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.
Guardian review, September 2020
Head, Hand, Heart by David Goodhart review - let's think practically
hen my old school went from grammar to comprehensive in 1972, the headmaster, Frank Brewin, felt he should prepare the ground with the existing cohort of pupils, which included my brother. He warned them not to look down on the new intake from the local secondary modern, saying: "Some people are good with their heads, and some are good with their hands.
Times Educational Supplement review, September 2020
Book review: Head, Hand and Heart
Author: David Goodhart Publisher: Allen Lane Details: 368pp, £20.00 ISBN: 978-0241391570 This would have been a timely and important book even if there had been no coronavirus and no exams controversy. But, given the events of the past few weeks, its arrival could not be more welcome for those who want an education and skills system that is genuinely more responsive to everyone's needs.
Academy of Ideas roundtable discussion, December 2020
AoI Education Forum: Exploring 'Head, Hand, Heart' by David Goodhart
A roundtable book discussion led by Gareth Sturdy, organised by the Academy of Ideas Education Forum. https://academyofideas.org.uk/event/exploring-head-hand-heart-by-david-goodhart/