Kevin Kelly

Kevin Kelly

Cool Tools
A Catalog of Possibilities



Cool Tools is a highly curated selection of the best tools available for individuals and small groups. Tools include hand tools, maps, how-to books, vehicles, software, specialized devices, gizmos, websites -- and anything useful. Tools are selected and presented in the book if they are the best of kind, the cheapest, or the only thing available that will do the job. This is an oversized book which reviews over 1,200 different tools, explaining why each one is great, and what its benefits are. Indirectly the book illuminates the possibilities contained in such tools and the whole catalog serves an education outside the classroom. The content in this book was derived from ten years of user reviews published at the Cool Tools website,


Introducing a Catalog of Possibilities: Cool Tools 

 "The Whole Earth Catalog was a bible for DIYers in the last century. Cool Tools is the same for this century. Here is what you can expect from this huge oversized book.

Editorial Reviews

"There is something magical in the book's juxtaposition of stuff, folklore and product reviews ..." -- New York Times

"This may well be the greatest catalog of all-time..." -- Engadget

"The result is something more than just a paper-bound list of awesome
objects. It's a tool itself." -- Wired 

"This wonderful book is so much more than hardware and electronics however,
this is 472 pages of inspired genius." -- Time Out 

"It's 460+ full-color pages of ear-to-ear grinning, hours of ooh-ing and
aah-ing, and years of repetitive page-turning." -- GeekDad 
"It is like sitting with the old Sunday funnies, slowly poring over the colorful illustrations and finding surprises on every page." -- The Joiner's Apprentice

"A real geek's geek-guide to tools." -- American Design and Master-Craft Initiative 
"Guaranteed you will want 4,000 things from this huge catalogue." -- The Coast 

Praise for Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities 

"What a knockout! Book of the year!" 
-- Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons 

"When this fabulous, amazing, unputdownable book arrived at my studio I immediately spent two and a half hours in it, and then the next morning passed another three-hour stint of 'Wow - look at this! I could do that!' This book is more exciting -- in both what it actually offers and what kind of life it suggests -- than anything I've read for a very long time. It's an outstanding achievement in every sense -- content, design, and quality. 
-- Brian Eno, musician, artist

"Flipping through Cool Tools is a completely different experience from reading the same material online. Long live dead trees!" 
-- David PescovitzBoing Boing 

"If this doesn't solve some large part of your Christmas shopping challenges, you need a different set of people to whom you give Christmas presents. The book itself (a real print 463-page glossy-stock oversizer) is great either for young people starting a home, or geezers who are in touch with their youth who might want to be shocked and reminded why so much of their take-control-of-your-own-life life is the way it is, or somebody who just could use a striking coffee-table conversation-starter/stopper. And then there are the hundreds and hundreds of amazing things -- "tools" defined extremely widely and deeply as stuff that really works reviewed by people who've actually used them -- to give you more gift ideas." 
-- Joel GarreauWashington Post, author of Edge City and Radical Evolution 

"I don't know an adjective large enough to do it justice." 
-- Michael LitchfieldFine Homebuilding 

"I love it. A worthy successor to the Whole Earth Catalog." 
-- Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

"This is a roundup of over 1500 tool reviews with incredibly useful tips and how-tos covering just about everything you can imagine. On one page there will be a recommendation for a great truck (Toyota pickup) on another they'll be tips on learning how to swim properly (it's all about the stroke length). This is, without a doubt, my favorite book to come out in 2013."
-- Sal Cangeloso,

"The Cool Tools book was sitting on the counter of the bar when an old boatbuilding friend stopped by and immediately became immersed in it. His exact words: "I GET this! There's no buttons to press!" 
-- George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral 

"Best coffee table books = size of coffee table. Kudos for the beautiful Cool Tools collection." 
-- Scott McCloud, cartoonist 

"Right now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200... just grab a copy of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. It's 460+ full-color pages of ear-to-ear grinning, hours of ooh-ing and aah-ing, and years of repetitive page-turning. After it arrived at my door, I lost almost two full hours in its pages before realizing just how much time had elapsed... and this was me just skimming the various sections and randomly jumping from item to item. Since then, I've lost a few more hours as I've started to methodically tackle specific sections that are relevant to a few special projects that interest me (right now)." 
-- James Floyd KellyGeekDad 

"Most catalogs are short stories. This one is a catalog novel." 
-- Mark Pauline, Survival Research roboticist 

"Covering topics from hand tools to adhesives, organizational oddments, bicycles that double as chainsaws, beer brewing, mushroom growing, milling and fabricating, and so much more, it's enough to make your brain hurt with all the ideas for projects." 
 -- Michael UnaInventables 

"Bravo for this mega catalog. Back to the future!" 
-- Steven Leveen, CEO founder of Levenger's 

"I find myself not only flabbergasted at the size and extent of this achievement but happily awash in the feeling I used to get from the Whole Earth Catalogs; that all may not be right with the world, but that it could be."
-- Jim Woodring, illustrator and cartoonist 

"The glorious Cool Tools is like my dream update of the Whole Earth Catalog." 
-- Steve SilbermanNeuroTribes 

"Multiple head asplosions on every page. Amazing!" 
-- Mark Laidlaw, science fiction author 

"Love you, Wirecutter, but we're breaking up while I work through this tome." 
-- Luke Pebler, actor 

"Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities reminds me of the engineering catalogues I read at my grandfather's house." 
-- Steve Remington,


Geek Mom, June 23, 2014
"Cool Tools: Make Things, Figure Out Things, Do Things Better," Laura Grace Weldon 

A Playful Path, April 3, 2014
"Toolness and Coolness," Bernard De Koven

Aspen Daily News, March 15, 2014
"Explore Booksellers Staff Pick: Cool Tools," Mark Billingsley

Public Intelligence Blog, March 14, 2014
"Review: Cool Tools -- A Catalog of Possibilities," Robert Steele 

The Coast, February 20, 2014
"Cool Tools," Jane Kansas 

Wired: Gadget Lab, January 24, 2014
"Your Guide to the Weirdest, Most Wonderful Things in the World," Robert Baldwin

American Printer, January 8, 2014
"Everyone Loves This Book of Cool Tools Which Proves That Print Rules," Katherine O'Brien

New York Times, January 5, 2014
"Print Starts to Settle Into It's Niches," David Carr

Dezeen, January 9, 2014
"Opinion: Justin McGuirk on Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools," Justin McGuirk 

Wired, January 2014
"Cool Tools: A Catalog of Everything and More," Peter Rubin, January 2014
"Cool Tools (Kevin Kelly)," Don Norman

Kirkus Reviews, December 26, 2013
"Filling the Tool Chest," Gregory McNamee

Slate, December 20, 2013
"A Compendium of the World's Coolest Tools," Kristin Hohenadel 

The Shed, December 20, 2013
"Gift for the DIYer: The new Cool Tools book is Perfect!," Laura Kuhlmann

VICE, December 17, 2013
"Things That We Might Put In Our Cart," Motherboard

Engadget, December 7, 2013
"Recommended Reading: Cool Tools review," Brian Heater

Mother Earth News, December 6, 2013
"Homesteading Tools Sensational: A Book Review of Kevin Kelly's 'Cool Tools,'" Lloyd Kahn

Fast Company, December 4, 2013
"Cool Tools: A Whole Earth Catalog for the Post-Internet Era," Rebecca Greenfield 

The Joiner's Apprentice, December 3, 2013
"[Review] Cool Tools" 

Geek Dad, November 26, 2013 
"The Perfect Gift for Every Tool Lover - Cool Tools," James Floyd Kelly 


Reason, March 2014 
"Cool New Tools"

The New Yorker, January 13, 2014 
"A Critic at Large: Making It," Evgeny Morozov

more normal than not, January 11, 2014
"turning pages," Peter Rorvig

relaxshacksDOTcom, January 8, 2014
Derek Diedricksen, January 6, 2014 
"Cool Tools book a sleeper hit," Jason Kottke

A Dress A, January 6, 2014 
"A Very Dangerous and Worthwhile Book: Cool Tools," Erin McKean

la Repubblica, January 2014
repubblica cool tools.jpg

Tinkerlab, December 2014
"This Year's Best Art and Creativity Books for Kids", December 22, 2013 
"The 'Tools' of the Design Trade," Jim Jacoby

Make, December 17, 2013 
"2013's Notable Maker Books," Brian Jepson

FabLab, December 15, 2013 
"Whole Earth Catalog -> Cool Tools," Bart Bakker

Make, December 6, 2013 
"Cool Tools: Sharing our Favorites," Michael Colombo

Wirecutter, December 3, 2013
"The Gifts We Want to Give in 2013," Wirecutter Staff

Interviews about the book 

Glenn Fleishman, Boing Boing, Feb. 13, 2014
Transcript in The Magazine on Medium

Kara Miller, Innovation Hub, January 17, 2014

Host: Rob Ferrett, Central Time, December 27, 2013

Interview by Ben Johnson, Marketplace Tech, December 25, 2013

Interview by Leo Laporte, TWiT, December 18, 2013

December 11, 2013

Interview by Nick Bilton, Bits, December 10, 2013

Interview by Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing, Oct. 23, 2013 


"Cool Tools for the Maker," Bay Area Maker Faire 2014

Praise for previous editions of Cool Tools 

 "Cool Tools is what the Whole Earth Catalog always wanted to be." 
-- Peter Schwartz, futurist, Salesforce 

 "Stewart Brand said that Cool Tools had captured the spirit of the Whole Earth Catalog but without taking on a counterculture and back-to-the-land philosophy. 'It proves that you can restart the essence of something,' he said." 
-- John MarkoffNew York Times 

 "Cool Tools is a refreshing antidote to the hype that surrounds the latest hot gadgets. Unimpressed by newness for newness' sake, Kelly is attracted to objects that have withstood the test of time -- and is passing those ideas on to others. It's a habit he learned while editing and publishing the Whole Earth Catalog, the bible of counterculture do-it-yourselfers who wanted in 'tools and ideas for the 21st century.'" 
-- Leander KahneyWired News 

 "Jeff Bezos is a fan of e-mail newsletters such as Cool Tools, a compendium of technology tips and product reviews written by Kevin Kelly, a co-founder of Wired." 
-- Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon 

Cool Tools has been featured in "Best of the Web" lists, such as the following: 

• Forbes Best of the Web Directory 
• Alltop - Gadgets 
• New York Times Blogs 101 - Technology Toys & Cool Things


This site operates under a Creative Commons License.


($28 street price)
Paperback, 472 pages
11x14 inches
ISBN-13: 978-1940689005