The Preface for the book: How to be Handy

This post is the first in a long series as I release my latest book here online over the next few months… 

Today’s excerpt is the preface to give you the thoughts behind the book… 


How to be handy never become so much of an expert that you stop learning

When this book was first suggested, I feared it would be impossible to write, because, after more than 30 years of looking at the world through practical eyes, it’s like breathing to me. How do I get down on paper this apparently intuitive process? Then it dawned on me; it wasn’t totally intuitive, because I hadn’t stopped learning either. This book describes what I do every single day on my own jobs. Sure, I’m applying some existing knowledge, but I’m always building that knowledge by learning new skills and looking for solutions when I’m stuck. 

People say ‘Oh, it’s easy for you, you’re a born handyman!’ But of course, that’s nonsense, I wasn’t born handy; I just never stopped being curious about things, (although I have stopped putting things in my mouth…well, except the odd nail or two…).

Handy people gain their ‘superpower’ through a childlike curiosity to learn and understand how things work. And here’s the thing, because this childlike process is so ‘built in’; it means it’s never too late to access it and use it to make you handy; and yes, that means even you!

I understand you’re worried; you might even fear to start a practical task or feel it’s beyond you, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to overcome your fears and learn a few simple skills. No matter who you are, or how little you think you know; you’ll get there. Trust me, I’m a builder… (and yeah, I know that doesn’t have the same ring as, ‘trust me I’m a doctor’ but I’m working with what I’ve got, okay?).

I was born lucky in one sense though; because both my parents have great common sense and are pretty good with their hands. All learned through necessity, growing up in the frugal post war years. It rubs off. I started with Lego and Meccano and worked my way up to building stuff in the fields and woods around my home. I don’t ever remember not having a penknife in one pocket and string in the other.

Naturally enough, being interested in the physical workings of the world turned into my living. For decades now, I’ve been building houses, extensions, carrying out renovations, refurbishments, improvements and maintaining stuff, plus teaching in the UK and in developing countries. I’m drawn to renovating or repairing stuff, recycling, and reusing materials or repurposing things. Oh, and of course I love buying and learning to use tools!

As for why I wanted to write this book. Well, I love what I do, and through this book I want to encourage you to live a more practical life and experience the deep satisfaction you’ll get though Doing It Yourself. Being handy is part of who I am, right here in my hands, in my head and in my heart. I hope it rubs off on you too.

But enough about me, what about you? What do you want to learn how to do? What new and exciting project is bouncing around in that head of yours? Well then, lets get to it!

Next time: Introduction and the Story so far…

Stay well 


You can, of course, skip all that and just buy the whole book! Available at Amazon… How to be Handy [hairy bottom not required]

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