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Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0500516768
ISBN-10: 0500516766
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One World Trade Center: Biography of the Building by Judith Dupré
"One World Trade Center" by Judith Dupré
The definitive book about One World Trade Center--the tallest building in America--by the author of the iconic bestseller Skyscrapers. Learn more
$20.23 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In stock on May 31, 2016. Order it now. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living
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Total price: $50.65
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A new book full of gorgeous and meticulously organized photographs of old school and modern tech broken down and laid bare.” (The Huffington Post)

“The photos are enjoyable as pure eye candy, but they also illustrate the history of modern manufacturing.” (Wired.com)

“McLellan’s photographs seek to challenge our disposable culture by making transparent all the things that we regularly throw away.” (NPR Picture Show)

“A geeky adoration of design, disassembly, and tinkering.” (Publishers Weekly)

“. . . 50 disassembled classics of mechanical and electronic design, with the components first arrayed in formal order and then in midair freefall.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Fifty objects and 21,959 components later, Mr. McLellan is still disassembling objects.” (Florida Weekly)

“This fascinating book showcases unique photos of 50 design classics in a dismantled, meticulously rearranged form―including an iPad, grand piano and an espresso machine.” (FrontiersLA.com)

“Truly unique.” (Woman Around Town)

About the Author

Todd McLellan is a Toronto-based photographer who specializes in automotive, commercial, and conceptual work.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1 edition (May 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500516766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500516768
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.7 x 13.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Graves on May 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you have ever seen good exploded-view diagrams, the best of which are found usually in color visual dictionaries, you will be amazed by this book. These are not diagrams, they are color photographs of painstakingly disassembled iconic objects such as the iPad, the SLR camera (both a 1973 version and a 2012 DSLR), a Blackberry, a chainsaw, an early 1980s Walkman, a 1980s Raleigh 10-speed bike, an early Apple Macintosh (the cover photo), a 1960 blender, and much more.

The photographs of the disassembled objects, laid flat, are fascinating in themselves: often you cannot even tell what the object is from looking at an array of hundreds of parts. But the truly stunning photography is of the same objects actually "exploding" on the page: the author/photographer actually captured each part in mid-air, then combined all of these stills to make a VERY realistic photo of an early Macintosh computer, for example, exploding in mid-air. These are mind-blowing photographs - accomplished by what must have been an incredible amount of work.

The masterpiece of the book is an entire airplane, the Zenith CH-650, disassembled and displayed in a 3-page foldout.

There are 50 objects in all, each with the flat layout photo and the 'exploded' photo. The number of parts for each object is also included. At the back of the book there are four essays on topics related to the disassembly of objects. The great value of the book, however, is in its photography: nothing less than spectacular.
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Format: Hardcover
A fascinating look at just what is inside everyday objects and what surprised me was just how many bits there are when they carefully laid out and photographed from above in one of Todd McLellan's shots. A nice touch was keeping a running total of all the pieces: a 1982 Walkman has 370; 2007 Blackberry 120; 1960 blender 147; 1970 sewing machine 482; 1980 bike 893. Oddly cameras seem to have a very similar number of components: 1973 SLR has 576; 2012 digital SLR 580; 2005 digital video camera 558. Admittedly all these totals do include every washer, nut, and bolt. Most of the products were hand-holdable except for three, a bike, piano and a Zenith two-seater light aircraft (the CH-650 with 7580 pieces) this was photographed in the company hangar and shown over three pages with a fold-out.

Take the book apart and you'll find it's in three sections. First the fifty products were disassembled and laid out in a precise and formal way, photographed and then a second shot, taken with strobe lighting, as all the pieces were dropped from a platform in the studio to create a free-fall photo of parts and the complete opposite of the other photo. Actually McLellan says he had more success creating these second images by dropping them in groups and using software to combine the photos. The third part of the book and the weakest in my view, are four essays looking at tech innovation, restoration, online repairs and product disassembly.

These short essays are interesting enough but I thought they were rather out of place in a strongly visual book of products in pieces. They really should have had some photos, too. Penny Bendall, a ceramics conservator, discusses how she repairs broken ceramics: a valuable antique vase or figurines.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What: This is my first ever Amazon Review.

Why: I purchased this book because I don't believe 20x200 is coming back online any time soon and I needed some Todd McLellan in my life. His work is wonderful, so I suggest you get his book too - and maybe a second one for a friend that you really like.

Where: This book lives open on a vintage shop desk in my house. Every couple of days I turn the page to enjoy another creative composition. It's a bound work of art - so it deserves to be displayed and not shelved.

Who: You will like this book too if you enjoy picture books, tinkering, sculpture, science fairs, art, photography, the creative process or are old enough to identify most of the products photographed.

How: Since I am an adult, I bought this book on amazon with my own money.

When: I pre-ordered this book because I knew it would be awesome, and I was right. Seriously - buy it now - what are you waiting for?
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I was expecting something more akin to a cross-section showing how the parts work together. It's actually just a collection of two types of photos: all the pieces laid out next to each other, or all the pieces thrown in the air like the item exploded. The author seems more concerned with counting how many pieces are in something rather than what they do. Some of the pictures are very impressive, but without any depth I doubt I'll ever open it a second time.
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This was a birthday gift for my son, who loves all things mechanical and scientific. He was excited when he saw it!
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This book is very cool, and should be a great conversation starter when placed on your coffee table or in plain view of your guests.

Before ordering it, I read a blog post where the writer had cut pages from the book and framed them for his wall; while I hate defacing a book, I can understand why he did this- every page is a work of art!

Flipping through this book harkens to a time when consumer goods were not made for the serial consumer, ready to dispose of their things and "upgrade" every few years or sooner, but rather, for those who might fix their things when broken, nurturing them through the times. It reminds me of how I used to take things apart, not too destroy them, but carefully, and to figure out how they worked. Maybe you did the same, but even if you didn't, you might just love this book.
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