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Caleb CrainDe Botton starts with noble intentions, claiming in his first chapter to have been inspired to write about work by the intense, unabashed interest taken by cargo-ship spotters, the hobbyists who track the comings and goings of the enormous oceangoing vessels that help to make globalization possible. The spotters "know what it is about the world that would detain a Martian or a child," de Botton writes. But in his praise of their wonder, there is a note of condescension: "Admittedly, the ship spotters do not respond to the objects of their enthusiasm with particular imagination. They traffic in statistics."
—The New York Times