Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

Posted by jack_miller | Published 6 months ago

With 465 ratings

By: Adam Savage

Purchased At: $15.70

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“An imperative how-to for creativity.” —Nick Offerman

Adam Savage—star of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters and one of the most beloved figures in science and tech—shares his golden rules of creativity, from finding inspiration to following through and successfully making your idea a reality.

Every Tools a Hammer is a chronicle of my life as a maker. It’s an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it’s also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you’re interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you.

Through stories from forty-plus years of making and molding, building and break­ing, along with the lessons I learned along the way, this book is meant to be a toolbox of problem solving, complete with a shop’s worth of notes on the tools, techniques, and materials that I use most often. Things like: In Every Tool There Is a Hammer—don’t wait until everything is perfect to begin a project, and if you don’t have the exact right tool for a task, just use whatever’s handy; Increase Your Loose Tolerance—making is messy and filled with screwups, but that’s okay, as creativity is a path with twists and turns and not a straight line to be found; Use More Cooling Fluid—it prolongs the life of blades and bits, and it prevents tool failure, but beyond that it’s a reminder to slow down and reduce the fric­tion in your work and relationships; Screw Before You Glue—mechanical fasteners allow you to change and modify a project while glue is forever but sometimes you just need the right glue, so I dig into which ones will do the job with the least harm and best effects.

This toolbox also includes lessons from many other incredible makers and creators, including: Jamie Hyneman, Nick Offerman, Pixar director Andrew Stanton, Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, artist Tom Sachs, and chef Traci Des Jardins. And if everything goes well, we will hopefully save you a few mistakes (and maybe fingers) as well as help you turn your curiosities into creations.

I hope this book inspires you to build, make, invent, explore, and—most of all—enjoy the thrills of being a creator.
I had low expectations and even those were not even met. If you have followed Tested at all then you know Adam is less a maker and more a buyer from people who actually make. Maybe that makes him qualified to write this book.
The book isn’t well written, boring and filled with moments of Adam patting himself on the back to make sure we all know how great he thinks he is.
My copy is going to the local library. Maybe the next reader will enjoy it more than I did.

- celia_cruz

I enjoyed this book for two reasons. First, it provides a fascinating insight into the mind of an accomplished maker. Adam shares, in often very personal ways, his journey through life so far--both the overall direction of a person compelled to make and obsess in an eclectic number of areas, and the happy circumstances, hard lessons, and unpredictable paths on the way. If you enjoyed the infectious enthusiasm you've seen on screen, you'll very much enjoy this aspect of the book.

But the main point of the book seems to be much more about encouraging the reader to act on their own interests and to create--to Make--in whatever field they find a deep connection with. As he puts it, it's permission to follow those interests down whatever rabbit holes they lead, that this is a positive thing we can do in our lives and not something to hide away. As well, it's about the tools and techniques that he's found useful in his making--from simple lists to custom-built tool boxes. A few of these are one-of-a-kind-Adam--and those are fun in exactly the way you can imagine--and in other cases he's describing his own take on some proven industrial practices (e.g., the 5S methodology of optimizing a workspace). There's even a section on what kind of glue to use for various materials, and why not to use glue in the first place.

You do not need to be someone who thinks of themselves as a "maker" to enjoy this book. But it seems like Adam's goal would be to give you a push towards following that geeky interest in the back of your mind, to find that family of like-minded people, and to help up the people who follow behind you. An excellent message, especially to young people.

- achilles_lopez

The book consists of overly long sentences and chapters that goes on forever, and the style of writing often feel more like Adam having a monologue, than him actually speaking to the reader.

The book is a mix between a biography and a self help book. Unfortunately it lands more on the former, and it's not well written nor structured. Jumping back and forth along the timeline as he sees fit.

With more attention to 'the message' and less attention to unecessary details and filler sentences, this could have been an inspiring book when it comes to the art of making. Unfortunately it is not.

In an audiobook format, this content may be more enjoyable, for me the book was a hit and a miss.

- pablo_adams

First, I must correct a bonehead error at the bottom of page 9: Savage identifies a resting object's tendency to stay at rest as the first law of thermodynamics. It isn't. It's Newton's first law of motion.

That said, I enjoyed this book immensely. I haven't been a make for some time, but I recognized the truth of his recommendations. He's made such cool stuff!

It's also a fast read. I got the book on Monday and finished it by Saturday. I'm surprised at the negative review that accuses Savage of not actually designing and building his creations. The reviewer must have been in a bad mood. Savage's message is honest, kind and positive. Read this book.

- zayn_green

If you're a fan of Adam Savage, this is a great read. Some history, some motivation, and some practical information regarding making.

Focused on fabrication (think cosplay or replica making,) Adam makes a point of saying that this book is good for ANY creative, whether they be artist or coder, welder or woodworker, foamsmith or chef.

Really inspirational, and really a nice look into the childhood and formation of a man as admirable as Adam.

- reece_castillo

Adam has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration, and has topped it all with his book. I grew up on mythbusters, watch every tested video, and love all of his work. If you've got the free time (you've got the free time if you're reading amazon reviews), pick this book up, sit down and read it! Also this book does in fact work as a hammer.

