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The Craftsman

Richard Sennet


You name it; Richard Sennett breaks it down. Metamorphosis provoking material consciousness? (three ways: internal evolution of a type-form, judgment about mixture and synthesis, domain shift). Mirror tools? (two types: replicant and robot). Sennett combines this penchant for analytic break-down with a treasure trove of stories, examples, and experiences, drilling into craft through the finger movements of pianists, the methodology of cookbook Instructions, and much, much more. 

     The Craftsman isn’t proof as much as exploration, the perfect platform for a widely read and experienced scholar to play with a vast and varied data set. Even with all that information,The Craftsman comes down to a belief: that craft isn’t about things but about values, not about superior skill but about doing a job well for its own sake. Think of it as a theory of sustainable labor to satisfy a basic human need.

     My BIG GRIPE with this book is that if Richard Sennett believes so much in craftsmanship, why are there so many typos? DOZENS OF TYPOS. Misspellings. Extra words. Here’s the end of the second to the last sentence in the book: “the denouement of this narrative is often marked by marked by bitterness and regret.” Ya think? If this book was a car, the dealer would be forced by law to replace it. I’m sure Sennett had nothing to do with this, and that he is mortified that his faith in the practice of craft (proofreading, book-making) has been so blatantly betrayed by his publisher (Yale University Press, of the billions in endowment fame), but frankly, reading this book was to experience cynicism of the highest order: A terrible fate for a story so tied to a job well done.

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