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I can't find the name of it, but I read a book a while back that discussed just this - the author had been an extremely successful intellectual, but quit to run a motorcycle repair shop. He found that the "big" work was absolutely unrewarding due to no real tangible feedback - he never knew if he was doing well, and had no payoff, but repairing a motorcycle is something that is extremely tangible and rewarding in that you can see the results of your effort.

Edit: Found it.


I see someone already mentioned his name (Matthew Crawford) below.

Maybe he was more of a "sensor" (personality type that needs to see a tangible result). A lot of developers are sensors (ISTJ in the myers briggs woo woo parlance), but also a lot are intuitors which might not need this.

I read this book years ago thinking it was specifically about motorcycles (at the time I was riding a lot as a hobby) and instead got this strange meditation on the nature of work and its meaning. I was annoyed at first but kept reading. Ended up loving it. Highly recommend.

Sounds superficially similar to the classic Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.

It is inspired by it, but with a modern look on the same ideas.

It is about paying attention to what you do, to put effort into what you are doing. The Zen book was about that as well; if you put attention and effort into fixing motorcycles, it will often be rewarding.

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