How to Make Cool Stuff - Learn new skills, do a good job and embrace the Way of the Craftsman

9 ratings

NEW - How To Make Cool Stuff now comes bundled with FREE 50 Minute Masterclass

As well as this ebook and some other freebies, you'll get my 50-minute masterclass - Exploring Craft and Craftsmanship which I delivered as part of AionCon 2020.

Do you want to get in touch with the idea of making things well? 

I have to work and probably so do you. But consider this:

  • In trying to make a living, do you think we've lost touch with the idea of making things well? 
  • Have we lost touch with something that your grandparents knew? The idea of doing a job well for its own sake?
  • Has the factory environment of school and work disconnected our hands and head?

Do you want to know how to literally MAKE meaning in your life and the lives of others?

Does this sound familiar?

  • You want to feel comfortable designing and making cool stuff. 
  • You'd like to have something interesting going on and get a little obsessed with it. 
  • You'd like to have a hobby to settle into away from work. 
  • You're looking for an outlet for creativity.

If you answered yes to one or more of these, then you're just like I was a few years ago. 

Let me tell you this: 

You can learn a craft and make the nice things that you want to have. 

Embrace The Way of the Craftsman and change your life forever

In 1905 my great grandfather and his brothers started a business making cool stuff on the East Coast of Gisborne in New Zealand. 

My grandfather and father carried on this great tradition of making and building. And over a hundred years later, I rediscovered what they knew all along... the Way of the Craftsman. 

In 2016 I was in a high-stress job and I realised that, outside of work and family, I had no other interests. 

I was looking for a healthy distraction and some kind of creative outlet. I also knew that somewhere, back in what seemed like my distant past, I used to have hobbies and other interests. 

What happened after that changed my life, and my family, for good.

Making, building, creating ARE thinking and you can learn to do it

In this eBook I explore the idea of how making cool stuff, doing a good job and learning new skills all come together in the pursuit of mastery and craftsmanship. This is the Way of the Craftsman.

You'll find out:

  • how I got started learning the craft of leatherwork and making the things I always wanted, but could never justify buying.
  • That the Way of the Craftsman is be applicable to your own work, hobbies and projects. 
  • How the lessons I’ve learned along the way can help you in your own craftsmanship journey. 

Learning a craft provides you with a template for living in a world starved of meaning

My own experience has been learning the craft of leatherwork, but keep in mind the bigger picture… that this is about craft and craftsmanship.

You can apply what I’m talking about here to whatever craft you decide to lend your hand to. This includes what we think of as traditional crafts but also things that you might not think of as crafts. For example, parenting, teaching and coding are all crafts. 

We'll also look at some of the reasons why you should learn new skills that connect your head and your hands.

And we'll take a deep dive into the idea of craftsmanship, in the sense that aspiring to do a good job for its own sake, provides a kind of template for living in a world that’s increasingly starved of meaning.

The point here is that we - that you - need to get back in touch with something that we’ve lost. Something that we used to know... and this is the idea of making things well. 

Learning a craft is a path to mastery including self-mastery

We'll also explore how making, building, and creating is a path to mastery including self-mastery. And I'll to tell you how to get started. It’s not rocket science, but you might need to hear it.

In the last part, I unpack The Way of the Craftsman in more detail. And I suggest a whole range of different ways in which you can embrace craft and craftsmanship in your own life and forge order out of the chaos in your own life. 

I can't wait to share this with you...!

If you choose to you can live a more meaningful and satisfying life

You were born to create, build and make. If you're like I was, you've been denying this part of your very self. In this book, you will discover:

  • The five reasons why you should become a maker.
  • How craft and craftsmanship allow you to connect your head and your hands.
  • Why it's not enough to understand something intellectually.
  • How to choose to be a Maker rather than a beast of burden condemned to the drudgery of routine and the optimisation of efficiency.
  • The not so secret recipe for getting started.
  • What ancient poets have in common with modern Linux coders.

