Book Review – The Maker Movement by Mark Hatch

This book got me so excited about the opportunities available for making stuff, inventing new things, and starting your own business.

The Maker Movement Book Cover

The Maker Movement Book Cover

It is mostly a book of anecdotes about projects people have done at Techshop and business that have been created.  Some were by design, some were by accident.

The main point of the book is that never before has so much power been in the hands of normal people (Not just big business with big bucks).  There is software that does incredible stuff that used to be done manually or not at all.  Machines are cheaper than ever before.  Combine the two and add creative people and watch what their imagination can create.

Another main point is that more is created when people get together to form communities, and that by sharing what we do and what we know so much more can be accomplished than if everybody tries to hoard their knowledge and abilities.

The author is the CEO of Techshop.  There are 8 of them in the country.

San Carlos, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Allen Park, MI (Detroit)
Austin-Round Rock
Chandler, AZ
Arlington, VA (Washington, DC)

Two more are in the works:
St. Louis , MO
Los Angeles, CA

Techshop is a pretty amazing place with so many tools all in one place.  The great thing is that once you join you have access to all of them.  Of course you have to take a basic use and safety class per machine but then you can make whatever you want on it. Unfortunately each class is around $60, so actually getting to use all the machines could end up costing quite a few bucks. Even so, the machines!  Laser cutters, 3D printers, injection molders, vacuum forming system, computer controlled cutting machines for wood & metal, water jet cutter, welding, industrial sewing machines, full electronics workbench, bicycle shop.  Anything a budding inventor (or expert ones too) could want.

I’m fortunate that one is not that far away from me (DC-Arlington).  I took a tour last Friday and enjoyed it so much I joined this weekend.  Now my only problem will be finding time to go and do stuff!




Book Review – Into the Storm – by Dennis Perkins

Book Cover - Into the Storm by Dennis  Perkins

Book Cover – Into the Storm by Dennis Perkins

This excellent book is really two stories.

The first is a fascinating look at the 1998 Sidney-Hobart sailboat race.  Due to a storm that built bigger than expected, of the 115 boats participating only 44 reached the finish line.  A boat was sunk and others abandoned. Twenty-five sailors were washed over board and seven died. Fifty-five sailors were rescued. It was the largest sea rescue in Australian history.  The story is told well, and lets us experience the storm from the perspectives of many sailboat crews, rescue personnel and family at home, not just the winning boat.

The second is a leadership guide that takes lessons from the experiences of the sailing teams, with an emphasis on the winning boat.  Lessons like the importance of team unity, skill, competence, preparation and relentless learning.

The author even sailed a later Sidney-Hobart race to experience first hand what a long open ocean race was like.  I’m sure that helped him tell the story so well.

The entire book is well done and held my attention from start to finish.  I’ve taken up the bad habit of starting a book on my tablet on Friday evening, and staying up all night reading it till I finish.   This was no exception, and I got to see the sun come up as I was finishing.

I’m reading a lot of books since I discovered our local library lets me check out e-books on my tablet.  If you haven’t tried it, do it!  If you like to read at all (which I very much do) you will find out that a tablet combined with your local library can bring an amazing amount of free knowledge and enjoyment to you for absolutely no cost. (Of course the tablet costs, but you can get a good one of those for about $100 and you’ll make that back by borrowing 5 or so books instead of buying them)

Happy reading!