The most recommended construction books

Who picked these books? Meet our 50 experts.

50 authors created a book list connected to construction, and here are their favorite construction books.
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Book cover of The Patchwork Bike

Elizabeth Verdick Author Of Bike & Trike

From my list on bikes and biking for kids.

Who am I?

I’m a Minnesota-based children’s writer focusing on a mix of books for kids ages baby to teen. I love writing stories as well as nonfiction books focused on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). After more than 25 years spent writing for a young audience, I started thinking about how I may be old but don’t necessarily feel old. An image came to mind: a rusty, dusty old tricycle. How might “Trike” feel if a happy, snappy new bike were to appear in the garage? Bike & Trike is the story that arose, one about old vs. new and a daring challenge to determine which bike will be the winner on wheels.

Elizabeth's book list on bikes and biking for kids

Elizabeth Verdick Why did Elizabeth love this book?

In a village at the end of a no-go desert, siblings need to make their own fun. Need a bike? Build your own from scratch!

With a milk pot, old flour sack, and other everyday items, a bike is born—one that can bumpety-bump over the hot sand hills. Sound-words, rhythmic text, and a theme of perseverance make this a stand-out story. Street artist Van Thanh Rudd created illustrations that capture the rough-and-tumble world and its lively characters. 

By Maxine Beneba Clarke, Van Thanh Rudd (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Patchwork Bike as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Award 2019

Winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Crichton Award for Debut Illustrator 2017

Selected as a CBCA Honour Picture Book 2017


'Beautifully written and incredibly powerful.' Books + Publishing

'this book is just what many of us need right now' - starred Kirkus Review

When you live in a village at the edge of the No-Go Desert, you need to make your own fun. That's when you and your brothers get inventive and build a bike from scratch, using…

Book cover of The Complete Japanese Joinery

Azby Brown Author Of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Woodworking Craft

From my list on Japanese carpentry and construction.

Who am I?

Azby Brown is a widely published author and authority on Japanese architecture, design, and environment, whose groundbreaking writings on traditional Japanese carpentry, compact housing, and traditional sustainable practices are recognized as having brought these fields to the awareness of Western designers and the general public. His creative work spans many media and has been widely exhibited internationally. In 2003 he founded the KIT Future Design Institute in Tokyo, focussing on cognitive and cultural issues surrounding the human hand and its use in the creative process, conducting collaborative research with neuroscientists and perceptual psychologists. A native of New Orleans, he has lived in Japan since 1985 and is currently on the sculpture faculty of Musashino Art University in Tokyo. 

Azby's book list on Japanese carpentry and construction

Azby Brown Why did Azby love this book?

This book, first published in 1995, is a detailed how-to guide that answers a lot of questions about how carpentry is practiced in contemporary Japan. The drawings and plans are fabulously informative. It does not focus on tool use per se, but beautifully conveys the structural logic and reasoning that lie behind the joints and connections themselves. I keep it handy as a reference.

By Yasuo Nakahara, Hideo Sato, Koichi Paul Nii (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Japanese Joinery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is clean, excellent condition.SHIPS USPS PRIORITY.FAST FULFILLMENT!!

Book cover of What We'll Build: Plans for Our Together Future

Jo Empson Author Of Tiny Blue, I Love You

From my list on celebrating the love between a parent and child.

Who am I?

As we grow up, the special relationships with family, friends, and caregivers are what give us our sense of place in the world, make us feel loved, teach us the important things in life, and give us the courage to face each step from childhood to adulthood and beyond. Therefore I love books that celebrate these very special people in our lives.

Jo's book list on celebrating the love between a parent and child

Jo Empson Why did Jo love this book?

Richly illustrated, this tender book depicts a conversation between a father and daughter; the promises he makes to her, the worries and reassurances, and the hopes and dreams. Oliver Jeffers books are always wonderfully unique and beautifully lyrical.

A father and daughter set about laying the foundations for their life together. Using their own special tools, they get to work; building memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe, and love to keep them warm. A heartfelt poignant story.

