Shop Class as Soulcraft is an important book.
It has flaws—significant flaws—but Matthew Crawford’s overall themes deserve wide attention.
Shop Class as Soulcraft concerns itself with the dignity of manual labor. It makes a case for the importance of work that repairs and maintains our world, from plumbing to car repair. It defends the kind of knowledge gained through practical experience and apprenticeship, compared to that learned through rote memorization and following “idiot-proof” processes.
This leads to my main beef with the book: he glorifies practical experience and blue-collar work as inherently superior to other kinds. I had moments where I had to put down the book and walk away, I was so frustrated by his insistence that white collar work is inherently inferior to blue collar.
They’re important in different ways.
But Crawford’s voice needs to be heard. Well worth a read.