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101 things you should know how to do

Since content on the Internet has grown to the point where it now has all the answers, you’d think a book like 101 things you should know how to do wouldn’t have any place on a bookshelf anymore… and it doesn’t. This book belongs on the coffee table or in the bathroom, where it’s a perfect solution to those awkward silences.

It does also hold true to it’s title however. While you can find the answer to just about anything on the Internet, this book puts the basics of what you should already know in front of you. Topics range from simple things like how to mow your lawn (page 130), to more interesting things like how to repair two types of leaky faucets (page 125). The thing I like about this book is that it includes interesting tidbits for even the simplest things that you’d probably not know (or not know you should care). For example;

Mow the lawn

For many, a perfect deep-green lawn is the stuff of fantasy. Achieving it is simple with a decent mower and a basic understanding of the principles of lawn maintenance.

[1] Ensure that the blades on your rotary mower are kept sharp. A dull blade can be replaced inexpensively and will give a much better finish to your lawn. Ideally, you will need to sharpen or replace your blades every spring, when it is also advisable to have your mower serviced.

[4] Different varieties of grasses have different recommended growing heights. Determine the variety of your lawn and find out its recommended height. Then you will need to maintain the grass to within these recommendations, ensuring it doesn’t grow more than a third higher than this.

[5] Where grass has grown too high, it is crucial that you do not hack off too much in one mowing. Cut the grass by a minimum amount the first time, then come back forty eight hors later and give it another mowing in a different direction.

[6] Continue to cut the grass into the fall for as long as it appears to still be growing. When growth trails off, cut the lawn down by another half-inch or so, as a shorter lawn through the winter will stay healthier.

The other thing I like about this book is that it’s cross gender. There are things detailed in this book that either one of the sexes will probably already think of as “common sense”, but the other might not have a firm grasp of. For example; contrary to Hollywood movie comedy fodder, even though I’m a guy I do know I could figure out how to “change a diaper” (page 138). But, just by reading steps and picturing doing it in my head, the process has forever been cemented in my brain… including all the little extras like addressing diaper rash. Likewise, I think it’s common sense how to “jump-start a car” (page 213), but many women don’t know the first thing about it.

There are other seemingly common sense things in there like “drive on snow”, “chop down a tree”, “pitch a tent”, “build a shelter”, “build a campfire”, “bait a fishing hook”, etc… but all of them have a tidbit or two I didn’t know, or hadn’t considered important.

Most importantly though, it’s an inexpensive and fun little coffee table book to have kicking around.

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