Monday, September 7, 2009

Five best books about working

Matthew Crawford is the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about working.

One book on his list:
The Mind at Work
by Mike Rose
Viking, 2004

You might consider getting a job waiting tables after reading Mike Rose's "The Mind at Work." Rose ­emphatically does not romanticize the workers he describes, who include electricians, welders and waitresses. Rather, he shows how mentally absorbing work can be for those who cultivate a particular skill, however narrow that skill might seem. A ­restaurant is both structured and chaotic. The busier it gets, the more "on" an experienced waitress tends to become, at once calmed and energized by an awareness of her own skillful ­performance. She moves in a circuit of heightened efficiency that gets smoother with each added demand. She does this while keeping the cook happy and the cranky customer docile, and ­playing you like a fiddle to get a bigger tip. She is a sort of ­entrepreneur. In this deeply humane book, Rose helps us see the human excellence on display all around us, in jobs that often go unnoticed.
Read about all five titles on Crawford's list.

--Marshal Zeringue