Recomendo: 500 Brief Reviews Of Cool stuff is an anthology of useful tips from the “Cool Tools” website. Cool Tools is the brainchild of Kevin Kelly who was the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine and the former publisher of the Whole Earth Review. They publish a free weekly email newsletter called Recomendo – the Recomendo book is a compilation of the best 500 cool things!
The Cool Tools mission is to bring Whole Earth ideas to the masses and by and large it does an admirable job of making the eco-friendly, sustainable life seem more attractive and easier to get a hold of.
It is worth noting, however, that their contributors are very much of a technology bent and that means this collection of awesome tips may be a little tech heavy for some readers.
You can find interesting bits on photos, videos, travel, podcasting, etc. more than you’ll find things on health, wellness, gadgets, etc. (though that doesn’t mean they don’t cover the latter areas, they just do it less often than we’d have liked). If you prefer your cool tools in video format then check out the Cool Tools Youtube channel.
Here’s Kevin Kelly at Maker Faire talking about his other book based on his site Cool Tools:
Why Buy Recomendo?
The crux of the matter is why should you buy this book when so many of these tips are online on the Cool Tools site?
Well, we think there’s a definite pleasure in having a book to hand when you do something practical. Squinting at a screen just isn’t as helpful.
Every week for the past two years we briefly recommend 6 things to our friends in free email newsletter called Recommendo. This book features the “best of” those recommendations. Sometimes we suggest tools, but most items aren’t tools. Rather we recommend stuff such as our favorite places to visit, things to watch or listen to, favorite stuff to eat, as well as tips for work or home, and techniques we’ve learned, quotes we like to remember, and so on. This autumn we collected, filtered and organized 550 of the best recommendations and put them into a book, called naturally enough, Recomendo. The book is 95 jam-packed pages. We’ve categorized the recommendations, grouping like with like. Having all the workflow tips, or household suggestions, or workshop tools, or travel recommendations all in one place is super handy. There’s an index and subject guide. Many of the items have an illustration. To make up for the fact that a book can’t have links, we’ve added QR codes, so you can instantly get a link with your phone. Everyone who has picked the book up has found something cool for them on the first page and they keep turning the pages for more.
Given that almost everything in the book needs you to take some action to make it useful – we think you’re going to want to be able to pick up the paper copy to get things done right.
One thing we really liked is the addition of QR codes to the tips so you can find materials, sites, etc. very easily when you need them too.
Here’s one of our favorite reviews of Recomendo we found on the Interweb: “I’m somewhat in awe of anyone who can recommend six things a week for any protracted period of time. I think I can tentatively recommend water and possibly spinach. I think.“
So, our final thoughts on Recomendo? We “recomendo” it!