares his insight as an academic and small business owner as he relates the challenges of the workplace in the information age. Although we might not want to admit it, knowledge workers have a lot in common with the assembly-line workers of the industrial revolution. Crawford offers suggestions, which if followed, will help business leaders create an environment where meaningful work can take place on the shop floor as well as the cubicle.

"Knowledge work" isn't for everyone, and Crawford argues that separating thinking from doing, separating the work of the hand from that of the mind, degrades work for both the assembly-line worker and the knowledge worker. Although Crawford's arguments for the intrinsic satisfaction and honor of manual work is the point of his book, it doesn't take much of a leap for business leaders to see a correlation for creating an environment for knowledge workers that facilitates creative problem solving, meaningful work and living more concretely in an abstract world.

Shop Class as Soulcraft may not be the first business book you ever read, but leaders who want to gain a greater understanding of what intrinsically motivates people and how to foster an engaged and motivated workforce will find real gems of insight in Crawford's book.


Reviewed by Ty Kiisel, AtPask

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Comment:Shop class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.
Author:AtTask, Ty Kiisel
Publication:Utah Business
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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