Cool Tools has a review up for The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay and Neil Ardley, which has just been added to my wish list. The striking and explanatory illustrations show you how even very complicated things work in a simple and fun way.

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern ( is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • Brainiac27

    I was actually given one of the earlier editions for free by my school librarian. I had loaned it out so much, she decided I would put it to better use. The mammoth characters were always was a humorous addition to the diagrams.

  • Oliver

    This isn’t new!! :P
    I was given this by my EE PhD Dad as a ok-now-become-an-engineer-too book when I was 4 or 5.

    FanTASTic book though, truly.

  • Jordan

    I was actually able to meet and talk to David Macaulay at a book signing once. He’s a great guy.

    Also, the book really isn’t new. It’s been out for a while. Never gets old though.

    These books helped me become a maker. They are truly “maker” books.

  • sam

    … this is the reason I became an engineer. My wife recently gave me this “new” edition, since i have lost my original. i must admit, i got emotional.

  • troggy

    my younger brother at 11 checked this book out from the library. i liked it so much i begged my mom to get me a copy of the old version, purely for the sake of the original text and the 2 later removed pages( a nuclear power system layout i think and a mechanical parking meter). when i read the segment on clockwork, i was so immersed, i memorized the section and it’s gear ratios just so i could carve the exact setup (including pendulum and governor!) in arts and crafts at a month long summer camp. (keep in mind this was just over a year ago!)

    also, more recently, i went to a yard sale and picked up what was a fairly old door lock. what irked me though was someone had clearly taken it apart before me and tried to repair it, and ended up scattering pieces everywhere inside. thanks to that book, it works!

    the book itself has come with me everywhere i vacation, just in case i’m bored or something breaks.


  • jeff-o

    I was given the original version of this book when I was 8 or 9. I ate, slept and breathed it for years afterwards. If you have kids and want them to become engineers, slide this into their eager little hands!