Why We Make Things and Why It Matters

  • by Peter Korn
  • Narrated by Traber Burns
  • 5 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this moving account, Peter Korn explores the nature and rewards of creative practice. We follow his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer and maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching and administration at Colorado's Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and then founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit institution.
Furniture making practiced as a craft in the 21st century is a decidedly marginal occupation. Yet the view from the periphery can be illuminating. For Korn the challenging work of bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one's own volition - whether in the arts, the kitchen, or the marketplace - is what generates the meaning and fulfillment that so many of us seek.
This is not a how-to book in any sense. Korn wants to get at the why of craft in particular and the satisfactions of creative work in general to understand their essential nature. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How do the products of creative work inform society? In short, what does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn draws on four decades of hands-on experience to answer these questions eloquently, and often poignantly, in this personal, introspective, and revealing book.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A guide to living a fulfilling life

This book is rich and dense in a good way, and stands up to repeated listenings. Korn weaves together his own life story, a history of the craft movement (the only part of the book where the momentum sags a bit), and a philosophy for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. If you're anyone trying to create something--whether writer, artist, musician, craftsperson, whatever--I haven't found a deeper guide to that journey anywhere. Inspiring!
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- Alan

Must Read

Well, not for everyone, but for those who are at least a little disturbed by the disposable culture we now live in, it's a must read. Not as good "Shop Class as Soulcraft" though to be fair, the author isn't trying to write the same book so perhaps it's just different.

Easier to read than Pirsig's "Zen" and definitely more to the point, it belongs on the same as shelf as these two books as well Richard Sennett, David Pye et al.
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- Ray

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-28-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.