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Book Review - Making Things Right

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The most important marketing tool a craftsperson has is doing things well. Whether you are a furniture maker, carpenter or spoon carver, you're really only as good as your last job. Those jobs, done correctly and with care should stand the test of time.
Making Things Right - The Simple Philosophy of a Working Life, by Ole Thorstensen is a fantastic book that talks about doing things right, quality and integrity. Ole is a Norwegian Master carpenter and contractor and in his book he takes the reader through the trials of being a one-man show in a world that seems to be flush with big firms. He talks about the impact of doing good work and how in the building world, you get what you pay for. You follow Ole through a job from the bidding process all the way to completion. 
I found it interesting that a lot of the struggles he mentions in the book are the same struggles I hear from my builder friends here in Canada. You realize pretty quickly that personal relationships and customer service have just as much of an impact as manual skills do. As a woodworker who still does the odd bit of commission work, I definitely identified with Ole through his struggles and his accomplishments when dealing with other humans.
The refreshing part of the book for me is Ole's unrelenting commitment to integrity. Integrity is how a person conducts themselves when no one is looking. He serves as a reminder that there are still good, conscientious people in the world who are ever mindful of how their actions will affect others around them. The book is humorous at times and nail-biting in others which for me makes for a great story. I realized quickly that Ole is the kind of guy that I'd like to have a few beers with. I tore through this book over a weekend and have already recommended it to a bunch of friends who work with their hands.


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