Hiking to Mastery

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By Chad McClung

Book review // Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction

Master craftsman, Gary Rogowski, has penned an inspiring book on achieving mastery. Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction teaches that it's okay to make mistakes. In fact, it's the best way to learn.

Rogowski recounts lessons learned during hikes in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Valuable lessons like patience and trusting yourself. Then, in alternating chapters, he shares his discoveries along the path to becoming a furniture maker. The two tales, at separate times in his life, tie together his hard-won wisdom. But in the clearing, he finds the value of living a creative life. Gary's goal is to inspire you to explore your own creativity and wager on yourself. The only way to navigate the road to mastery is to find meaning in your failures and to forgive yourself.

Handmade is not overly philosophical or academic like books of its ilk can sometimes be. It’s easy to read, entertaining, and heartfelt. You get a good taste of woodworking - and hiking - but not so much to bog down the stories or slow the pace. I recommend this book for its many important lessons.

Gary Rogowski is the author of The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery (Taunton), and a former contributing editor for Fine Woodworking magazine. He is the founder and director of The Northwest Woodworking Studio. See our April/May, issue 82 of Woodcraft Magazine for more on Gary.

Gary Rogowski. Linden Publishing (12/1/17), $18.95 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-61035-314-4


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Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction


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