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Why Knot?: How to Tie More than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Lifesaving, and Secure Knots! Hardcover – April 9, 2013


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Why Knot?: How to Tie More than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Lifesaving, and Secure Knots! + Creativity: The Perfect Crime + Man on Wire
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Nov edition (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419706764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419706769
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philippe Petit has been artist-in-residence of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for more than 30 years and has performed on the high wire more than 80 times around the world. He also street juggles, lectures, and practices magic. He is the author of several books, including To Reach the Clouds (Man on Wire). In 2011, he performed his one-man show Wireless!, and in 2012, he was selected as a TED speaker, and he recently finished Cheating the Impossible, the first TED multimedia book. He lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

Very well written.
Donald W. Carson
The great thing about this book is that you can keep flipping back to sections and re read as if your reading it for the first time.
smirko8
Knots are explained in great detail and rope is provided to frustrate the reader in attempting to tie some of the knots.
William J. Richards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Charme HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have some experience with knots and was looking for a clear and concise book that would help me brush up on the knots that I already know and introduce me to some new ones. This book didn't do that.

To be sure, it's filled with lots of interesting history and lore about knots as well as a fair dose of the author's accomplishments--but none of that will teach you how to tie knots. Yes, there are also many diagrams and lots of textual explanations, but many of them were unclear and needlessly complicated (more about that below). Let me be more specific.

1. The book gets off to a good start with the author saying he wants to "jump right in" and shows how to tie a square not. But then follows 40 pages of text to give the reader "background and terminology"--none of which I needed to know to tie knots--before finally coming to a chapter entitled "Meet the Gang of Five"--square knot, figure eight knot, sheet bend, clove hitch and bowline knot. I'm familiar with all of them but a little rusty on tying them. Just as I was looking forward to a quick refresher I discovered that these five knots are scattered about the book in different chapters containing similar knots.

2. I went to the chapter on the figure eight knot, which is a fairly simple knot to tie, and found no less than two pages and seven diagrams which were the most confusing presentation I have ever seen of how to tie a figure eight knot. The author has the reader twirling two fingers into different positions in order to tie this knot, which makes the process unnecessarily complicated. On the other hand, there were just two diagrams for the double bowline, which is a more complicated knot, and one of those showed the finished knot. The single diagram and text explaining how to tie it were useless to me.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Erb #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 1:57 Mins
I have several books on knot tying but this is by far the best of the bunch.

Philippe Petit is exactly the kind of guy you'd want to teach you about tying knots. His life depends on choosing and tying the correct knot for the purpose at hand.

The book is such a great resource. It discusses the terminology of knots and knot tying. Each knot is discussed in a very clear way that not only describes the purpose of the knot but the historical context of the knot.

Illustrations are plentiful and well-done as are the instructions.

I also like the inclusion of many photos of Philippe "in action" during some of his famous tight-wire acts.

The only negative comment I'll have about the book is that the font size is too small. Other than that, it's a superb book on learning about knots.

A very entertaining and informative book. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matt Warshaw on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For the price of a movie ticket, how could you knot want to read the words and hear the voice of a man who has spent his life, both in theory and practice, in pursuit of perfection? In a world where so few are capable of doing for themselves anymore, this should be mandatory reading. A basic life skill that should be known by all, as told by a master. The book belongs in every library. It was written to be read and referred to. Keep it handy. You'll learn much more than you think.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andreas Johansson on May 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a super book for knots, that make the subject easy to learn and master quickly. I have a pretty good background with knots, so while I didn't learn too many new ones, the book is a joy to read, and was my go-to book for a couple of nights on the couch. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn knots, and practice the skill.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brock Rumer on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel like my life could be greatly improved if I knew the right knot for a given task. Ok, maybe not _greatly_ but it seems like something a man should know. With this book, I'm aiming to build that knowledge.
The book is well researched (based on some crazy real experience) and I think Petit has succeeded in his goal to create a useful guide rather than a compendium of every possible knot.
The writing is a little verbose and a bit opinionated, but it's easy to skim those sections and get to the good stuff.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By fasula on May 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Like a four year old, I am learning a new language, that of tying knots.
Introduced to me by Philippe Petit's humorous and beautifully written/illustrated book
entitled Why Knot?
I'm thrilled when my figure eight knot goes exactly as illustrated, though when tying the
same knot from memory, the knot is reversed.
" Keep Tying" he says in the book.
And so I move through these knotty challenges, to imagine standing on the dock's edge, sailing off on tall
ships with my new skill of knot tying.
Why Not?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JIM on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary person. a beautifully charming story blended with a simple instructional about knots. as a sailor myself i found this book to be very helpful and recommend it to everyone out there!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert G Lawrence on July 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everyone uses knots...and most of the time, the wrong ones. Normally if you can tie 4 or 5 well, you can handle most situations, but occasionally it is important to tie it right. And they are all in his book, and illustrated so well even I can understand how to do it. Never mind wire walking or even mountain climbing; if you have a boat or horses, or just haul a lot of stuff, this book is for you.
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