Why We Drive is a rebellious and daring celebration of the human spirit and the competence of ordinary people by the bestselling author of The Case for Working with Your Hands, 'one of the most influential thinkers of our time' (Sunday Times).
Once we were drivers, the open road alive with autonomy and adventure. Today we are as likely to be in the back seat of an Uber as behind the wheel. As we hurtle toward a shiny, happy 'self-driving' future, are we destined to become passengers in our own lives too?
Driving, it turns out, offers a near-perfect embodiment of the broader changes being wrought by government and technology throughout our lives. In Why We Drive, the philosopher and mechanic Matthew Crawford shows the driver's seat to be one of the few remaining places where we still regularly take risk, exercise skill and enjoy freedom. But it is here too that we discover what we are losing to automation and the technocrats, and who will profit from the vision of progress they press upon us.
Blending philosophy with hands-on storytelling and drawing on his own experience in the garage and behind the wheel, Crawford leads us on an irreverent but deeply considered inquiry into the power of faceless bureaucracies, the importance of questioning mindless rules and the battle for democratic self-determination against the surveillance capitalists. In turn he speaks up for rivalry and play, solidarity and dissent - and the existential value of occasionally being scared shitless.
Wry, humane and occasionally hilarious, Why We Drive takes us to the heart of one of the defining questions of our times: who is really in control?
'One of the most original and mind-opening studies of practical philosophy to have appeared for many years' John Gray
One of the most original and mind-opening studies of practical philosophy to have appeared for many years
Persuasive and thought-provoking ... a vivid and heartfelt manifesto against ...the loss of individual agency and the human pleasure of acquired skill and calculated risk ... Not since Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has someone better articulated the soul-enhancing possibilities of tinkering with tools, making useful stuff work well ... a powerful (and enjoyable) corrective against that wisdom that suggests the unchecked march of all-seeing tech monopolies ... is essential to human progress
Matthew Crawford is one of those who believes that western societies are being blighted by what he terms safetyism, the elevation of safety above all else. He argues that when the state cocoons its citizens from dangers, people lose the elemental pleasure, autonomy, mastery and sense of discovery that comes from taking their own decisions and risks ... He makes the case for a broader view of the purpose of life than simply the defence of it ... I am with Crawford
A pleasure to read ... His thesis demands that he convey the pleasure of driving, and he's up to the task ... And he addresses some huge, fascinating issues: how people retain self-respect when computers are deskilling them, and sovereignty over their lives when computers are spying on them. Much of modern life raises these questions, but people's relationship with their cars perhaps best exemplifies them ... an enjoyable, scenic cruise round a fascinating landscape