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How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself Hardcover – February 23, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Every great book reminds us that we're all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we're here." — Lemony Snicket

"It's what you'd get if you crossed the Boy Scout Handbook with The Anarchist's Cookbook, and it's definitely the wildest how-to manual I've seen this year." —Greg Cowles, The New York Times Paper Cuts blog


"What a joy to give children something they can do without 'hollering for help'...How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is replete with the sort of fun that childhood should be, and too rarely is." —Blogcritics.com

"His book is timeless and remarkably timely in both spirit and hands-on ingenuity." —Brainpickings

"Had I known about it, Robert Paul Smith's 1958 book, 'How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself,' would have been my Bible. Smith gets down to the nitty-gritty on the first page: 'These are things you can do by yourself,' he writes. 'You don't need any help from your mother or your father or anybody.'"—Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This classic 1958 guide reintroduces kids to those natural urges that have to turn random objects into crazy great stuff...Readers will love that everything in this book was invented by kids and passed along by kids, that nothing costs money and that each of the projects is a seat-of-the-pants creation."—Where the Best Books Are!

"You'll never hear 'I'm bored' again with this illustrated guide to simple, nostalgic fun."—Canadian Family

About the Author

Robert Paul Smith is the author of the best-selling Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. and of the novelsSo It Doesn’t Whistle, The Journey, Because of My Love, andThe Time and the Place. Smith was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from Columbia College in 1936. He worked as a writer with CBS Radio.

Paul Collins is a writer specializing in history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His nine books have been translated into eleven languages, and include Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books (2003) and The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars (2011). Collins lives in Oregon, where he is Chair and Professor of English at Portland State University.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Hardcover: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Tin House Books; 1 edition (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982053959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982053959
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By Daniel P. Smith on February 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Things you can do following the instructions in this book:

Make a spool tank (a homemade windup toy that creeps forward slowly like an army tank); a "button buzz-saw;" a handkerchief parachute; a harmless handkerchief "blackjack." Make a squeaky noise with two blades of grass. Do cool things with dandelion stems and leaves. Make a little basket out of burrs. Put your name on a pencil. Give a pencil a decorative checkerboard grip. Play Mumbly-Peg with a boy scout knife. Make a bracelet out of a clamshell. Make a needle dart. Make a leather sucker. Play "killers" with horse chestnuts. Make a Spanish bolas with horse chestnuts. Make a bull-roarer, an indoor boomerang, an outdoor boomerang, several kinds of slingshot, a throwing-stick. Make a bow and arrow out of a broken umbrella. Make polly-noses from maple tree wing things. Pop jewel-weed pods. Make willow bees and cats. Make a pin piano. Make a "bavoom-thing," a peach-pit basket, a rubber-band-powered paddlewheel boat, a paper airplane, a paper helicopter, and a thing made from a wishbone that surprises people by jumping suddenly into the air.

A 1958 video interview of Robert Paul Smith can be found at YouTube, by searching for "Robert Paul Smith" or via the link www DOT youtube DOT com/watch?v=-_YucaJeqIY
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Format: Hardcover
This book was given to my brother and I when we were 4 and 6 years old. Whenever we were "bored," our mother handed us "the book."

With comprehensive, easy to read how-to's from mumbly peg to spool tanks to cockleburr baskets, "How to do nothing" is one of the enduring memories from my childhood
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I used to read this book as a child back in the Texas Panhandle. It gave me lots of ideas on how to have fun with materials you could find around the house. I still enjoy reading it, and have shared it with my young grandchildren.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gave to my son. (Grown up now) He once told me when he was just a little boy that "there is always sum thin ta do mom! You can ride your bike, or color, read a book, go play in the sand, swing or watch a movie. There's always sum thin ta do!" So just last month he sent me a picture of this book and says it has the best title for a book ever. So naturally, I had to get it for him and tell him the little story of what he said when he was all of 4 years old. :)
The book is full of things a kid can find to do with odds and ends you find around the house and just use your imagination.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Appeared to be new but had yellowed on the shelf.

Can't complain because it is an old edition. Understood prior to purchase.

Purchased this book for my grandson.

It's the book my Dad gave me at the same age.

One of my fondest childhood memories was making the darts out of matches and needles.

Didn't hurt myself and expect my grandson will also be careful.
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