Mark's new book: Made by Hand


My new book is out! Made by Hand is about the fun and fulfillment I got from making my own stuff. I wrote about my not-always-successful attempts to do things like raise chickens, keep bees, grow and preserve food and make my own musical instruments.

Made by Hand is published by Portfolio / Penguin, who described it like this:

DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.

Frauenfelder also reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating "alpha makers" leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights.

Here are a few advance reviews:

• "This is a must-read book. Mark has lovingly and candidly documented the complex, myriad, intangible and often very tangible rewards of grabbing the world with both of your hands, and learning how it works." -- Adam Savage, Mythbusters

•"...this is one of the most inspiring book for do-it-yourself'ers that I've ever read." Shane Speal, Cigar Box Nation

• "Made By Hand is a wonderfully inspiring read and makes turning to a make-centric way of life feel not only approachable, but utopian." -- Jaymi Heimbuch, Treehugger

• "Made by Hand an absolutely fascinating read."  -- Jon Mueller, 800CEOREAD

• "...not only was I entertained I was educated on a wide range of topics!" -- Recycled Crafts

• "Frauenfelder has been at the center of the emerging maker movement, chronicling its rise as an economic force. Here, he describes a parallel evolution: his own embrace of making, as he applies the lessons he's been learning to his own life. It's as inspiring as it is entertaining. You'll never look at your lawn the same again!" -- Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief, Wired

• "Why do otherwise well-adjusted people take to raising chickens in Studio City? What sort of contrarian spends a lot of time and money to kill his own lawn? These may be the projects of one quirky individual, but they point to something universal and true. Human beings find their proper home not in large-scale corporate structures but in the struggle for individual agency. You have to admire the doggedness with which the individuals in Made By Hand try to render their own world intelligible." -- Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft

• "Frauenfelder believes -- as do I -- that the DIY ethic is only partly about the things you produce. It's also about learning how to learn, about connecting with others who share your interests, and about taking pride in your accomplishments. ... I think the book is great, and I encourage you to pick up a copy if you're at all interested in DIY." -- J.D. Roth, Get Rich Slowly

Buy Made by Hand | Read free sample chapters


  1. What a neat approach! I’ve been doing a lot of hands-on things for many years, and I think it really does impact our quality of life. The book sounds great – what section of a local bookstore would they put this in? Does it fall under “crafts”? Or “home improvement?”

  2. Mark,
    I cannot find this book for sale at Maker Shed.
    It does not appear to be available for sale there – and a search for ‘Made by hand’ produces no results…

    thought you would want to know.

  3. I’m really looking forward to this. I bought a copy of the Happy Mutant Handbook back when it came out and fell in love with it. I feel like when I discovered Boing Boing I found out where that happy mutants went. Only just now did I realize when I looked at that you were one of the co-authors!

    Here’s to remaining a happy mutant. :)

  4. Im hoping for an audio or PDF version – although Amazon was offering the book at a great price, the only shipping method that got the book to me within a week (“Priority International Shipping”) was over double the price of the book itself.

  5. Your book sounds very interesting! I tried to “read a couple sample chapters” but it didn’t work.
    The error said that the file was damaged.

  6. After reading Seth’s glowing review I wanted to read this book on my 13 hour flight tomorrow. Buy the eBook, right? But no… I am now allowed to buy it: Amazon’s Kindle edition says “… not available for customers from your location” and there doesn’t seem to be another ebook option I could use. It’s probably a (stupid) publisher policy.

    People who buy lots of books — the best customers — are flocking to e-books because of the convenience — especially those who follow online blogs actively. After getting the Kindle and now iPad I haven’t bought a single physical book, they are just too cumbersome e.g. when traveling.

    The book sounds great. But now I won’t be finding about it, thanks to the policies of the publisher chosen by the author.

    Note to authors: The worst disconnect and disappointment happens between *you* and *your fans* when your publisher lets you down. You can not just blame the publisher any more, as we all know that you have to be careful in selecting a publisher and that some of them have figured out how the new online world works.

    1. Totally in agreement. Knocked back by the kindle store.. Knocked by Audible.. Sony ebook store.. Once they find out i’m outside of America i get denied. I’m hoping that at some point the local publishers get around to releasing this book.

  7. Sounds really good, say, I’m interested in building my own swarmatron, noone, would, by any chance gave a hold on some kind of instructions or something?

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