When Kevin Kelly’s published Cool Tools, his giant “catalog of possibilities” five years ago, it immediately became our favorite catalogue. It still is. Kelly culled the best reviewed tools, books and ideas from his website of the same name and formed them into a big softcover catalogue book. Its descriptions are literary, its selection attuned to creative minds. We find it relaxing to read while it makes our brains sparkle in unexpected ways.

Says Kelly:

The best way to use this is to browse and to discover tools you didn’t know exist. With the right tool you can invent new things.

Although it’s still in print for $40, and cheaper used, Kelly has made it available as a pdf for just $3.99.

For Kelly, the large-scale layouts allow you to scan across a variety of things at once and make unexpected connections and associations.

Here’s a fine overview of Cool Tools, and its deep roots in the visionary Whole Earth Catalogue:

Cool Tools runs a wild gamut from Personal Finance to the concept of Good Enough. We find that it is a welcome gift that many different kinds of people delight in.

And its an excellent manual for people of any age trying to navigate the world: a guide that would show them the things that are possible in life.

Here’s a sampling of some of the ‘topics” you’ll find in Cool Tools:

We especially love Kelly’s motivation for making the book:

I made it for my three children. I wanted to give them a book that when they left home and they were on their own, they would have a guide that would show them the things that were possible in life. It would equip them to do almost anything they wanted to do. It’s a catalogue of possibilities.

If you open it up, I am sure you will find something that you didn’t know, that was useful, that would help you to do something maybe you never imagined doing

You don’t need to buy anything in this book; you just need to know they exist. And that these possibilities exist.

You can buy the analogue Cool Tools here; and the PDF here.

With thanks to Susan Dworski!!

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