The Craftsman

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Yale University Press, 2008 - Business & Economics - 326 pages

Defining craftsmanship far more broadly than “skilled manual labor,” Richard Sennett maintains that the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen engage in a craftsman’s work. Craftsmanship names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, says the author, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. In this thought-provoking book, one of our most distinguished public intellectuals explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world.

The Craftsman engages the many dimensions of skill—from the technical demands to the obsessive energy required to do good work. Craftsmanship leads Sennett across time and space, from ancient Roman brickmakers to Renaissance goldsmiths to the printing presses of Enlightenment Paris and the factories of industrial London; in the modern world he explores what experiences of good work are shared by computer programmers, nurses and doctors, musicians, glassblowers, and cooks. Unique in the scope of his thinking, Sennett expands previous notions of crafts and craftsmen and apprises us of the surprising extent to which we can learn about ourselves through the labor of making physical things.

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The craftsman

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With this volume, author and sociologist Sennett (The Culture of the New Capitalism) launches a three-book examination of "material culture," asking "what the process of making concrete things reveals ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Richard Sennett is professor of sociology at New York University and at The London School of Economics. Before becoming a sociologist, he studied music professionally. He has received many awards and honors, most recently the 2006 Hegel Prize for lifetime achievement in the humanities and social sciences. His previous books include The Corrosion of Character:The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, The Fall of Public Man, Respect in a World of Inequality, and The Culture of New Capitalism, the last published by Yale University Press. He lives in New York and London.

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