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Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities Paperback – 3 Jun 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Tools (3 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940689007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940689005
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 1.5 x 35.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review


Praise for "Cool Tools" prototype (2003) and blog:

""Cool Tools" is what the "Whole Earth Catalog" always wanted to be." -- Peter Schwartz, futurist, Salesforce

"Stewart Brand said that "Cool Tools" had captured the spirit of the "Whole Earth Catalog" but without taking on a counterculture and back-to-the-land philosophy. 'It proves that you can restart the essence of something, ' he said." -- John Markoff, "The New York Times"

""Cool Tools" is a refreshing antidote to the hype that surrounds the latest hot gadgets. Unimpressed by newness for newness' sake, Kelly is attracted to objects that have withstood the test of time -- and is passing those ideas on to others. It's a habit he learned while editing and publishing the "Whole Earth Catalog", the bible of counterculture do-it-yourselfers who wanted in 'tools and ideas for the 21st century.'" -- Leander Kahney, "Wired News"

"Jeff Bezos is a fan of e-mail newsletters such as "Cool Tools", a compendium of technology tips and product reviews written by Kevin Kelly, a co-founder of "Wired"." -- Brad Stone, author of "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon"

"Cool Tools" has been featured in "Best of the Web" lists, such as the following:

- Forbes Best of the Web Directory
- Alltop - Gadgets
- New York Times Blogs 101 - Technology Toys & Cool Things

Praise for Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities
"What a knockout! Book of the year!"
-- Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons"
"When this fabulous, amazing, unputdownable book arrived at my studio I immediately spent two and a half hours in it, and then the next morning passed another three-hour stint of 'Wow -- look at this! I could do that!' This book is more exciting -- in both what it actually offers and what kind of life it suggests -- than anything I've read for a very long time. It's an outstanding achievement in every sense -- content, design, and quality.
-- Brian Eno, musician, artist
"Flipping through Cool Tools is a completely different experience from reading the same material online. Long live dead trees!"
-- David Pescovitz, "Boing Boing"
"If this doesn't solve some large part of your Christmas shopping challenges, you need a different set of people to whom you give Christmas presents. The book itself (a real print 463-page glossy-stock oversizer) is great either for young people starting a home, or geezers who are in touch with their youth who might want to be shocked and reminded why so much of their take-control-of-your-own-life life is the way it is, or somebody who just could use a striking coffee-table conversation-starter/stopper. And then there are the hundreds and hundreds of amazing things -- "tools" defined extremely widely and deeply as stuff that really works reviewed by people who've actually used them -- to give you more gift ideas."
-- Joel Garreau, "Washington Post," author of "Edge City and Radical Evolution"
"I don't know an adjective large enough to do it justice."
-- Michael Litchfield, "Fine Homebuilding"
"I love it. A worthy successor to the Whole Earth Catalog."
-- Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography"
"This is a roundup of over 1500 tool reviews with incredibly useful tips and how-tos covering just about everything you can imagine

Praise for "Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities"
"There is something magical in the book's juxtaposition of stuff, folklore and product reviews ..."
New York Times
"This may well be the greatest catalog of all-time..."
Engadget
"The result is something more than just a paper-bound list of awesome objects. It's a tool itself."
Wired
"This wonderful book is so much more than hardware and electronics however, this is 472 pages of inspired genius."
Time Out
"It's 460+ full-color pages of ear-to-ear grinning, hours of ooh-ing and aah-ing, and years of repetitive page-turning."
GeekDad
"It is like sitting with the old Sunday funnies, slowly poring over the colorful illustrations and finding surprises on every page."
The Joiner's Apprentice
"A real geek's geek-guide to tools."
American Design and Master-Craft Initiative
"Guaranteed you will want 4,000 things from this huge catalogue."
The Coast
"What a knockout! Book of the year!"
Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons"
"When this fabulous, amazing, unputdownable book arrived at my studio I immediately spent two and a half hours in it, and then the next morning passed another three-hour stint of 'Wow look at this! I could do that!' This book is more exciting in both what it actually offers and what kind of life it suggests than anything I've read for a very long time. It's an outstanding achievement in every sense content, design, and quality.
Brian Eno, musician, artist
"Flipping through Cool Tools is a completely different experience from reading the same material online. Long live dead trees!"
David Pescovitz, "Boing Boing"
"If this doesn't solve some large part of your Christmas shopping challenges, you need a different set of people to whom you give Christmas presents. The book itself (a real print 463-page glossy-stock oversizer) is great either for young people starting a home, or geezers who are in touch with their youth who might want to be shocked and reminded why so much of their take-control-of-your-own-life life is the way it is, or somebody who just could use a striking coffee-table conversation-starter/stopper. And then there are the hundreds and hundreds of amazing things "tools" defined extremely widely and deeply as stuff that really works reviewed by people who've actually used them to give you more gift ideas."
Joel Garreau, "The Washington Post," author of "Edge City and Radical Evolution""

