If for any reason you ever find yourself needing to rebuild civilization, the Pocket Ref by Thomas J. Glover and Sequoia Publishing would be the one book you’d want to have on hand. Need to know how to tie a truckers hitch? Check out page 548. How about the correct concrete mix ratio for building a retaining wall? Page 101. Let’s say you need a crash course on how to weld — that starts on page 667. This uber-reference book’s small size belies the vast amount of information contained within.
The Pocket Ref has been in print since 1989 and is in its third edition. It’s about 3” x 5” so it will actually fit pretty comfortably in your jeans or shirt pocket. Of course, you could find all of this information online, but the Pocket Ref’s 768 pages worth of knowledge goes with you in places the web can’t.
My copy is a soft cover Make Magazine branded edition that cost me $13.00 — its usual list price. Street pricing starts around $10; we found it for $10 from Amazon right now, for example. If you want something that feels a bit more substantial, you can pick up a hard cover version for around $20.