COOL TOOLS is a sprawling compilation of useful tool reviews that author Kevin Kelly and a thousand contributors wrote over a 10-year period on Kelly's blog of the same name. Every tool in this massive (472 pages, 11" x 14") collection was recommended by an avid tool user who actually used the tool. Every tool in COOL TOOLS is either the best, the cheapest, or the only thing that works.
As a former editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine, I thought I knew a bit about tools. Not anymore. Kelly and his crew have put together the most exhaustive, inventive and mind-bending selection of stuff I've ever seen. For starters, their definition of tools encompasses more or less every human activity on earth. So in addition to hand jacks that can raise 7000 lbs., the Teeny Turner (a pocket sized driver), portable band saws, and laser measuring tools, you can find the best source on how to buy a car cheaply, make a low-budget movies, brew your own beer, rear an optimistic child, design a logo, win a fight, soak in feral (!) hot springs, learn to swim efficiently, prepare for a natural disaster, vagabond the world, do something dangerous (and live to tell about it), run for local office and win, go solar on your roof, or (a great boon to Boomers) remember anything.
This list doesn't scratch the surface of what's in COOL TOOLS and that's one of the things that makes it so irresistible--you return to it again and again. Open it at random and you experience something like being six again, with a child's sense of delight and wonder at how clever people can be and what abundance this world holds. Like the Whole Earth Catalogue from 40 years ago, COOL TOOLS might just delight and empower a new generation of people who love learning--and doing. A most remarkable book.