Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities
"Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities" by Kevin Kelly
In honor of the "Timeout Spring Fashion Edition" I have decided to feature one of the most fascinating books I have come across in a very long time, the aforementioned "Cool Tools", which is indeed, as advertised, "A Catalog of Possibilities". As the introduction astutely states, "A cool tool is...Anything useful that: Increases learning, Empowers individuals, Does work that matters, Is either the best, Or the cheapest, Or is the only thing that works." (And that never goes out of fashion.)
The author, Kevin Kelly, is now the Senior Maverick at "Wired" magazine which he helped get started in 1993, so you know he knows his stuff about technology and and cutting edge tools. This wonderful book is so much more than hardware and electronics however, this is 472 pages of inspired genius. The first chapter is titled "Consumptivity" and it starts out with a review of Peter Walsh's book "It's All Too Much" an extremely helpful guide on how to de-clutter your life, which you're really going to need to do. This is because you're going to need to get rid of all that useless crap hanging around your place so you'll have room for all the really great crap that the author and other catalogs in this book have to offer. This catalog of catalogs is very reminiscent of the "Whole Earth Catalog" that many of us used to pore over for hours back when alternative energy and sustainable living technologies were first becoming popular. There are chapters on building materials and plumbing and hundreds of DIY projects for the home handyman and renovator, not to mention, as promised, the cool tools to do the job. However this is merely the beginning, a brief perusal of the contents page shows chapters on Workshop, Kitchen, and Gardens and a plethora of information on who has the information to do great (fun and interesting) things.
Since this review is for the "Timeout Spring Fashion Edition" I would be remiss if I didn't mention the absolutely fabulous chapters on Craft, Clothing and Design. Although very few of the items listed in these sections are likely to end up on a Paris or New York runway (but you never know) there is certainly plenty of information on the fabrics, tools, and methods that would enable a talented, skilled, or just interested, person to turn out some really amazing creations. There is a massive amount of information on fabrics, traditional cloth-making, weaving, costumes and adornment. I was pleased to see that I already possessed some great examples of the fine craft-works mentioned.
As I was randomly thumbing through, I became very excited about several of the tools and projects that I discovered, I kept thinking, "Damn, that might be something I would actually do, not to mention the tools to do it with, and the book that explains the process." I could wax on eloquently about many things on practically every page but suffice to say this a DIYer and gearhead's dream. I would venture to say that you would find the tools, material, and methods for almost any household job, project, or craft that you could conceive of in this fantastic book.
Book Review 03/1414