The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal- powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR.
DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.
Frauenfelder also reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating "alpha makers" leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights.
Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.
"The problem wasn't how much money we were spending, it was how we were spending our time. Did we really want to raise our kids in an environment of prepackaged diversions, theme-park rides, trips to the mall, freeway traffic, and incessant e-mails?" -from Made by Hand