Richard Sennett is a prime observer of society … one of his great strengths, the thing that makes his narrative so gripping, is the sheer range of his thinking and his brilliance in relating the past to the present.
The Craftsman is a complex but very rewarding read about craftsmanship, pride in one’s work and the differences between individual work and mechanical production, and the intellectual investment in the former versus the more mechanistic approach in the latter.
Sennett uses many examples from the world of music to illustrate his thesis and he finishes with an explanation of the philosophical underpinnings of his ideas, pragmatism in this case.
This book has an extensive index and bibliography and his examples are well-chosen and illustrative and evidence of his wide understanding of the matter. Not a book to read on the beach or a plane or even at home in a week or so. It requires time and patience and is rewarding even when dipping into individual sections but the real benefit comes with the final section brings together the threads and leaves the reader with much more understanding of this field of human endeavor than one had before.