What shall we build, you and I? 

I’ll build your future and you’ll build mine. 

We’ll build a watch to keep our time. 

By Oliver Jeffers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What We'll Build as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times bestseller!

From Oliver Jeffers, world-renowned picture book creator and illustrator of The Crayons' Christmas, comes a gorgeously told father-daughter story and companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller Here We Are!

What shall we build, you and I?
Let's gather all our tools for a start.
For putting together . . .
and taking apart.

A father and daughter set about laying the foundations for their life together. Using their own special tools, they get to work, building memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe, and love to keep them warm.


Book cover of Setting Up Shop: The Practical Guide to Designing and Building Your Dream Shop

Michael Dresdner Author Of The New Wood Finishing Book

From my list on for woodworkers to expand their horizons.

Who am I?

Michael Dresdner is a nationally known finishing and woodworking expert and guitar maker/designer, author of five books and several videos on wood finishing and guitar making. He’s been a Contributing Editor to Fine Woodworking Magazine, American Woodworker Magazine, and Woodworker’s Journal, wrote the Just Finishing byline column for American Woodworker Magazine for over 7 years, and the Finishing Thoughts byline column for Woodworker’s Journal for almost 20 years. While a consultant to one of the country’s largest coatings conglomerates, he wrote answers to over 8,000 questions for the website blog and edited the Woodworker’s Journal eZine, an award-winning online woodworking magazine with over a quarter of a million subscribers.

Michael's book list on for woodworkers to expand their horizons

Michael Dresdner Why did Michael love this book?

Whether starting from scratch or expanding into new woodworking ventures, correctly setting up your shop can spell the difference between success and failure. Here’s where to come for information on electricity and lighting, tools, heating and ventilation, dust collection, benches, shop layout, and even safety. You’ll know what to buy, what to avoid, and what to do to make your workspace as efficient and comfortable as possible, no matter what flights of woodworking fancy you pursue. 

By Sandor Nagyszalanczy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Setting Up Shop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is ideal for fitting a shop for the first time, or expanding an existing shop. "Setting Up Shop, Revised" takes the practical knowledge and ingenious solutions of the first edition and combines them with additional photos and drawings to create the most comprehensive workshop book on the market. Includes new photos and also updates on technology especially regarding dust collection, pneumatic tools and safety. With guidance on the best shop location, shop layout, equipping the shop with tools and accessories, shop safety and storage.

Book cover of The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids

Daniel P. Aldrich Author Of Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan's 3/11 Disasters

From Daniel's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Curious Professor

Daniel's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Daniel P. Aldrich Why did Daniel love this book?

We live in suburbs, high-density downtown cities, exurbs, rural areas – but most of us don’t really think about the way that things around us have been designed.

Especially for those of us with children, whole schools of thought have been created, designed a variety of chairs, tools, blocks, and play spaces, and then been replaced by other ways of doing the same materials. This book tackles jungle gyms, school classrooms, EPCOT, and a variety of other places that are all too familiar to us, but in new and creative ways.

It is easy to read with lots of images – highly recommended.

By Alexandra Lange,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Design of Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Nothing short of spectacular . . . A secret guidebook to a landscape in which we all dwell, but so often fail to see." --Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic

From building blocks to city blocks, an eye-opening exploration of how children's playthings and physical surroundings affect their development.

Parents obsess over their children's playdates, kindergarten curriculum, and every bump and bruise, but the toys, classrooms, playgrounds, and neighborhoods little ones engage with are just as important. These objects and spaces encode decades, even centuries of changing ideas about what makes for good child-rearing--and what does not. Do you choose…

Book cover of A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Kenneth R. Rosen Author Of Troubled: The Failed Promise of America's Behavioral Treatment Programs

From my list on to get you through troubling times.

Who am I?

