Reading the first chapter of The Mind at Work by Mike Rose convinced me that I had to write a review. A waitress describing how she liked being busy, how when tasks started to pile up she would get in the groove and do her best work. I spent a dozen years as an automobile mechanic and that statement exactly mirrors my experience.
So much in the book rang true about my years of experience in the world of “unskilled” work. Workers who co-operate in spite of pay sachems set up to make them competitors. Young workers learning their tools so well that they become extensions of their hands. Learning to handle variations in routine jobs like those caused by rusted and corroded bolts. Mike Rose understands the connection between hands and the mind. He sees that jobs our culture assumes to be mindless in fact require a great deal of thought and skill. I abandoned auto repair as the way I made my living after I grew tired of people dismissing me after seeing my callused and stained hands. More people than the educators that Rose wrote it for should read this book.
My one issue with the book is a few undocumented quotes. One from labor historian David Montgomery I would have liked to look up. Of course what I see as a lack of documentation could just be the oversensitivity of an over fifty undergraduate student.
(Rewritten from my original posted to LibraryThing March 2008)