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Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman Paperback – March 31, 2015
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What a superb book this is. The measure of its excellence is such that, the central premise being so clearly intelligent, so engagingly correct, it would still prove a worthwhile read even if its execution had been a letdown. As it is, the perfectly planned prose and stylish design could elevate Peter Korn s account of his life and career, as a craftsman (a furniture maker) to the status of a modern classic. This is one cool piece of work. --The Times (UK)
Drawing on his decades of experience handcrafting fine furniture, Korn s previous books have primarily focused on teaching woodworking to neophytes, including the best-selling Woodworking Basics (2003). In this inspired departure from such how-to guides, Korn explores the fundamental reasons why he and other artistically inclined hobbyists and professionals passionately devote themselves to their craft, often for little recognition or monetary gain. Against the backdrop of a consumer marketplace saturated with machine-manufactured goods, Korn asks readers to consider what makes creative work so rewarding, what the nature of those rewards actually are, and what making things can reveal about our deeper nature. In answering these questions, Korn describes his own life as a crucible of self-discovery, recounting how his middle-class Philadelphia upbringing led to carpentry work, then designing furniture, then teaching woodworking, and finally to founding a furniture-making school in Maine. Written with as much attention to polished prose as the author gives to his woodworking, Korn s book is a stirring testimonial for self-fulfillment through craftsmanship, whatever form it takes. --Carl Hays --Booklist
Here, furniture maker Korn shifts from how-to guides to a more philosophical approach to woodcraft. [...] This book documents Korn's personal philosophy, interweaves art and existence, and is based on a strong belief in his work.[...] An uplifting title for artisans, novice or skilled, who will benefit from the ideas of a kindred spirit. --Library Journal
About the Author
Peter Korn is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a non-profit school in Rockport, Maine. A furniture maker since 1974, he is also the author of several how-to books, including the bestselling Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship (Taunton Press, 2003). His furniture has been exhibited nationally in galleries and museums.
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I started losing interest and barely made it to the end. Honestly couldn't tell you what the last few chapters were about as my eyes glazed over.
I think with some judicious editing of all the fluff, it'd be an easier and more enjoyable read.
Some people will enjoy this book and that's fine because different people expect different things. But while I read and enjoyed The Craftsman by Richard Sennett and Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford, which were entirely different from one another, struggled with this one to understand what point he was trying to make. Reading it each day, as I like to finish books that I start, was laboring.
My tendency when going through books, is to underline and highlight the heck out of em. I consider them valuable tools to use. I want to reflect as I go, rather than go back through a whole book.
This book, that didn't happen too much.
The reason I bought this book, and I imagine a lot of people would be in the same boat, as far as buying decisions go.. was I was hoping that it would point me in the right direction, as far as "life choices" go..like, on the journey that we call life, I was hoping that this would be a helpful guidepost on that trail. Don't get me wrong, I picked up some nuggets of wisdom, but I didn't really get pointed in any direction.
The biggest thing I probably took away from the book is this:
-If given the opportunity, or if you can create it.. flounder about in life. Try new things, hobby's, interest, and see what sticks. You may not gain exactly what you want from these 'actions' but you will gain something, and taking action is the most important thing you can do.
-Also, life will poop on you.. hardcore sometimes. Its not personal. Its just life relieving itself. I honest to god feel sorry for the author, but maybe it was Karma or something?
Anyways, the book was okay. It was worth the money, and the time to read through it. But the Main title and the sub-title really should be reversed. I think that would give more an accurate picture on what the book is about.
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