People are natural hackers – just out of practice …

I got to meet Cory Doctorow a few weeks ago. He was meeting with high school students and I’m fortunate enough to have one around the house, so she was my ticket to meet him. I’ve read his book Little Brother (one of the best young adult novels you’ll ever read) and I’ve followed his thinking on Boing Boing for years. Fortunately, it turns out he’s even cooler in person than on paper or screen. He spoke passionately about writing, following your instincts, and of course, intellectual freedom.

I took the opportunity to buy his new novel Makers (for adults) and promptly sat down to read it cover-to cover. Cory has written an optimistic view of the near future in which American ingenuity and creativity combine with venture capital to foster the creation of a new economy in which new ideas and skills flourish, albeit in counter intuitive ways. It’s not always an attractive vision (creativity is often messy), but it’s extremely hopeful, in that integrity and intelligence hold sway over corporate greed. Although technically science fiction – this book is accessible and engaging the way so much sci fi is not. Makers is about people you come to care about, and a future that might just be worth visiting.

At its heart, Makers encourages us to end disposable thinking (both in terms of things and people) in favor of re-use and re-purpose (both in terms of things and people). So then I stumbled across sugru … and all I could think about was the world of Makers and how the characters tinkered and made new stuff from old. Watch the video and then think about all the things we don’t have to throw away … of course, the first 1000 packs of sugru sold out in 6 hours, so I’m not the only one who thinks it’s pretty cool.

And by the way, Cory Doctorow also has!