Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: Made by Hand, by Mark Frauenfelder

Have you ever made or fixed an item by yourself and felt the thrill of accomplishing something worthwhile with your own hands? Mark Frauenfelder says in his new book, Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, that you can experience this thrill all the time when you become a do-it-yourselfer (DIYer). Making things yourself allows you to “become more engaged with the world … in a meaningful way.”

So, what stops us from doing more things by hand? Lack of time is certainly a contributing factor. But, says Frauenfelder, the biggest mental obstacle we face is that “Most people loathe failing so much they avoid trying things that require pushing past their current abilities.” But, he’s found, we’ve been looking at mistakes in the wrong way. Mistakes “are not only inevitable -- they’re a necessary part of learning and skill building. Mistakes are a sign that you’re active and curious. In fact, recent brain research suggests that making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn.”

In Made by Hand, Frauenfelder decides to embrace the spirit of screwing up and embrace a lifestyle of doing things with his hands. In the book, he describes his adventures when he plants and maintains a garden, raises chickens for eggs, makes wooden spoons and musical instruments, and even becomes a beekeeper! What I loved about this book is that Frauenfelder isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes. And he makes plenty of them! But it’s fascinating to read what he learns from each one and how they only increase his desire to be a DIYer.

Another great thing about the author’s passion for a DIY lifestyle is that it’s become a family affair. Fraudenfelder’s wife and daughters sometimes roll their eyes at his latest endeavor, but they usually end up going along for the ride and finding that a DIY philosophy is meaningful and rewarding. If you’re feeling dissatisfied by our disposable, throwaway culture, I highly recommend that you read Made by Hand to discover “the joy of using your hands to build a richer, more meaningful life.”

Visit www.boingboing.net/madebyhand to learn more about Made by Hand and author Mark Frauenfelder. Pick up a copy while you’re there or click on the Amazon link below.

About the author: Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of the most popular blog in the world, boingboing.net, with more than 5 million unique visitors a month. He is also the editor in chief of Make magazine, the leading publication of the do-it-yourself movement. He has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show and The Colbert Report and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Popular Science, The Hollywood Reporter, CNN, and Business 2.0.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my candid review. No other compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission made on sales through the Amazon link at left.


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