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The Fabric Of This World: Inquiries into Calling, Career Choice, and the Design of Human Work [Paperback]

Lee Hardy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 4 1990
Work concerns all of us: we spend more of our waking hours working than doing anything else. The importance of work and the need to reflect more fully and meaningful on it make Lee Hardys Fabric of This World a highly relevant book.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Hardy looks creatively at the meaning of work according to Greek, medieval, Renaissance, Marxian, and Freudian perspectives, then at Luther's view and subsequent Calvinist development and modification, concluding with contemporary Roman Catholic convergence. The second half of the book applies the theory to personal career choice and social job design; it then reviews seven management theories and ends with perceptive remarks about combining people-oriented choices and profit choices. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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I SUPPOSE MOST students enter colleges and universities with the idea of preparing themselves for a career. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good Christian book on vocations Feb. 26 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I liked this book. We have to read it for our class on career counseling and it gives a good primer on the theology of work--really the history of the theology of work. From the ancients to the reformers of Calvin and Luther. Chapter four details the modern thinkers on work and management. A good read overall.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good Christian book on vocations Feb. 26 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I liked this book. We have to read it for our class on career counseling and it gives a good primer on the theology of work--really the history of the theology of work. From the ancients to the reformers of Calvin and Luther. Chapter four details the modern thinkers on work and management. A good read overall.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop "nodding"! July 8 2010
By Adorisable - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is fantastic!
It was a required reading for a Career Counseling class.. and I was dreading reading "yet another boring required text." But as soon as I started reading it, I fell in love with the clear TRUTH (both encouraging AND challenging) in it - on every single page! I loved Lee Hardy's honesty and matter-of-fact stance.

The following sentences from p. 117 sum it all up, in my opinion:
"When the virtue of hard work becomes the vice of workaholism, it is likely that an underlying spiritual problem needs to be addressed. The addiction to work as a source of affirmation and self-esteem needs to be broken by an encounter with a God of grace who can provide all that we need apart from our own efforts, thereby freeing us for a life in pursuit of the righteousness of his kingdom."

Excellent book! I highly recommend it to everyone who "WORKS!"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb June 17 2011
By Justin Coulson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The idea of a calling received newfound modern attention in Bellah et al's (1985) "Habits of the Heart". Building on this brilliant beginning, careers literature has boomed in recent years as researchers and careers counsellors have attempted to find ways for people to find greater meaning and purpose in their careers.

Hardy's "Fabric of this World" is a stellar review of the history of calling and vocation, turning a challenging history into a pleasing page-turner that I read in no time at all. Hardy's "Fabric" was published only six years after Bellah's seminal work, and provides a deep foundation that puts "Habits of the Heart" in context, but also offers a wonderfully solid theoretical platform from which research in recent times has launched. That this book was written before we had any of the research knowledge that we currently enjoy is a credit to the detailed and high quality research Hardy put into creating "Fabric".

While the final chapter deals with 1990's management theory a little too much for my liking, the historical review and discussion of how we find meaning and purpose in work through a 'service' prism was edifying.

I highly recommend this book. Simple, succinct, satisfying.
5.0 out of 5 stars best discussion of vocation from a Christian perspective that I have found June 11 2013
By John M. Hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hardy ties our understanding of how our religious life as Christians ties into our every day life of work in a deep but easily understood way
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Treatise on the Lost Concept of Vocation Jan. 9 2010
By Aleithia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here is an excerpt from pages 97-99 I read today. I think it speaks for itself.

"... the constant temptation is to evaluate a job solely on the basis of salary, security, status, and satisfaction -- all, oddly enough, benefits which accrue directly to ourselves. Certainly adequate pay, financial stability, a measure of social dignity, and a sense of vocational fulfillment are significant considerations in applying for jobs. But the most important consideration for the Christian is service. Those who belong to the household of faith, Calvin counsels, should "choose those employments which yield the greatest advantage to their neighbors." As Christians, we are obliged to evaluate a job by its actual social content -- the way in which it benefits, or harms, others. For God "let us in this world," Calvin adds, "on the condition that every one of us should consider wherein he may be able to help such as have need of him." Because of the effects of sin upon the institutional shape and social direction of work, we cannot automatically assume that all existing occupations are equally legitimate, nor can we assume that the highest paying ones are the ones that fill the greatest and most important needs.
Nor can job satisfaction serve as an infallible guide to the right occupation. Much is made these days of self-fulfillment. We must to our own selves be true. When it comes to work, we are inclined to think that jobs exist primarily for our sake, to assist us in the realization of our selves. This is what we expect from a good job. If it happens that others are served or edified in the process, then so be it -- we will count it as a happy by-product. If, however, we find our work unsatisfying, then even if we are serving others in it, we take ourselves to be entirely justified in quitting.
The Christian understanding of work does not deny that job satisfaction is a good and valuable thing. But job satisfaction cannot, for the Christian, serve as the sole or even primary criterion by which a job is evaluated. For an occupation must be first considered in terms of how it provides a fitting place for the exercise of one's gifts in the service of others. If job satisfaction comes along with the work, then one must count that as a blessing and be thankful. But it cannot be a goal. "The greatest reward of faithfulness to vocation," writes Barth, is to be able to devote ourselves to our concern no only with interest but with desire and love, with gladness that we are what we are. But this is a reward which we cannot expect nor demand, and at which we are not to aim. Our task is to do justice to what is demanded at the place which we have occupied, whether gladly or otherwise. Yet these may not be absolute alternatives. There will always be exceptional cases of men who can gladly fulfill their sphere of operation from first to last and in all its dimensions; just as there will always be those who do so with the greatest reluctance. For most of us the reality will lie somewhere between. We shall have much cause for sighing, yet also for joy, and visa versa. There will be much to make us glad but also much to depress us."
These are hard words of advice. They suggest that making the best decision about what to do with one's life may involve a degree of personal sacrifice, even self-denial. But behind these hard words lies the exquisite paradox of the gospel message: those who seek to gain the world will lose themselves in the process, while those who deny themselves for the sake of Christ will gain themselves back again a hundredfold. This ground rule of the kingdom of heaven, plus Christ's identification with the poor and need of the world, should make the overall vocational direction of our lives disturbingly clear."

This book has provoked more thoughtful discussion about the nature of work (with co-workers and fellow Christians) than any treatise I've read.
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