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Reviews

  • One of the most original and mind-opening studies of practical philosophy to have appeared for many years

    John Gray, Unherd
  • 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

    TIM ADAMS, Observer
  • Matthew Crawford is the grand master of the everyday. He alerts us to the deeper meaning in ordinary activities, such as driving a car, and how they connect to concerns about freedom, responsibility and moral choice. Even if you have no interest in driving you will find yourself swept up by his elegant prose and glad to find his humane intelligence doing battle with some of the most troubling trends in modern life

    DAVID GOODHART, author of The Road to Somewhere
  • 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

    JENNI RUSSELL, The Times
  • 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

    EMMA DUNCAN, Sunday Times
  • Crawford spreads his wings way beyond cars ... neither of the right nor of the left, and certainly not of the centre ... this book is about a freedom that is being lost to the cynics of surveillance ... a defence of the felt life against the intrusions of the technocrats ... absorbing ... there is hope for the humans and the gearheads

    BRYAN APPLEYARD, New Statesman
  • A biographical, philosophical inquiry that explores a fascinating paradox: the whole allure of driving is freedom, but it's also dangerous, so it has to be regulated ... The political and cultural consensus in the 21st century is anti-car: it's unsafe, polluting, selfish. Crawford turns some of these ideas upside down ... This is a lovely book that applies history, philosophy and literature to one obsessive subject ... a culture war over cars that pits town against country, walkers against drivers and freedom against order

    Telegraph
  • Terrific ... like being taken for a drive by a hyperactive, unreliable uncle. You're going a way you don't recognise and you've been told not to put on your seatbelt because seatbelts are for squares. As you cling to the sides of your seat, he takes you past a stock car rally, then an off-road race course in the desert. Just as you're approaching something familiar, there's a handbrake turn and off you go down a detour on the Nazis, a bit on utilitarianism, then a lesson on how to drift. He rolls down the window to shout something at some "bicycle moralists" ... His justification for all of this is what he calls "philosophical anthropology", but its real purpose is to tell you what he approves of - mechanics, motorsports, motorbikes, the autobahn, real men and old-fashioned women - and what he doesn't like: bicycles, the pencil pushers at the DMV, "safetyism" and Portland, Oregon

    Guardian
  • Witty, open-minded and impossible to label as reactionary. As public polymaths go - he's an engineer, physicist, philosopher, sociologist, motorbike mechanic and a restorer of VW Beetles - he leaves Jordan Peterson at the start line

    MELANIE REID, The Times
  • Fascinating... Crawford, who is something of an American cultural guru, never strays far from his main thesis, which is how these big tech companies milk us of data, and see the car, so central to our society, as crucial to their mission ... Crawford skilfully takes us through the gears as he intelligently ... flies the flag for individualism over dour corporative determinism

    Andrew Lycett, Mail on Sunday

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