This book is very interesting but not at all what I was expecting - which was a more historical account of craftsmanship. It is in fact quite philosophical. Although interesting, it is let down badly by a lack of cohesive theory and disparate stated purposes which become confusing.
What makes it great is that it is full of fascinating details of all kinds of different crafts (cooking; violin making; goldsmiths; architects even "open" software designers). It looks at every aspect of craft from its history to what makes a good craftsman.
The book is divided into three parts (1) Craftsman - looking at the history of craft moving from community based (in the medieval guild system) to individual knowledge and achievement (eg. Stradivari and Michelangelo) (2) Craft - looking at what goes into crafting - the use of the hand, analysising how the moment of inspiration occurs, how the best craftsman work with obstacles rather than against them and (3) Craftsmanship - the obsession with quality and whether ability is natural or can be taught.
It wasn't what I expected as I thought it would be in its entirety about the history of the craftsman and its modern disappearance. Although there are really interesing and thought provoking parts of history woven in, it is really much more philosophical. It is very theoretical suggesting sweeping theories that don't really transcend across the book and on analysis seem a bit flawed and remote. It smacks of a desperate attempt to unify essays that are incapable of unification.
It is the author's desire to try and pull it all together that is actually the weakness here. It makes it very confusing and lacking a single message. This is due to the breadth of the subject.
Overall, it is well worth reading as it is interesting and will provide you with lots of thought provoking tales to discuss over a glass of wine. But you will be left wondering exactly what it was the author was aiming to do.