"I don't know an adjective large enough to do it justice."
Michael Litchfield, "Fine Homebuilding"
"I love it. A worthy successor to the Whole Earth Catalog."
Walter Isaacson, author of "Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography"
"This is a roundup of over 1500 tool reviews with incredibly useful tips and how-tos covering just about everything you can imagine. On one page there will be a recommendation for a great truck (Toyota pickup) on another they'll be tips on learning how to swim properly (it's all about the stroke length). This is, without a doubt, my favorite book to come out in 2013."
Sal Cangeloso, "Geek.com"
"The Cool Tools book was sitting on the counter of the bar when an old boatbuilding friend stopped by and immediately became immersed in it. His exact words: "I GET this! There's no buttons to press!"
George Dyson, author of "Turing's Cathedral"
"Best coffee table books = size of coffee table. Kudos for the beautiful Cool Tools collection."
Scott McCloud, cartoonist
"Right now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 . . . just grab a copy of "Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities." It's 460+ full-color pages of ear-to-ear grinning, hours of ooh-ing and aah-ing, and years of repetitive page-turning. After it arrived at my door, I lost almost two full hours in its pages before realizing just how much time had elapsed . . . and this was me just skimming the various sections and randomly jumping from item to item. Since then, I've lost a few more hours as I've started to methodically tackle specific sections that are relevant to a few special projects that interest me (right now)."
James Floyd Kelly, "GeekDad"
"Most catalogs are short stories. This one is a catalog novel."
Mark Pauline, Survival Research roboticist
"Covering topics from hand tools to adhesives, organizational oddments, bicycles that double as chainsaws, beer brewing, mushroom growing, milling and fabricating, and so much more, it's enough to make your brain hurt with all the ideas for projects."
Michael Una, "Inventables"
"Bravo for this mega catalog. Back to the future!"
Steven Leveen, CEO founder of "Levenger's"
"I find myself not only flabbergasted at the size and extent of this achievement but happily awash in the feeling I used to get from the Whole Earth Catalogs; that all may not be right with the world, but that it could be."
Jim Woodring, illustrator and cartoonist
"The glorious Cool Tools is like my dream update of the Whole Earth Catalog."
Steve Silberman, "NeuroTribes"
"Multiple head asplosions on every page. Amazing!"
Mark Laidlaw, science fiction author
"Love you, Wirecutter, but we're breaking up while I work through this tome."
Luke Pebler, actor
""Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities" reminds me of the engineering catalogues I read at my grandfather's house."
Steve Remington, Chronicinfoholic.com"

About the Author

Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor from its inception until 1999. He is editor and publisher of the Cool Tools website, which gets half a million unique visitors per month. From 1984--1990 Kelly was publisher and editor of the Whole Earth Review, a journal of unorthodox technical news. He co-founded the ongoing Hackers' Conference, and was involved with the launch of the WELL, a pioneering online service started in 1985. His last book, What Technology Wants (Viking/Penguin October 18, 2010), asserted that technology as a whole is not just a jumble of wires and metal but a living, evolving organism that has its own unconscious needs and tendencies. He also authored the best-selling New Rules for the New Economy and the classic book on decentralized emergent systems, Out of Control. Kevin Kelly's website is kk.org.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Charles TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 31 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To best describe what this book is we need to understand the book that inspired it, the Whole Earth Catalog.
In 1968 Stewart Brand traveled around American hippie communes selling from his truck store. He put together a catalog of his recommendations of the best tools to show to customers "Here's a tool that will make drilling a well, or grinding flour easier", people liked the catalog so much it became his most popular product. The catalog had a massive effect on hippie culture as people used it to discover how to do things like raise bees or build their own homes.

