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Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything Paperback – September 22, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"ZERO TO MAKER is an irresistible guide for anyone who has ever dreamed of the alchemy of turning ordinary objects into a creation of great personal value. This is the one book you need to build your confidence, community, and really dig in!"
LISA GANSKY, author of The Mesh

"David Lang is an inspiration to anyone who has dreamed of making, but has been hesitant to start because they feel they don't have the necessary skills. As David will show you, all it takes is curiosity, passion, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes."
—MARK FRAUENFELDER, Editor-in-Chief, MAKE Magazine

Book Description

Learn (just enough) to make (just about) anything
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Maker Media, Inc; 1 edition (September 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449356435
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449356439
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

Zero to Maker Maker Pro
Making Makers Zero to Maker Maker Pro
Theme What makes a Maker? Childhood. What makes a Maker? Learning skills. What makes a Maker? Grasping the challenges of manufacturing and distribution.
Spaces Explored Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, Evil Mad Science Labs, Education Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon, Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Maker Faire, MIT Media Lab, Monterey Bay Aquarium. Haxlr8r, Maker Faire, Noisebridge, TechShop, FabLabs. Hack Factory, Hacker Farm, LEGO Imagination Center, Noisebridge, NYC Resistor, Maker Faire, MIT Media Lab, TechShop, Tokyo Hackerspace.
Maker Backgrounds 3D Robotics, DEKA R&D, DIY Girls, EASE Lab at Olin College, Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, MIT Media Lab, Sassy Knitware, Scratch, SparkFun Electronics. DIY.org, Instructables, Inventables, Jellyfish Tank, Maker Media, Mozilla Foundation, ShapeOko,. BioCurious, Brickstuff, Chumby, Freaklabs, Good Life Lab, MakerBot, Tindie,.
Take Away Lifelong creativity is a learned skill, one fostered and nurtured in childhood. In this collection of essays and interviews, the featured Makers discuss how lighting stuff on fire, blowing stuff up, and having the freedom to experiment with failure sparked an interest that has sustained them into adulthood. When author David Lang lost his desk job, he realized that he had no skills that didn't involve sitting in front of a computer. Over the course of a year, he set out to learn essential Maker skills, eventually launching an open source underwater robotics company. If he can do it, anyone can. What does it take to make the leap from hobbyist to professional? In this series of essays and interviews, professional Makers examine the obstacles, challenges, and rewards of making what they love to do actually become a career.
Desire With Which You'll be Seized After Reading This Book To hand your child matches. To explore an underwater gold mine. To quit your day job.
Featured Makers Chris Anderson, Kipp Bradford, Molly Black, Leah Buechley, Christy Canida, Judy A. Castro, Dawn Danby, Lindsay Diamond, Will Durfee, Lenore Edman, Woodie Flowers, Holly Gates, Bradley Gawthrop, Susan Grudem, Danny Hillis, Steve Hoefer, Mimi Hui, Jeffrey Jalkio, Steven Jevning, Eric Jonas, Dean Kamen, David Kelly, Sophi Kravitz, Allison Leonard, Luc Mayrand, Paul McGill, Amon Millner, John Edgar Park, Mitch Resnick, Luz Rivas, Eric Rosenbaum, Nathan Seidle, Raquel Vélez, Jane Werner. Chris Anderson, Alex Andon, Dale Dougherty, Edward Ford, Jesse Harrington Au, Susan Hoff, Zach Kaplan, Andrew Sliwinski. Mitch Altman, Jimmy DiResta, Eri Gentry and Tito Jankowski, Andrew "bunnie" Huang, Rob Klingberg, Sophi Kravitz, Joe Meno, Emile Petrone, Zach Smith, Wendy Tremayne, Chris Wang.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As one of the backers of Lang's popular Kickstarter back in January, I got access to a pre-release eBook copy of Zero to Maker. Based on the campaign and the title, I wanted to learn about Lang's transition from 9-to-5er to "maker," get a broad overview of tools, see some basic projects with step-by-step instructions that an absolute beginner might try to get a feel for the tools, learn how to approach "rapid prototyping" and design issues in a philosophical and formal sense, and ultimately get some direction for further education as needed.

