Summary of “Mike Rowe on Efficiency versus Effectiveness”

Earlier this week, I listened to Brett McKay’s interview with Mike Rowe.
As you’ll learn if you listen to the conversation, following his stint as the host of Dirty Jobs, Rowe has become an advocate for the trades.
In this interview, as in many others, Rowe argues that skilled labor can be both satisfying and lucrative, and yet there are still somewhere around three million such jobs left unfilled in this country.
I always find Rowe’s thoughts on shifting American work cultures interesting, but there’s a phrase he often uses in these discussions that has recently begun to draw my attention: efficiency versus effectiveness.
Rowe notes that knowledge work seems obsessed with efficiency, while the skilled trades seem more concerned with effectively solving problems.
Stepping away from the immediate context of Rowe’s advocacy, I think he has touched on an important point here that highlights a little-discussed problem rotting the core of the knowledge economy.
Rowe hints at an interesting path out of this swamp: stop lionizing efficiency, and start asking the question that has guided craftsmen for millennia: what’s the most effective way for me to accomplish the things that are most important?
The concept is elegant: important and compelling works of literature delivered in a pocket size printing, roughly the size of an smartphone.

The orginal article.