Every Tool’s A Hammer: Life Is What You Make It by Adam Savage is a biographically centered love letter to making. More generally, creating. Though he focuses mainly on crafting things like movie props, cosplay armor, and mechanisms used in commercials or movies, much of what he discusses can be applied to any craft. To put it simply, seeing his enthusiasm for making will inspire you to create whatever it is you may be waiting to make.
This book came out just last year (2019) and my interest primarily comes from the fact that I watched Adam on Mythbusters when I was growing up. By growing up, I mean while I was in high school. I loved the show because they were testing a lot of movie myths and pretty much confirming or denying the plausibility of what we thought we knew or were led to believe. I’ve always loved movies and around that time I was really into the sciences and wanted to know more about how things worked. The show was fun, nerdy, entertaining, and informative. Everything I was looking for and now I really want to go back and rewatch some episodes.
I listened to the audiobook as read by Adam Savage himself. It is mixture of autobiography and craft similar to Stephen King’s book On Writing except about building instead of writing. It was interesting to get more information about Adam as well as several behind-the-scenes stories about his time on Mythbusters or working on Star Wars while working at Industrial Light & Magic. We get to see how his career developed and evolved and we get to learn about how seemingly wondrous things were made simply out of passion and basic materials.
This book is not only about making or building, it is also about Adam’s journey to self-understanding. Through his years, he learned vital lessons about the craft but also about his own behavior and preferences when working on his craft and with his team or colleagues. He discusses his failures and successes. One early failure proved a vital lesson to him that I think everyone needs to be reminded of from time to time; it is okay to ask for help. On the other end, he delves into things he learned from mentors that helped him influence and manage his own team.
This is, of course, also a book that is great for anyone interested in making their own stuff. Be it a replica of a favorite movie prop or designing a cosplay outfit. He talks about different key components to any maker’s space and use of tools or materials. You can definitely learn a lot, as I did, about making. I have always toyed with the idea of making props for myself but have never followed through. I’m sure I will eventually because that desire is always there.
Again, Adam’s story and information is a great resource for all makers, but also for all creators. His passion is inspirational. His stories are reminders that you don’t necessarily need to know what you are doing to begin a project. Everyone has their own methods, and sometimes knowing your method can make it easier to plan the project to fit your needs. Never lose your spark of creativity. If you can, try to make sure you always have fun along the way.