America the Ingenious

American ingenuity isn’t new. Kevin Baker’s America the Ingenious: How a Nation of Dreamers, Immigrants, and Tinkerers Changed the World delves into some of history’s most important inventions of the past century or so by way of short vignettes of a few pages each. The 320 page book covers the Golden Gate Bridge, the telephone, the electric motor (and its importance for the New York City subway), the Panama Canal, the electric guitar, and 71 more, on top of exploring and hypothesizing on as to what makes America so proficient when it comes to innovation. The essays are accompanied by illustrations and are easily digestible in big numbers, making it a perfect coffee table book — if you can resist powering through.

Find it at Amazon – $24

GET IT: $24


Rocketbook Everlast Notebook

Could one notebook last you the rest of your life? If it had ten or twenty thousand pages, maybe. More practical though is Rocketbook’s Everlast Notebook. Couple the notebook with Pilot’s Frixion pens and you can write normally like on regular old paper. But grab a moist tissue or towel and the pages wipe completely clean, a bit like erasing a whiteboard. While the pages are made of a synthetic polyester blend they’re not glossy and feel completely natural to write on despite their near infinite reusability, though note that if ink is left on the pages for several months and then erased it may leave some very subtle ghosting behind. Rocketbook’s accompanying mobile app makes capturing and archiving your otherwise ephemeral notes as easy as snapping them with your smartphone’s camera, with instant image processing that crops and enhances the image and magic buttons at the base of each page that send it straight to the service of your choice, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Slack, and more.

Pledge for one at Kickstarter – $34

GET IT: $34


Klecker Knives Trigger Knife Kit

Teaching kids proper knife handling with a real, sharp knife is too little too late. Klecker Knives’ Trigger Knife Kit is a little more their speed. With all parts molded of plastic as part of a tray not unlike model airplanes kits, the knife must first be assembled from its ten pieces and includes a locking mechanism that keeps its “blade” safely locked open. All edges are rounded for safety and the surfaces are suitable for painting, if you’d like to make it look a little less monotone. Comes in a variety of colors and makes for a cool letter opener for adults, too.

Find it at Amazon in a wide range of colors – $13

GET IT: $13


National Geographic Infographics

National Geographic was first started in 1888. The world’s changed a lot over the ensuing 128 years, including the way we consume media, but one thing hasn’t: our ever-present desire to learn. And Taschen’s National Geographic Infographics contains some of the magazine’s best infographics over its 480 pages, spanning seven categories: Animal World, Being Human, History, Science and Technology, Space, The Planet, and World of Plants. Learn about Eastern Island statues, global warming, space exploration, the history of Hawaiian surfboarding, and of course much more with easily digestible bits of information accompanied by expertly devised imagery, one coffee at a time.

Grab a copy at Amazon – $70

GET IT: $70


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Take off your rose-colored glasses and see the world for what it really is: an imperfect place. At least that’s what The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life author Mark Manson would have you do. And hell, probably it’s worth a shot if the other self help reads on your shelves haven’t left a dent. His book drives the philosophy that improving our own lives necessitates a better way to cope with adversity rather than trying to spin it positively. He also advises us to get to know and accept ourselves — and our limitations — better and to figure out what really matters to us, because life is short and we can only focus on so much.

Grab a copy at Amazon – $15

GET IT: $15


Pacific & West Refillable Notebooks

No need to ever tear pages out or archive your Pacific & West Refillable Notebooks once they’re full. Instead, add or remove pages freely thanks to their modular discbound system that holds paper in place using metal rings. Available in three sizes, the notebooks also feature handsome two ply walnut covers made of real wood and come with paper that’s either plain, ruled, or with a dot grid.

Check out the whole collection at Pacific & West – $25+


Overview: A New Perspective of Earth

Few ever get to experience the overview effect, the feeling that comes from looking down on earth from up above. And if Google Earth isn’t cutting it grab a copy of Overview: A New Perspective of Earth, a tome inspired by the aforementioned phenomenon. This hardcover presents an extensive collection of landscapes shaped by humanity, captured from space in the form of high-resolution satellite photographs all around the planet. Terra-forming influences include architecture, agriculture, industrial, and many more, with each more beautiful and awe-inspiring than the last. Click through to the other images or sample Benjamin Grant’s Daily Overview Instagram account that started it all.

