Frank Discussion #23

Attention and Design

I first saw Matthew Crawford speak before a small group assembled to hear his re-examination of skilled handiwork after channel surfing landed me on CSPAN/BookTV — his 2009 thought-provoking book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, is as riveting as his public speaking. That he operated a high-end motorcycle repair shop near me in Richmond, Virginia, was no point of reference. (Or for that matter, if he is still there). In his most recent book’s sleeve bio, the publisher notes, “Matthew B. Crawford is a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and a fabricator of components for custom motorcycles.”

The capsule bio goes on to mention, “His bestselling book (Shopcraft as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, translated into nine languages, has prompted a wide rethinking of education and labor policies in the United States and Europe, leading the London Sunday Times to call him ‘one of the most influential thinkers of our time.’ ”

Lest you think it’s a dry, academic read, the page above, from this year’s The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction should put any such worries to rest.

The world beyond your head

If “disruption” is the overused buzz-word of 2015, let “distraction” be that for 2016. Indeed, the likely overuse of smartphone integration (in vehicles) worried me long before the overuse of self-driving technology ever occured to me.

Matthew B. Crawford is your favorite author, whether you know it or not.  Mine, too.

Shop class as soulcraft

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