Head, Hand, Heart

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A good society needs a balance between aptitudes relating to head (cognitive), hand (manual/craft) and heart (caring/emotional). In recent decades in Western societies they have got out of kilter. One form of human aptitude – cognitive ability – has become the gold standard of human esteem. The cognitive class now shapes society, and largely in its own interests: in the knowledge economy, the over-expansion of higher education and in the very idea of a successful life. To put it bluntly: smart people have become too powerful. David Goodhart, who in his last book described the divide between the worldviews of the Anywheres and Somewheres, now reveals the story of a cognitive takeover that has gathered pace in the past forty years.

ISBN: 9780241391570 Author: Tester, Goodhart Publisher: Allen Lane Publication Date: 8th September 2020 Imprint: Allen Lane Cover: Hardback Dewey: 306.36 (edition:23) Pages: xiii, 347 Language: English Readership: College - higher education / Code: F Category: Subjects: , , ,

A FINANCIAL TIMES AND TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020

The acclaimed and urgent 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.

Out of Print