As a journalist and author and a young father, I’ve come to seek more vigorously things that make me smile, things I can cherish and appreciate. My most recent book is dedicated to “the troubled, in trouble, and once troubled.” In promoting the book, I’ve often said I still feel fairly troubled—which is true. Demons never die, we just live to learn with them. So while reading the below books I’ve discovered hallowed moments which fill a person to the brim. After each of these reads I felt that I could surmount most anything.

Kenneth's book list on to get you through troubling times

Kenneth R. Rosen Why did Kenneth love this book?

I’ve owned a number of homes. Most were small, one or two were fairly large. When I set about building my own writing shed I had a clue where to begin, but most frequently—when bashing a nail, jigsawing a piece of wood—I knew very little about why I was making one decision over another much beyond practical considerations. A window could only fit here, and the door must swing this way, lest it hit that support beam. Having a companion to that process, letting not my hammer but the Earth fine-tune my space gave that writing shed life far beyond its function.

By Michael Pollan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Place of My Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A captivating personal inquiry into the art of architecture, the craft of building, and the meaning of modern work

“A room of one’s own: Is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape?”

When Michael Pollan decided to plant a garden, the result was the acclaimed bestseller Second Nature. In A Place of My Own, he turns his sharp insight to the craft of building, as he recounts the process of designing and constructing a small one-room structure on his rural Connecticut…

Book cover of Ballpark: Baseball in the American City

Jerald Podair Author Of City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

From my list on American baseball stadiums.

Who am I?

Major league baseball stadiums have always enthralled me—their architectures, their atmospheres, their surroundings. Each has a unique story to tell. So I decided to tell the story of how perhaps the greatest of all American ballparks, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, came to be. As an urban historian, I also wished to tell a broader story of how the argument between 1957 and 1962 over whether, where, and how to build the stadium helped make Los Angeles into the modern city we know today. So writing City of Dreams allowed me to combine my passions for baseball, for stadiums, and for the history of American cities.

Jerald's book list on American baseball stadiums

Jerald Podair Why did Jerald love this book?

The most comprehensive history of the American baseball stadium ever produced, and one that could only have been written by Paul Goldberger, America’s preeminent architectural critic. Unlike many of his brethren, Goldberger’s writing has always been clean, clear, and blissfully jargon-free, and his historical tour of ballparks from their inauspicious 19th century beginnings to the retro pleasure-and-marketing palaces of our own time is authoritative and wonderfully readable. 

By Paul Goldberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ballpark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exhilarating, splendidly illustrated, entirely new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks where the game was and is staged, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic.

From the earliest corrals of the mid-1800s (Union Grounds in Brooklyn was a "saloon in the open air"), to the much mourned parks of the early 1900s (Detroit's Tiger Stadium, Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans), to the stadiums we fill today, Paul Goldberger makes clear the inextricable bond between the American city and America's favorite pastime. In the changing locations and architecture of our ballparks,…

Book cover of Elizabethan Instrument Makers: The Origins of the London Trade in Precision Instrument Making

Tony Benson Author Of Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers

From my list on the history of scientific instruments.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with stargazing, bird-watching, photography, and microscopy, and consequently vintage telescopes, binoculars, cameras, microscopes, and optical and scientific instruments in general. I began my career in an optics laboratory at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, and went on to become a Chartered Engineer. After a successful career in science and engineering, spanning more than three decades, I left the corporate world to make stringed instruments and write fiction and non-fiction. Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers is my first non-fiction book. My novels include An Accident of Birth, and Galactic Alliance: Betrayal. I live in Kent, England with my wife, Margo, and our cat.

Tony's book list on the history of scientific instruments

Tony Benson Why did Tony love this book?

This book provides a history of the London instrument makers who worked during the period 1540 to 1610. Few precision instruments survive from this period, and Gerard L’E Turner has constructed a fascinating in-depth account of the London trade and the instrument makers of the time, as well as providing a description and history of the different kinds of instrument, and a detailed descriptive catalogue of the known surviving instruments. This is an invaluable resource about a period considered to be the dawn of the precision instrument trade in England.

