A FINANCIAL TIMES AND TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020
The acclaimed new book from the celebrated author of The Road to Somewhere
'Brilliant, will become a classic' Daily Telegraph
'Utterly compelling ... one of the most important intellectuals in the country, if not Europe' Sunday Times
The coronavirus pandemic taught us something we ought already to have known: that care workers, supermarket shelf-stackers, delivery drivers and cleaners are doing essential work that keeps us all alive, fed and cared for. Until recently much of this work was regarded as menial by the the same society that now lauds them as 'key workers'. Why are they so undervalued?
In this timely and original analysis, David Goodhart divides human aptitudes into three: Head (cognitive), Hand (manual and craft) and Heart (caring, emotional). It's common sense that a good society needs to recognise the value of all three, but in recent decades they have got badly out of kilter. Cognitive ability has become the gold standard of human esteem. The cognitive class now shapes society largely in its own interests, by prioritizing the knowledge economy, ever-expanding higher education and shaping the very idea of a successful life. To put it bluntly: smart people have become too powerful.
Head, Hand, Heart tells the story of the cognitive takeover that has gathered pace over the past forty years. As recently as the 1970s most people left school without qualifications, but now 40 per cent of all jobs are graduate-only. A good society must re-imagine the meaning of skilled work, so that people who work with their hands and hearts are valued alongside workers who manipulate data. Our societies need to spread status more widely, and provide meaning and value for people who cannot, or do not want to, achieve in the classroom and the professions. This is the story of the central struggle for status and dignity in the twenty-first century.
Utterly compelling ... Goodhart is one of the most important intellectuals in the country, if not Europe. He has consistently been ahead of the curve, no doubt because of his willingness to point out flaws in our liberal consensus before it was fashionable to do so
Brilliant ... a book every MP should read ... The Road to Somewhere has become a classic and I think Head Hand Heart will become a classic too.
Voices the predicament of those whose dream - to live an ordinary, decent life - is often thwarted by a cognitive-obsessed society that disdains those who are not natural exam-passers
Goodhart makes a strong case for reviving the status of work outside the 'knowledge economy', as the age of automation approaches ... by highlighting dimensions of life and work that have been stripped of prestige in an age of individualism, he performs a valuable service.
Goodhart and his publishers may reflect on the freakishly good fortune of the book's timing ... joins the dots of Britain's current cultural and economic malaises. Goodhart is impassioned and hopeful, but the underlying ideological message is stark
It's a topsy-turvy world where the work of the heart and hand is undervalued. It's time for a radical rethink in what we value - and Goodhart's book is a part of this urgent endeavour
David Goodhart - the man who made the words "anywheres" and "somewheres" must-use terms of reference - turns his searching gaze and his genius for pithy formulation to another cause of division in the West: the fact that, as he puts it, "smart people have become too powerful.
David Goodhart is among the most insightful analysts of Anglo-American society, and of why the elites in our two countries so badly misunderstand the values, needs, and worth of most citizens. If you dream of a society that is more just and humane, offering more people more routes to dignity, prosperity, and happiness, then you will love Head, Hand, Heart
Goodhart argues compellingly that an overvaluation of the role of cognitive elites in government and society has blinded us to the importance of the caring professions and vocations based on practical skills. Presenting an agenda that has become all the more urgent since the pandemic, Head, Hand and Heart is a powerful successor to Goodhart's hugely influential Road to Somewhere. For anyone concerned with the state of politics and society, this is a real must-read
David Goodhart means to start a reformation. With great clarity and unfailing sympathy for the human condition, he charts a path toward a society in which a fuller range of aptitudes will receive the recognition they are due.