- layne_myers

I am not a fan of books but like this one.

- hadlee_evans

I didn't really know what to expect when I got this book in the mail, I hoped it would be fun the way Mythbusters was so fun, but I was blown away by how much I learned and how much I felt inspired to be creative. That doesn't come naturally to everyone, and the way Adam described how to give yourself permission to follow your obsessions opened my eyes in a way I never expected when I opened the book. I can't wait to give a copy to my cousin who is graduating from college and isn't sure what he wants to do next. I feel like a book like this could really help him and others who want to do creative things but don't know how.

- quincy_garcia

I, like many people have enjoyed (to an extent) Mythbusters and of course therefore know who Adam Savage is or rather who his media image is.

Because of that I bought this book on a whim and because of the glowing reviews. Mainly that he is an extraordinary maker of models and other things.

Well, I'm always interested in learning more from highly skilled people who can create something at the very least interesting.

But, there's a 'But.'

I'm an old school marine engineer - an ex Chief Engineer - and I work in the oil industry in offshore construction. I've built houses and have two workshops. My grandfather was a tool-maker and my uncle a fitter and turner in a shipyard. In fact my entire family for generations have been people who worked in heavy industry making things like ships, turbines and precision tools. It's in my blood.

And because of that I'm fascinated by the new wave of what I'm beginning to think of as a bit wishy, washy 'makers' movement.

We used to call it DIY or model making and the people who did it created steam engines, made train layouts, model boats or made incredible bits of furniture. Today to be called a 'maker' you pour a bit of multi-coloured paint on a spinning disc or knock out yet another Damascus knife.

What I'm getting to is that what I consider a 'maker' and what many of the new movement consider it to be are two different things. And that's where this book to me is a bit 'wet.'

I was hoping to learn a bit more about Adam and find out more about his work on movies. And, whilst there is some of that, much of this book is padding and revolves around the modern idea of what a 'maker' is.

To me a maker is someone who can do complicated stuff on machine tools or use a woodworking shop to create an incredible piece of furniture, or designing and fabricating a huge dynamically positioned offshore heavy lift ship.

Much of this boils down to how to make a model 'thing' and there are plenty of actual YouTube video's about that around. There was a lump of this book dedicated to designing and making a replica Blade Runner gun. This involved a whole section on how to make a list of things to do. Hmmm.

In the end I found this to be easy to read, moderately good but ultimately unsatisfying.

- louie_murphy

The premise of this book sounded good from the jacket description: clearly the author has made a lot of interesting things, and I was hoping for lots of examples, and practical tips. There are some in there, certainly, but I just couldn't stomach the pages and pages of pop-psychology, self-help style affirmations, and, above all the 'ME, ME, it's all about ME!' style of the book. I gave up after a couple of chapters.

- emery_bailey

This wasn't quite the book I expected. It's lighter on the technical detail than I thought it'd be, but has a lot more about the higher level "how" and "why" of making more generally. The autobiographical stuff is great. Adam's enthusiasm is infectious. He'd definitely be a great guy to have a beer with.

- melany_alvarez

I've been a fan of Adam's work for years. I first found him on YouTube with Tested and found his prop and costume videos especially inspiring; I love his passion for what he does and was eager to read in more detail about his creative journey and the process he uses while working.

This book delivered all that and more. Filled with funny anecdotes and hard won lessons of how to mess up and learn from your mistakes, Adam's book is a veritable Bible for any aspiring maker, whether you build, sew, foamsmith, woodwork, etc, this book is full of useful tips, tricks, and life lessons. I couldn't put it down!

- judith_rivera

I've been big fan of Adam for many years, from his Mythbusters days to Tested and his podcast. I do like his ethos to science, learning and being a maker. I wasn't sure what this book was going to give me. I've read it and enjoyed it, but I'm not sure it fully gave me what i was looking for. Which might be a bit tough of me for a review. I did pick up some tips for my maker life, and learnt some history about Adam. So a partial success.

- esmeralda_richardson

Amazing book! Even if You don't like books - this will make You keep on reading!

- arlo_thomas

This is an amazing book for the New maker in all of us. This has been very inspiring and has highlight pitfalls along the way. If you have seen or heard of Mybusters or Tested.com you will love this book.

- rayden_ward

Brilliant book, love Adam Savage and love reading about his views and options and recommendations can’t wait to finish it.

- paloma_alvarez

My new bible.

- hamza_king

The only problem with this perfect present was that it was duplicated! I am now stuck with a book I do not want. I could send it back but it will cost £4! Am going to advertise it on my neighbourhood facebook page and hopefully someone will want it

- thea_morgan

Seems like a nice guy and what he does is interesting but a bit too much focus on his own emotional history for my taste

- finnley_wilson

If your an Adam savage fan this is a must read. Wonderfully entertaining.

- cassius_james

Great condition, sent quickly. Recipient delighted.

- penelope_white

An absolutely inspiring read! For any creative/artistic person (myself being a musician), this is such an inspirational read!

- hunter_evans

This is a great book! It doesn’t tell you how to make anything, it suggests working practices that help any maker to organise their creative space, their time and their mind.

- roberto_miller

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