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An optimistic new book argues that we can all become expert at something

An appreciation of physical craft ranges from surgery to flower-arrangement. But it doesn't untangle the way most of us actually work

By Tanya Harrod   December 2020

19th Century Surgical Instruments. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

We worry about work a lot: lack of work, furloughed work, unstable work on zero-hour contracts. And then there’s new forms of work, guided entirely by an algorithm, stripping out any sense of agency or job satisfaction. These fears go back a long way, in step with the gradual spread of the industrial revolution from the late 18th century onwards. By the turn of the 20th century there was, as the historian José Harris puts it,…

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