By Gerard L'E. Turner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elizabethan Instrument Makers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Europe in the sixteenth century experienced a period of unprecedented vitality and innovation in the spheres of science and commerce. The Americas had been discovered and the colonizing nations had an urgent need for mathematical instruments for navigation and surveying. The Elizabethan age saw the establishment of the precision instrument-making trade in London, from 1540, a trade that would become world-famous in the succeeding two centuries.The first of a group of
London makers was an immigrant from Flanders, Thomas Gemini, succeeded by the Englishman, Humfrey Cole.It has proved possible to find over 100 surviving mathematical instruments, signed and unsigned, made…

Book cover of The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever

Mark Ovenden Author Of Underground Cities: Mapping the tunnels, transits and networks underneath our feet

From my list on subways and urban trains.

Who am I?

Mark Ovenden is a broadcaster, lecturer and author who specialises in the design of public transport. His books include ’Transit Maps of The World’ - an Amazon Top 100 best-seller - and a dozen others covering cartography, architecture, typography, way finding and history of urban transit systems, airline routes and railway maps. He has spoken on these subjects across the World and is a regular on the UK's Arts Society lecture circuit. His television and radio programmes for the BBC have helped to explain the joys of good design and urban architecture. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and after many years living in cities like London, Paris, New York and Manchester…now enjoys a more rural life on the Isle of Wight.

Mark's book list on subways and urban trains

Mark Ovenden Why did Mark love this book?

With a razor sharp eye Wolmar (author of many other excellent books on railway history) concentrates his focus on the machinations of the establishment of the world's first railway built under the ground. Overcoming the travails of unbuilt fantasy concepts, the Victorians fear of the dark, finances and the problems of running steam trains in tunnels, London's City Solicitor Charles Pearson, managed to get the first route, the Metropolitan Railway, built and opened by January 1863. Wolmar unpicks the struggles to expand the line, private capitals, a rush to build more lines and the eventual nationalisation of the system in 1948.

By Christian Wolmar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Subterranean Railway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revised and updated edition of Christian Wolmar's classic history of the London Underground, with a new chapter on Crossrail.

'I can think of few better ways to while away those elastic periods awaiting the arrival of the next eastbound Circle Line train than by reading [this book].' Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph

Since the Victorian era, London's Underground has played a vital role in the daily life of generations of Londoners. In The Subterranean Railway, Christian Wolmar celebrates the vision and determination of the nineteenth-century pioneers who made the world's first, and still the largest, underground passenger railway: one of the…

Book cover of Slacks and Calluses: Our Summer in a Bomber Factory

Merrill J. Davies Author Of Becoming Jestina

From my list on how women helped win World War II.

Who am I?

After teaching high school English for thirty-one years, I retired and began my second career in writing. I have published five novels and one collection of poetry. When I met Jane Tucker in 1974, she became a good friend, fellow church member, and my dental hygienist. I had no idea she had worked as a welder on Liberty Ships during World War II when she was only sixteen years old. After I learned this in 2012, I began my journey into learning all about the Rosies during World War II and writing my fourth novel Becoming Jestina. Jane’s story is an amazing one, and I still talk to her regularly.

Merrill's book list on how women helped win World War II

Merrill J. Davies Why did Merrill love this book?

Since I taught school for thirty-one years, this book was especially fascinating to me because it involved two young teachers spending their summer in 1943 working on a production line at a San Diego bomber plant. It enlightened me significantly on how difficult it often was for women during that time to be accepted in what was usually an exclusively male world of work.

By Constance Bowman Reid, Clara Marie Allen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Slacks and Calluses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1943 two spirited young teachers decided to do their part for the war effort by spending their summer vacation working the swing shift on a B-24 production line at a San Diego bomber plant. Entering a male-dominated realm of welding torches and bomb bays, they learned to use tools that they had never seen before, live with aluminum shavings in their hair, and get along with supervisors and coworkers from all walks of life. 
   They also learned that wearing their factory slacks on the street caused men to treat them in a way for which their "dignified schoolteacher-hood" hadn't…