Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Already my Book of the Year for 2011

Forget the rest, the polls are closed & the golden envelope is already being opened in March! I can't wait for the year end, I'm convinced I won't find a more arresting read this year.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you, 'The case for working with your hands, or why office work is bad for us & fixing things feels good.' By Matthew Crawford. Any book which has 20 words in the title deserves something just for that alone.

In this little masterpiece, Crawford turns on it's head the accepted academic pursuits of knowledge based training leading to an inevitable university education, which in turn so often leads to a job at a desk in a cubicle. He yearns for a simpler life where the brain & the hands are engaged together in tasks which have meaning & coherence for our whole lives.

This is philosophy & economics on a grand scale, yet it touches the heart of everyone who has ever been asked the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'

Speaking as someone who still isn't entirely sure at the age of 39.5 what I want to one day be, & indeed whether I will even grow up, this book is huge neon signpost towards a more skilled & fulfilled way of living. It draws us into an idea of work which has genuine purpose, & helps us to find our place in our community. Importantly, it deconstructs the whole work/leisure split that most of us live under most of the time.

This is direct, in your face reading - a must for anyone who is thinking (or unthinkingly) sending a young adult to university in the near future. More than this - anyone who can site thinkers like Marx & Aristotle to support the degreasing of a motor cycle crank shaft deserves all the attention they can get!

Mark my words - this will still be book of the year come December!

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