Cool Tools Library

Help us build a library

In the past we’ve highlighted an astonishing array of useful books that covered topics ranging from bioremediation to underground home building to fermentation. These books are tools because they not only help us learn but also put knowledge to use.

Help us fortify our library of useful books by submitting your favorite text for a particular subject including an explanation of why you think it’s essential. We want to feature that dog-eared book that you wouldn’t lend to a friend for fear you wouldn’t get it back. It can be the best beginner’s guide, or a slightly more advanced technical manual detailing materials or techniques. If you can, please include scans of pages that we can use to illustrate the book’s content. This has been done before but never with any insight or explanation of what makes the book useful or cool.

What’s the essential book for carpenters? Metalsmiths? Landscape designers? Tailors or seamstresses? What about information design? Or sous vide? Tanning or taxidermy? Home brewing? Car repair? Bicycle frame building? The list goes on and on.

Every trade and hobby has their own bible, and we want to identify and collect them all in one place so that others may benefit.

Submit your recommendation (or request) here, post it in the comments below, or feel free to email it to

Examples of the kind of books we're looking for:
The only fly fishing guide you'll ever need: The Curtis Creek Manifesto
The mushroom forager's bible: Mushrooms Demystified
The best book on breadmaking: The Bread Baker's Apprentice
The essential cook book: How to Cook Everything
The ultimate bike repair manual: Barnett's Manual