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4.5 out of 5 stars
Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2013
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2013
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. Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about his summer camps where kids can learn how to use power tools and make things from scrap. Neither of these two essays had pictures of the things discussed.

This one of those wonderful books that can be opened at any page and you'll be immediately grabbed by stunning photos of hundreds of small items laid out with geometric precision or the same pieces floating in a spatial montage. I think the idea is good enough for second book (though without any essays).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2013
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2013
We bought this as a gift for our son who LOVES to take everything apart! He loved it and has it out in the open for everyone to peruse
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2013
The kid in all of us likes to take things apart. Todd McLellan did an excellent job being a surrogate for us
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2013
I bought this for our grandson's eighth birthday. We enjoyed looking at it together and planned to take some things apart just to see how they were made. It was interesting to see some of the parts that went in to making many of the items. We thought this could be applicable for classroom use or possibly for a science fair project.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2013
Seriously great job on this book. I remember seeing a couple of the pics posted before the book was released, and based on those I put it in my cart waiting for the book to be released.

Book does NOT disappoint. For anyone who loves taking things apart and knowing how they work, this is a great book. You really appreciate the artistry and engineering that go in to making these items.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2013
I bought this for my 6-year-old son, who is really into figuring out how things work. He absolutely loves it.
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on May 13, 2014
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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