- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Verso (May 23, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1786631067
- ISBN-13: 978-1786631060
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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“A satisfying celebration of the ‘great romantic dream … a society that breaks free of the vicious circle of undefined productivity.’”
“Rather than thinking of amateurs as dabblers, weekend gardeners, busying themselves with unimportant tasks, Merrifield defends the creative and political potential of doing things we love for pleasure. Amateurs take risks, seek independence, innovate by choosing a less obvious direction. By exploring the work of figures like Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, and Hannah Arendt, and their impact on his own professional life, Merrifield succeeds in highlighting the revolutionary spirit of the amateur.”
“Erudite and engagingly written … refreshing.”
“Here amateurs (a word derived from the Latin ‘to love’) are non-alienated citizens; enthusiasts, who counter the mechanical expertise and technical formalism of modern society; passionate obsessives standing up for values that need defending. Merrifield, an urban theorist who writes with a brio and wit often missing in professional academics, offers an idiosyncratic canon (Dostoevsky, Jane Jacobs, Edward Said) in which he holds up amateurs as outside-the-box thinkers, inter- and post-disciplinary radicals. It’s a stirring book whose critique of contemporary work culture will be instantly recognisable. It also doubles as a moving memoir of a working-class intellectual.”
—Sukdev Sandhu, Observer
Print Royal Vans Mets Blue Authentic “A celebration of brilliant quirks, hobbyists both talented and not, and passionate activists, a full-frontal assault on professionalism, and a call to cherish our amateur pursuits … Delightful to read, The Amateur is also a timely salvo.”
—Miya Tokumitsu, Frieze
“This elegant polemic is a persuasive manifesto for amateurism.”
“Provides a much needed take-down of the social legitimacy and sense of virtue with which the professional class has been endowed. It’s a critique of professionalism—and an urgently needed one.”
About the Author
Andy Merrifield is the author of nine books. His many articles, essays and reviews have appeared in the Nation, Harper’s, Adbusters, New Left Review, Dissent, the Brooklyn Rail, and Radical Philosophy. He is a prolific writer about urbanism and social theory, with titles credited to him including The New Urban Question and Magical Marxism. He has also published three intellectual biographies, of Henri Lefebvre, Guy Debord and John Berger, as well as a popular travelogue, Vans Print Blue Mets Authentic Royal The Wisdom of Donkeys.
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Andy Merrifield's approach to life is to simply follow your own heart and make your own path, not listen to what some "expert" has to say about living your life or succeeding in your career. But he also talks about his experiences as well as lessons he's learned from others...I somewhat relate to him. I am a freelance/go with the moment type of person, but I also like to plan when necessary...and I get advice from experts often, growing through my own experiences and through theirs!
Andy did not say anything new, but added a personable twist to the book world. While he prefers amateurs to rule the world, it's a little naive to think that inexperienced people can do a better job than folks with hands on training or education. Example: someone in their 30s couldn't run a farm better than a 13 year old who's been doing it for 7 years; someone in their 20s couldn't run a factory better than a 60 year old who's been doing it for 35 years. Where I agree with him: sometimes jobs get stale. They produce the same ideas from the same people and get the same failing results. In that case, the jobs should reach out to people with a fresh perspective. Like someone in the art world (acting, singing, painting, writing etc) has natural talent and no amount of training could make a person excel over them. So again, I agree that amateurs are beneficial but I also know that professionals matter!
Anyway, the book did not flow. It captured my interest but did not keep me interested. The chapters were okay but a little confusing at times...I'm split down the middle, so I honestly can't tell you that I recommend this or not. If you love to read, buy this book. If you are looking for an easy read, pass on this book. This book was so-so for me and I personally would not buy it for anyone else but I don't think I wasted my time reading it...