Gold Star. Take a moment to consider Matthew Crawford.
Many of us do work that feels more surreal than real. Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day? Where the chain of cause and effect is opaque and responsibility diffuse, the experience of individual agency can be elusive.
When we praise people who do work that is straightforwardly useful, the praise often betrays an assumption that they had no other options. Beneath our gratitude may rest envy.
Some diagnostic situations contain a lot of variables. Any given symptom may have several possible causes, and further, these causes may interact with one another and therefore be difficult to isolate. In deciding how to proceed, there often comes a point where you have to step back and get a larger gestalt. Have a cigarette and walk around. The gap between theory and practice stretches out in front of you, and this is where it gets interesting. What you need now is the kind of judgment that arises only from experience; hunches rather than rules.
Publishers Weekly gives Crawford's new book a starred review:
Philosopher and motorcycle repair-shop owner Matthew Crawford extols the value of making and fixing things in this masterful paean to what he calls “manual competence,” the ability to work with one’s hands. With wit and humor, the author deftly mixes the details of his own experience as a tradesman and then proprietor of a motorcycle repair shop with more philosophical considerations.
If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them.
It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a skilled carpenter or musician -- but what makes a true master?
Pleasure in making comes from innate necessary rhythms, often slow ones.
If you're not failing all the time, you're not creating a situation where you can get super-lucky.
The Case for Working With Your Hands