Grab one at Amazon – $25 [via]

GET IT: $25


Tools of Titans

The latest in Tim Ferris’ string of books is Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, a collection of tips, tools, tactics, and insider information collected from a large sample of highly successful individuals — including Arnold Schwarzenegger, the author of its foreword. The book’s contents are derived from the interviews of over 200 said people on The Tim Ferris Show podcast and distilled down from their answers to Ferris’ numerous questions on actionable activities, including their morning routines, their favorite books, their workout routines, and more. Of course Ferris isn’t one to dole out advice without some hands-on exploring and experimenting on himself so expect a hefty personal touch.

Find it at Amazon – $15+

GET IT: $15+


Care/of Vitamins & Supplements

Sifting through copious amounts of scientific literature — not to mention supplement-packed pharmacy isles — discourages most from both learning about and using natural products correctly. Care/of aims to help you make enlightened decisions regarding vitamins and natural supplements thanks to gentle guidance towards a combination of products suited to your specific needs as opposed to those of some arbitrary, average human. Their site first asks you roughly five minutes worth of questions to get a feel for what you might benefit from. Then, their algorithm suggests a personalized combination of daily supplements along with more detailed information on each one, an honest scientific analysis of the backing literature (ranging from emerging to very strong research depending on the supplement), and traceability with regards to harvesting and production practices. The end product is a good looking box that ships to your home every month and comes with thirty sachets, each filled with one day’s worth of vitamins and supplements.

Learn more at Care/of – $20+ per month

GET IT: $20+/month


Never Built New York

New York’s skyline is unlike any other. Still, it could have been very different, and Never Built New York revisits the Big Apple’s long list of could-have-been projects. The book covers nearly 200 proposals over the last two centuries for skyscrapers, bridges, transit systems, amusement parks, and many more that were never carried through for one reason or another. We’re glad plans to fill in rivers and extend the city didn’t make the cut, but it incites you to wonder about Frank Lloyd Wright’s master plan for Ellis Island and Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome design for the Brooklyn Dodger’s stadium.

Pick up a copy at Amazon – $41

GET IT: $41


Nervous System Infinite Galaxy Puzzle

Perhaps best reserved as a gift for your worst enemy, Nervous System’s Infinite Galaxy Puzzle is a bit unique as far as puzzles go considering it has no edges, no beginning, and no end. That’s because it maps out to the impossible shape of a Klein Bottle: that’s to say the pieces fitting on one side also fit on the other if you flip them over. It doesn’t help that the puzzle is adorned with a rather difficult-to-orient image of our galactic center snapped with the Hubble observatory, which is also continuous from one side to the other, making it completely impossible to ever complete the puzzle in its entirety since part of the image is behind the pieces. Fortunately it’s only made with 133 pieces, a few which include novelty pieces of an astronaut, a space probe, and a space shuttle.

Find it at Nervous System – $100

GET IT: $100


Clue: Star Wars Edition

You’ve probably got more copies of Clue than you can count on one hand. But if picking out the murderer from several comically-named, color-themed guests is getting old, try Clue: Star Wars Edition. This version of the game plays out on a miniature model of the Death Star where the characters — including Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO — try to instead figure out what planet is next on Darth Vader’s chopping board, which is the correct escape vehicle, and in which room the Death Star plans are hidden. So you basically already know how to play; it’s just the characters and settings that are a bit more familiar.

Grab one at Amazon – $34

GET IT: $20


Designed by Apple in California

Whether you own their products or not, it’s hard to dispute Apple’s mastery of product design. And Designed by Apple in California, a new hardbound book dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, chronicles the results of this work over the past two decades. The linen-bound tome bears a starkly minimal white exterior and is filled with 450 equally sparse photographs shot over an eight year period by photographer Andrew Zuckerman. Designs are represented as such; as a result, the book completely foregoes all details about the process of attaining these final iterations and are can instead be enjoyed as such. Available in two sizes, both including a foreword by Apple chief design officer Jony Ive.

Learn more at Apple – $200 to $300

GET IT: $200+