Provocative and enlightening, Richard Sennett's The Craftsman is an exploration of craftsmanship – the desire to do a job well for its own sake – as a template for living.
Most of us have to work. But is work just a means to an end? In trying to make a living, have we lost touch with the idea of making things well?
Pure competition, Sennett shows, will never produce good work. Instead, the values of the craftsman, whether in a Stradivari violin workshop or a modern laboratory, can enrich our lives and change the way we anchor ourselves in the world around us.
The past lives of crafts and craftsmen show us ways of working – using tools, acquiring skills, thinking about materials – which provide rewarding alternative ways for people to utilise their talents. We need to recognize this if motivations are to be understood and lives made as fulfilling as possible.