Explore 12 key ideas that will help you make cool stuff, do a good job and learn new skills

Come with me as we explore what it means to embrace the Way of the Craftsman including

  • Joining a community of makers
  • Seeking out and solving problems
  • Forming good habits
  • Becoming fully engaged with the world
  • Creating order out of the chaos
  • Choosing sides between the gods of craftsmanship
  • Recognising the spiritual authority of craft
  • Connecting head and heart
  • Learning how to learn
  • Learning to fail
  • Finding a teacher if you can
  • Returning to the workshop, the studio and laboratory

Embracing your creativity will change your life

If you're tired of sacrificing your creativity on the altar of economic pragmatism...

If you know you want to design and make cool stuff...

If you'd like to take a deep dive into a new skill, hobby or passion project...

If you'd just like to have a hobby and creative outlet away from work...

Then click I want this to get your hands on the book and start your very own journey to craftsmanship, increased personal happiness and a deeper connection with the world around you, now

REVIEWS - What people are saying about How to Make Cool Stuff

Magnificent esoteric and practical culture.

This corresponds to how my uncle escaped bolshevik/Cheka Latvia to become a master craftsman in the family business in America.

Can't praise the erudition and fun of this work highly enough. 

- @alanwittenberg3 on Twitter

The author nails an unrecognised malady in the modern human world

Most of what we do, make, or manipulate doesn’t feel real. 

Much of our creative work is in the world of transient pixels, mouse clicks, and digits. 

How to make cool stuff inspires the reader to return to creating something real, something lasting, something deeply enriching - craftsmanship as an adventure. 

Darn it! Despite my busy schedule, I find myself longing to make something, start a project, get some tools, hunt down materials, and partake in making something real, lasting, and meaningful. 

This is a cool book, but DO NOT read it unless you want to become aware of that little hole in your soul."

- Dr Damon Whitten  

He sets the tone for a mindset shift that will make your life much better

Mr. Smith is a craftsman. He deals with crafts, which is unfortunately a dying tradition.

Well, Mr. Smith wants to bring it back and explains in detail why he not only wants to bring it back, but also why it would be a good thing for humans to do crafts, even if only for a hobby.

He begins with an introduction. He’s from New Zealand and even throws in some Maori.

Then he goes into the why’s before getting into the how’s. If there is no why, then why should we even bother with the how? Right?

Mr. Smith is a leatherworker. But, he only uses leather as the example. You can apply this to any craft, whether you’ll be using this knowledge as your trade or as your hobby, or even a side business.

I enjoy how you get to know Mr. Smith. He gives a little bit of his family background, including even an ad they used in the early 20th century for the lemonade and carbonated drinks that they sold.


- I think it’s imperative to know the why’s. Mr. Smith nails this. I’m a composer first and an artist second for instance. I can write a book on why. Can you?

- Detailed enough to understand leatherwork but vague enough you can apply it to any trade, craft, or hobby

- Pictures! I like pictures. You get an idea of what you can do

- Create, not just consume. Mr. Smith goes into intense detail about the mindset shift that some people will have to make before they can really apply these lessons

- Structure. I’m actually not that good of a reader and I had no problem reading this book pretty fast. It’s not too complicated and there’s not too much technical jargon.

To improve:

- there’s only one thing I’d like to see more of, but then again, I’m wondering if this would require a whole different book. Mr. Smith barely touched the marketing aspect. So, you created good stuff. What do you do with it?


I think it’s a wonderful book for someone who’s even thinking of developing a craft, a trade, or even a hobby. He sets the tone for a mindset shift that will make your life much better. I strongly think that that’s something that’s missing today.

He also briefly touches on apprenticeship, which is yet another thing missing in today’s society. I like what I’ve accomplished so far in life, but if I actually had a mentor? Wow! The thought almost makes me sad.

If Mr. Smith’s book sells well and people take it seriously, I sincerely think we’d have a better world.

- @romanastral on Twitter

I want this!

You'll get this fantastic eBook on Craftsmanship by Smith Bros founder and leatherwork craftsman Graeme Smith AND you'll also receive:

FREE Smith Bros Leatherwork QuickStart Guide
FREE Smith Bros guide to Using Medical Scalpels for Craft and Leatherwork
FREE How to Make Cool Stuff Poster
FREE 50 Minute Video Masterclass on The Way of the Craftsman
FREE How to Make Cool Stuff Poster 2
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How to Make Cool Stuff - Learn new skills, do a good job and embrace the Way of the Craftsman

9 ratings
I want this!