You will learn about Lang's journey and get a broad overview of some of the "new" tools (3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, etc.). However, Lang's formula for "learning just enough to make just about anything" is to find a "makerspace" or "hackerspace," learn from others (who are often novices themselves), and essentially, figure it out as you go along. To his credit, there are several references to other books and lists that have more specific advice, however, these resources are not free. Your money may be better spent on these resources instead of this book.

A large portion of the book is dedicated to monetizing your "maker" creations. There's business advice, patent advice. There's a chapter on teaching children how to use these tools. Together this makes up about a third of the book. If you, like me, are more interested in making things for personal gratification and are not interested in quitting your day job or becoming an entrepreneur, these portions will seem like fluff that could have been better used fulfilling the promise in the subtitle.

Lang admits in the epilogue that his subtitle was ambitious, but by his own assessment, he feels that he met the challenge. I am less convinced. Overall, there is some good information in the midst of all the fluff. If nothing else, it's a fast-paced and entertaining read. 3/5
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Format: Paperback
This is more of a "Maker's Manifesto" than it is a How-to Guide. If you're looking for information on the current state of the Maker movement, or if you want to figure out how to dip your toes in, this book offers some good advice. It won't teach you what you need to learn and how, but it will point you in a direction that can get you started.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I bought this book I thought it would go in a different directions. My expectations were that it would be more tech manual type instead of what it was. That being said this was probably the best thing I couldve read. This book was like going to see a therapist for me. It put into words exactly how I think in ways that I couldnt. My friends always called me different and now I can better explain to them why, I have a maker mindset.

My biggest issue so far was that I lacked the DIT and was always going solo on projects. I have since expanded and found a makerspace. Think has helped tremendously as meet like minded people are a great source of inspiriation. That what this book set out to do and it nails it on the head. Its not about telling you how to make things but rather explaining how to setup that support system and maximize your maker potential.
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Format: Paperback
Full disclosure: David Lang (and OpenROV) was one of the first friends I made after moving to the Bay Area last year. This review is completely, hopelessly biased.

I supported David's Kickstarter to write this book, I've read it on the web in pre-release, I'm getting the ebook from the Kickstarter, and I'm buying a physical copy because this book is *that* important. This is the kind of book that you can't wait to recommend to someone when you find out they're interested in the subject.

As the Maker movement grows around the world, more and more people are becoming inspired to create things. Anyone at any level of skill can learn from this book. David has been in the center of many different branches of the Maker movement and reports on them all - hackerspaces, electronics, Arduino, learning from scratch, sharing, finding ideas, working with others, community, writing, promotion, Kickstarter, Maker Faire, licensing, starting companies, etc.

But this book is not just for Makers. It is an outstanding guide for building your own skills and presence in ANY creative field. The pattern, told through a Maker lens, is:

1. Find something you're interested in and want to learn
2. Find people doing that thing
3. Ask them what they're working on and what they recommend learning
4. Do some project involving the thing you want to learn
5. Share your results (good or bad) and solicit feedback
6. Based on experiences and feedback, return to step 1 and repeat forever

It's also well written and delightful to read because of David's writing skill and the breadth of his Maker experiences.

CONCLUSION: This book will grow to be a cherished and work fixture on the shelf of anyone who loves learning and making.
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Format: Paperback
I'm writing this review as a backer of the Kickstarter Project. I was therefore able to influence some of the writing (but didn't use that privilege). I'm a reader, not a writer!

The book very nicely addresses the different anxieties you could have around becoming a Maker (most notably the "I don't know what to make" syndrom). It offers a unique look into the author's own journey. I strongly recommend reading this, and then putting the book down and go get your hands dirty on something!
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