Mon, 31 May 2010
In this interview, Dr. Matthew B. Crawford talks to Claudia Cragg about 'Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good. This iconic book - bound to be as powerful as 'Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' was in its day - Crawford also explores why some jobs offer fulfilment while others leave us frustrated.
It answers the question as to why we so often think of our working selves as separate from our 'true' selves?
Over the course of the twentieth century, Dr. Crawford argues that we have separated mental work from manual labour, replacing the workshop with either the office cubicle or the factory line.
In this inspiring and persuasive book, he explores the dangers of this false distinction and presents instead the case for working with your hands. It will also force many a parent to question why today they are only pushing their kids hard towards academic (grade-based rote-learning, mulitple choice) success, turning them only into knowledge workers many of whom will be doomed to remain for an eternity on the very bottom of the pile.
The publishers believe that Dr Crawford "delivers a radical, timely and extremely enjoyable re-evaluation of our attitudes to work" and no doubt a great many listeners to this interview might well agree.
Matthew B. Crawford majored in physics as an undergraduate, then turned to political philosophy (Ph.D. Chicago). His writings for The New Atlantis, A Journal of Technology and Society, bring the two concerns together, and consider how developments in the sciences influence our view of the human person. Currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, he also runs a small business in Richmond.
note: In the US, the book is known as 'Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work'.
Sat, 22 May 2010
In this interview, Dave Isay the founder of StoryCorps, talks to Claudia Cragg about 'Mom', the latest book to be published out of the project. This is a celebration in print of American mothers from all walks of life and experiences. Selected from StoryCorps’ extensive archive of interviews, Mom is, StoryCorps says, a presentation of collective wisdom that has been passed from mothers to their children in StoryCorps’ recording booths across the United States.
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission, they say, is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. Since 2003, over 50,000 everyday people have interviewed family and friends through StoryCorps. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to our weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and the project's Listen Pages.
Isay is also the recipient of numerous broadcasting honors, including five Peabody Awards and a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is the author/editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work, as well as the StoryCorps books.
You can listen to StoryCorps stories and learn more about the oral history project here.