Dec 292013

Makers coverMakers is the third book by Chris Anderson.

Like its predecessors, Long Tail and Free, Makers tackles a subject on the cusp of mainstream and provides an enlightening view on a multi-faceted topic.

The subject is the rebirth of do-it-yourself culture and its implications on design, manufacturing and life in general. Headlining the highway to self-manufacturing is the advent of cheap and reliable 3D printing, but that is by no means the only driving factor.

The author does a good job concretizing the potentially very vague subject with two examples: his grandfather’s idea on lawn sprinkler improvements, and his own on drones. Especially the latter is insightful in showing what it takes to bootstrap a new industry.

Even if some of the tools of the trade are evolving at a pace that renders this book’s descriptions obsolete, most of them have been with us a long time and are not metamorphosing into something wilder (such as CNC routers), and as such Makers will serve as an introductory book for a long time. Some of the concepts (like crowdfunding) are new arrivals, and the author tends to be overly optimistic about their longevity. The same enthusiasm permeates most of the book, fortunately he doesn’t push personal manufacturing as a solution to all possible problems.

In comparison to both of his earlier books, Makers is shallower. That’s hardly unexpected – there’s plenty more ground to cover here. Then again, I didn’t expect more than an introdction in two hundred-ish pages.

Makes didn’t prod me into experimenting with manufacturing, but it sure provides a nice starting point should the itch ever appear.

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