The Crafstsman

I am reading this book called The Craftsman by Richard Sennett.  Craftsmen are people who work for quality and seek to become masters in their trade.  The book draws from history’s archetypal potters and goldsmiths as easy examples of crafstmen, but your modern day software developer or manager can both have roots in this same quest for a standard of quality.

Prehension is when your hand knows what to shape itself to before it picks up a familiar object, say a lighter or a hammer.  Consider what this is like for the master blacksmith who has struck his hammer 10,000 times.  His mind, shoulder, and arms expect and conform to every exact action he takes with that tool.  Or consider a mind of prehensility, a mind that shapes itself to new ideas and challenges.

Sennett highlights challenges as an important step in the process of mastery but gets more technical than saying that this is just “to learn.”  Challenges aren’t only a ground for finding solutions, but are where we go to find problems.  You have to break some things or identify when they do not work to understand them.  An auto mechanic will know an engine after having broken it down to pieces and put it back together.  To get your startup business right, you must discover and understand why you’re not selling enough or developing the right product.

You can use the process outlined in The Craftsman in any pursuit.

2 thoughts on “The Crafstsman

    1. I’d seen his book and it’s on my amazon wish list. I had thought The Craftsman would be an equivalent replacement, but that was a brilliant essay. I’ll check the book out one of these days, thanks Glenn.

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