When the internet came along the Whole Earth Catalog faded from view as you could get the same information off the net.
But Kevin Kelly (editor of book) kept the idea alive with a website and we now the modern successor in the form of Cool Tools.

The book itself is 472 pages and a massive 11 x 14 inches in size. It covers a huge range of subjects with over 1,500 recommendations in subjects such as tracking animals, chainsaws, rice cookers, making a low budget movie, world travel on a shoestring budget, build an underground home, ergonomic keyboards, websites with free eBooks, improve your memory, grow edible mushrooms, raise chickens, publish a eBook, wilderness survival, start a business, draw comics, make your own chair, best bike light, make books, solar panels and wind turbines, bread making, home brewing and far too many other things for me to list them all.

If I was to criticised this book I would say I don't agree with some of the choices, some recommendations will be outdated in a few years and to state the obvious it is just a catalog e.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a feast of tool delight! I had never heard of cooltools until someone mentioned this book in an Amazon review! So it's a website that features, reviews, reports and showcases tools, gadgets, new tech, how to's etc, etc. This book is a compilation of tools and LOTS of other stuff cooltools has shown on their website over recent years. The diversity of stuff is mind boggling, everything from hammers to bookbinding! As a complete tool geek fanatic I thought I knew of every tool worth knowing about but this book shows me otherwise, thankfully! I literally could not put it down! I went through it once, then had another pass with a note book to jot down all the stuff I just had to check out on line! Now I just keep going through my favourite sections to gorge some more! I was gratified to discover tools I already owned and highly regarded to be featured in it's pages, and motivated to mention some that weren't on the Cooltool website.
Even the actual book itself was, researched, compiled, produced and printed with techniques and technology featured within it.
Trust me, if you are a tool, tech, maker, trade, etc fanatic, you MUST have this book! If someone you know is, it's a great gift for them.
Most highly recommended!
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This is a great book which will give you and any like-minded visitors hours of happy browsing. Basically it's a compendium of the best of practically anything - website, tool, book, and so on. Curated from thousands of submissions, and published in a single large paper tome, it feels a bit overkill in some ways - after all, what's the Web for if not this? But actually you come across just dozens and dozens of things that you would never have found, and I felt instantly compelled to look them up and bought not a few!

One note is that this book is physically large. It's a coffee table book, and not going to fit on your bookshelf. All the better for that, but fair warning!
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I have bought 4 copies of this fantastic book for Christmas Presents because I rate the book very highly, in so much it has become a go to resource for information about items that I am interested in. The format provides an insight into a wide range of products, some of which I have bought on the opinion of the editor. Although the book is biased toward the USA, Amazon can provide some of the products. I also recommend this book because it gives you a glimpse into subjects you had never considered before. Purchase and lose yourself in a tremendous tome.
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Format: Paperback
“Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities” by Kevin Kelly is an incredibly funny book to read on which hours can be easily “lost” while reader is going through all the innovative reflections, ideas and suggestions that can be found on its pages.

The book contents are result of ten year user reviews experience published on website Cool Tools and contain countless reviews of things related to music, software, hardware, cooking, crafts and other, explaining their characteristics and advantages.

Like authors said on their site “…A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it… We only post things we like and ignore the rest…”

Of course, given the amount of information, it was impossible to put all or even most of things that can be found on website, but the authors carefully chosen the best ones, sorted them in categories and presented them in an oversized format together with QR codes which take reader to the product pages.

So if you have a lot of free time or you think you don’t, but will notice it's been a few hours since you took it in your hands, this book can be strongly recommended, because that amount of good information in one place is almost too dangerous.
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