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Big Book of Awesome!
on 31 March 2014
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If I was to criticised this book I would say I don't agree with some of the choices, some recommendations will be outdated in a few years and to state the obvious it is just a catalog e.g your not actually going to learn how to build a underground home from the catalog, it just tells you some of the basics and recommends a book for further details.
It is easy to see why the hippies loved the Whole Earth Catalog so much, it is incredibly inspiring to think you can do all this stuff and this modern version is just as great, so go get it now!