I found it impossible to read this book and not think about my own work as a product manager. As I read Sennett's descriptions of goldsmiths, glassblowers and Linux programmers, I examined the way I work. I asked myself how my work is similar to theirs. I questioned the way I work. I looked in the work of others for ways to improve my own.
Each chapter discusses a different aspect craftsmen and craftsmanship. Sennet draws on philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, science and history to examine each of the aspects. Each chapter asks a key question and sets out to find the answer. Sennet describes himself as a "philosophically-minded writer." While the writing is certainly philosophically driven, Sennet has a keen sense of narrative. In seeking out an answer he delves deep and moves across disciplines with grace, but also illustrates each of his points with a story from the history of a number of different crafts.
This book left me with a number threads that I want to follow further on my own. Although Sennet drew his own conclusions about the nature of craftsmanship, he's left his readers with a number of useful tools to start examining and improving their own craft.
A fascinating discussion of the forces destroying social cohesion in western cultures, slowly spreading across the globe with increased materialism and globalisation of employment.
Analysis of the strategies to overcome the social isolation and how to work "together" provides a starting point for any reader concerned with what has been misleadingly called "The Big Society", at a time of considerable constraint on funding and attack of "social welfare".
For those who have read "The Craftsman", Richard Sennet needs no introduction. Even tough he does not provide us with another masterpiece, Sennet presents here the deep roots of our potencialities and difficulties to collaborate with one another. For those who try to go deeper in determining if collaboration in organizations will have its way in the future, it is necessary to read this book
There is nothing original here. William Morris wrote and spoke about how capitalism has caused a decline in craftsmanship over one hundred years ago. And as a previous reviewer has stated, there is nothing about Marx. I could only read half way through this book before giving in with it, so I don't know whether Morris was mentioned at all. But I doubt it and he should have been mentioned in the preface or introduction where credit should be given to previous works. Therefore in terms of philosophy and historical content, I give this book one star. Another reason why I could not read the full book is the way that the arguments are made and the written style. The author uses 1000 words where 10 would suffice. So, one star again for this.