General Purpose Tools

Cool Tools 2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Podcaster’s choice

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Favorite gift ideas from the guests of the Cool Tools Show

This month and next month, we are presenting a series of gift suggestions selected from the pages of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities (which itself makes a great gift), and from the website. This week: picks from our podcast guests.



“The Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine ($400) is, for me, the prosumer heavy duty sewing machine that won’t break the bank. There’s a specific foot for doing a surger stitch and I’m sewing with fur lately as part of a costuming thing and the fur requires a serger stitch for maximum strength.” — Adam Savage



Mushroom coffee is exactly what it sounds like. It is coffee with mushrooms in it. In this case, it has instant coffee, about 40 milligrams of caffeine in a full packet, which is very low. Generally speaking, a cup of espresso might have 80 milligrams. A really strong cup of coffee might have 150 milligrams. This is 40, but it’s combined with different types of mushrooms and substances. It has, in my case, a very profound cognitive effect. This has been something that I am using as a cognitive tool and just an experimental food right now, which I’m fond of.” — Tim Ferriss


How to Read a Book ($12), is a tool about different techniques and strategies for extracting the content of books. You’d think it was a lot simpler than that based on the title, but it really teaches you strategies that I think are great. I wish I had read it when I was in my first year of high school.” — Star Simpson



I tried the Vitamix 5300 Blender ($430) and the smoothie that I made — the world stopped and everything went dark and a spotlight went down on the smoothie. It was the best thing in the world. I was full. I was full all day. I had energy. I lifted a car off of a fire hydrant in the garage. It was amazing what I was able to do. It’s been the most amazing thing. … Anything blends in this.” — Dan Benjamin



“Something I love is my Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill ($26). It’s less than $30 and one of the things I really like about it is it’s quite a bit of work. It might not seem like a selling point but … I get more of a boost to my morning to making my coffee than I get from the coffee itself, and there’s also a meditative quality about it.” — Hugh Howey


Want more? Check out our other 2016 gift picks as well as our 2015 Gift Guide, 2014 Gift Guide and our 2103 Gift Guide

-- Mark Frauenfelder 11/28/16