Unlike the growing body of writings that belabor the romance and nostalgia of making things by hand, Craeft explores the history and meaning of the concept itself. In it, Langlands describes the concept through the lenses of several ancient crafts (of which he is an actual practitioner) and from his perspective as an experimental archaeologist. This book has the depth and intelligence of Richard Sennett's The Craftsman but with an historical scope that spans millennia.
Nick Offerman uses Gumption to tell the stories of the 21 historical figures who have inspired him to grow into the Ron-Swanson-esque human we all know and love today. Throughout the book he weaves historical anecdotes with light hearted humor to reveal hard truths such as the fact that it's incredibly unlikely that a young George Washington could have chopped down a cherry tree using nothing but a hatchet and an abundance of youthful energy. It's a fun, thought provoking read that finds a way to draw parallels between seemingly unlikely bedfellows, like Ben Franklin and Yoko Ono. Plus, this book is heartily loved and endorsed by every member of P&T — so read it already!
Couched in a long and uncomfortable narrative, this book conveys probably the best description of Quality I've ever read. For better or worse, you can't just skip to the quality part. It's part of the ride.
Good products teach their user how to use them. For books — traditional teaching tools — the bar for great teaching is higher. In addition to providing a fantastic written guide to making traditional and modern sails, including the fundamentals of sail design, broad-seaming, and sewing, this book guides the reader through a "Ditty Bag Apprenticeship" during which he/she completes a simple project that conveys many of the basic skills.
This book puts into words thoughts that every designer has had around the subject of interconnectivity and elevates them to include science, art, religion... everything. It's typical E.O. Wilson brilliance but applied to an idea that will change the way you think about design.
This shiny little book provides ten easily digestible guidelines around Maeda's philosophy of simplicity in product design. It serves as a great reminder (and loaner) for those of us who sometimes find it difficult to describe to others the beauty and benefits of simplicity. I've lent this to students more than any other book. (That is, I've had several copies.)
A comprehensive and accessible book on the subject of Tenkara fly fishing. Like the philosophy that underpins many of the books in this list, Tenkara celebrates the idea that "the more you know, the less you need." In this short text, Yvon Chouinard unpacks this simple fishing technique and the tools and techniques that make it beautiful.