Cool Tools (Kevin Kelly)

Kelly, Kevin (2013). Cool Tools: A catalog of possibilities. California: Cool Tools Labs. (Website at

Cool Tools is a cool book. Heavy (2 kg -- 45 pounds). Big (470 pages and 28 x 36 cm -- 11 by 14 inches). Comprehensive (over 1,500 tools.) All in color (which is one reason it is so heavy -- it is good quality paper).

I was about to write a glowing review, explaining how many hours I had wasted, um, enjoyed, perusing random entries.  But then the New York Times did it for me: David Carr wrote a great review.  (Danger, sometimes the Times seems to let people read these articles. Sometimes they make you register or pay.)

So let me simply say how much I enjoyed the book. It is a delight to pick up at random times in the day and to randomly open it up and start reading. As Kevin Kelly says: all these items are listed not because you should buy any of them, but because you might enjoy knowing that they exist. And I do.

Note too that this is a crowd-sourced book. So understanding how he put it together is also an enagaging learning experience. The book had to be printed in Hong Kong because no American printer could do it: not at that size page, not where every page is in color, and certainly not for this price. Another important skill damaged by the rush to outsource.

Cool Tools on