Matthew Crawford had unquestioned academic bonafides. He had a PhD in political philosophy and had been leading a well-known think tank for several months. But it was a life that felt intellectually arid and pointless. He quit the think tank and started his own motorcycle repair business, and was mentally recharged by work that felt cognitively challenging and intellectually nourishing. His journey to becoming a sort of philosopher mechanic led him to write Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, a best selling book at once grimy, elegant and erudite.
Mr. Crawford has just published his second book, The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction. And he continues to use earthy language and quotidian experience to address some of the biggest questions of philosophy. . .the nature of free will. . .the relationship of the self to the world. . .what it means to live a good, satisfying, ethical life. . .what it means to be human.
Matthew Crawford is both a motorcycle mechanic and a senior fellow at University of Virginia Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, and the Sunday Times of London has called him "one of the most influential thinkers of our time."