This is the sort of book I wish had been written a long time ago. For all its limitations, and it has many, Richard Sennett’s latest tome is nevertheless the best exposition yet of why work can be a good thing in and of itself and not just as a means to earning a living. At a time when it has become fashionable to create an almost automatic dichotomy between ‘work’ and ‘life’, Sennett’s paean to craftsmanship helps to show that the reality is more complicated.
First, let us get the semantics out of the way: to call for a renewed appreciation of craftsmanship in 2008 is invariably to be met with incomprehension (if you don’t believe me, try it on some of those around you). It suggests a reactionary longing for small-scale artisanship and cottage