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Off the Shelf - Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities" by Kevin Kelly

The Whole Earth Catalog changed my life. It opened a world of possibilities within its oversized covers. It was one of the things that moved me to go into bookselling.

Kevin Kelly was one of the names associated with Whole Earth, so I was excited to see Cool Tools. It is sort of a Whole Earth Catalog for the 21st Century. Kelly's definition of a "cool tool" is "anything useful, that increases learning, empowers individuals, does work that matters, is either the best or the cheapest." Its 463 pages offer up-to-date recommendations of books, electronics, garden tools, camping stoves, self-publishing (it is self-published), composting toilets, bicycles, and on and on.

I was disappointed to see that Amazon was the recommended source for most of the products.

I consider to be the enemy of all local independent enterprises and, thus, the enemy of the free people who Cool Tools intends to empower. Kelly sees it as "the most reliable and convenient" source and declares, "We don't care about vendors, retailers, wholesalers, or advertisers." This is an amazingly shortsighted perspective for a usually visionary fellow. We will continue to see how Amazon abuses its growing power.

However, Cool Tools is still pretty cool. Take a look and decide how to vote with your dollars.

The Peregrine Book Company is located at 219A North Cortez St., in Prescott.

Call them at 928-445-9000.


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