For the record, I haven’t finished Every Tool’s A Hammer yet, but I’m 99% sure the remaining 2/3 of it is not going to change my thoughts.
I loved the original Mythbusters, as well as the recent Mythbuster’s Junior (I hope there is more of that). So naturally, I decided I wanted to read Adam Savage’s new book. You can tell it’s his voice, but it’s not nearly as entertaining to follow in print as it is in performance/action. The book can’t decide if it’s a self-help/how-to manual, biography, memoir, motivational book, or collection of anecdotes. It’s fun and interesting to watch Adam’s simultaneous high energy ping-ponging all over the workshop and intense focus on a single project; that energy does not translate well to print. Everything is watered down, disorganized, and sometimes incomplete.
The book is organized by sections, defined by themes like the importance of the lists (and how to use them effectively), the importance of creativity and being able to indulge it from a young age, the importance of organization and mise en place, and controlling the process by being deliberate (complete with coolant metaphor which is thankfully at least partially explained). I agree with the principles at work here, but this stuff is more self-help than science because of the generic nature of the tone and the half-told anecdotes that vary widely from young Adam growing up to young professional at Industrial Light and Magic to Mythbuster. Then there’s the self-help/motivational jargon like “knolling” and “Making” (note the capital ‘M’), which I have a distaste and distrust of, even if the principle is sound, and if you’re going to bait me with a brief discussion of your love for cosplay, why don’t you tell me something concrete about it?!
There is so much potential for both information and entertainment here, but it’s wasted on a book that can’t decide what it wants to do or be. This could have been 2-3 really good books (how to do cool science things & biography/memoir), and maybe another one I wouldn’t read (that’s be the motivational/self-help one). Maybe I should have paid more attention to the subtitle “Life is What You Make It” because this seems to be more descriptive of the book. Maybe the rest of the book will change my mind. If so, I’ll update, but I’m not holding my breath on the need to do that.