Matthew B. Crawford
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About Matthew B. Crawford
Matthew B. Crawford is a philosopher and mechanic. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he owns and operates Shockoe Moto, an independent motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Virginia.
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Books By Matthew B. Crawford
“This is a deep exploration of craftsmanship by someone with real, hands-on knowledge. The book is also quirky, surprising, and sometimes quite moving.” —Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman
Called “the sleeper hit of the publishing season” by The Boston Globe, Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant bestseller, attracting readers with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a “knowledge worker,” based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world.
Matthew Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, which challenged our notions about what we do and how it affects our sense of self (and our happiness). This new book addresses the crisis of attention: where we focus -- or cannot focus--equally affects our sense of self. As our mental lives become more fragmented, what is at stake often seems to be nothing less than the question of whether one can maintain a coherent self. The key to a better life then is to get command not just of one’s physical environment, but of one’s mental life, too.
Like Shop Class as Soulcraft, Crawford uses case studies as well as entertaining musings from his own personal observations to describe the fundamental shift surrounding attention that is happening in our culture. From making a surfboard, to parenting, to anxiously navigating the inside of an airport—all provide clues to a phenomenon that we increasingly experience, but could not put into words, until now. An accessible and food for thought kind of look at what our difficulties with attention mean for us as free thinking people.
A brilliant and defiant celebration of driving as a unique pathway of human freedom, by "one of the most influential thinkers of our time" (Sunday Times)
"Why We Drive weaves philosophers, thinkers, and scientific research with shade-tree mechanics and racers to defend our right to independence, making the case that freedom of motion is essential to who we are as a species. ... We hope you'll read it." —Road & Track
Once we were drivers, the open road alive with autonomy, adventure, danger, trust, and speed. Today we are as likely to be in the back seat of an Uber as behind the wheel ourselves. Tech giants are hurling us toward a shiny, happy “self-driving” future, selling utopia but equally keen to advertise to a captive audience strapped into another expensive device. Are we destined, then, to become passengers, not drivers? Why We Drive reveals that much more may be at stake than we might think.
Ten years ago, in the New York Times-bestselling Shop Class as Soulcraft, philosopher-mechanic Matthew B. Crawford—a University of Chicago PhD who owned his own motorcycle shop—made a revolutionary case for manual labor, one that ran headlong against the pretentions of white-collar office work. Now, using driving as a window through which to view the broader changes wrought by technology on all aspects of contemporary life, Crawford investigates the driver’s seat as one of the few remaining domains of skill, exploration, play—and freedom.
Blending philosophy and hands-on storytelling, Crawford grounds the narrative in his own experience in the garage and behind the wheel, recounting his decade-long restoration of a vintage Volkswagen as well as his journeys to thriving automotive subcultures across the country. Crawford leads us on an irreverent but deeply considered inquiry into the power of faceless bureaucracies, the importance of questioning mindless rules, and the battle for democratic self-determination against the surveillance capitalists. A meditation on the competence of ordinary people, Why We Drive explores the genius of our everyday practices on the road, the rewards of “folk engineering,” and the existential value of occasionally being scared shitless.
Witty and ingenious throughout, Why We Drive is a rebellious and daring celebration of the irrepressible human spirit.
Ein Hohelied aufs Fahren als Sinnbild individueller Freiheit – von »einem der einflussreichsten Denker unserer Zeit« Sunday Times
Wenn wir Auto fahren, verheißt die Straße Autonomie, Abenteuer, aber auch Vertrauen auf andere. Doch Technologiegiganten arbeiten an einer Zukunft des „autonomen Fahrens“. Der Philosoph Matthew B. Crawford bezweifelt, dass uns das gut tun würde, und zeigt, worum es beim Fahren wirklich geht. Denn es macht einen entscheidenden Unterschied, selbst am Steuer seines Autos zu sitzen und damit wenigstens einen Bereich seines Lebens zu kontrollieren, statt nur passiver Passagier zu sein. Der Fahrersitz ist einer der wenigen verbliebenen Orte, wo manuelle Geschicklichkeit, der Drang nach Erkundung und das Gefühl von Freiheit eine reale Rolle spielen. Das eigenständige Fahren ist das letzte Refugium der Selbstbestimmung gegenüber der Gängelung und Nivellierung durch wuchernde Bürokratie, Regelungswut und Überwachungskapitalismus, aber auch ein Ort der spontanen, geregelten Verständigung zwischen Individuen – und dadurch ein wesentlicher Bestandteil unserer Demokratie.