On August 7th, 1974, a whispy young Frenchman by the name of Philipe Petit stepped out onto a wire he illegally rigged between the World Trade Center’s twin towers. Once he was atop the cable, he stayed there for over an hour – completely free of any safety harnesses or nets hung below to save him from plunging to his death.
After his highwire act, Petit was promptly arrested by the NYPD, but by the time he was released from jail his stunt had already made national headlines. His exploits are now immortalized in the award-winning documentary Man on Wire, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of watching the film, you know that this wasn’t his first stunt. Petit, who is now over 60, has spent most of his life performing has a tightrope walker, so for decades knots have served as his guardian angels – the thing only standing between him and a long fall to his doom.
For that reason, it’s safe to assume that Petit knows how to tie a damn good knot. Even in his old age he knows over 200 of them by heart, many of which he can tie behind his back. Why Knot? is a collection of more than 60 ingenious, useful, beautiful, lifesaving, and secure knots that Petit found indispensable over the course of his career.
If you’re even the least bit interested in learning how to tie more knots, we highly recommend you check out this book. Knowing the right knot for any situation is one of the most useful skills a man can have, and this book beats the hell out of any newfangled smartphone app we’ve ever used. Petit’s detailed descriptions and well-crafted diagrams (which he drew himself) provide insights that could otherwise only be gained from years of first-hand experience. Even if the only thing you tie on a day-to-day basis is your shoelaces and necktie, a quick flip through this books pages will make you feel like an eagle scout.
It’s a perfect summer read, filled with knots you’ll undoubtedly put to use on your next weekend outing. Whether you’re lashing a kayak to the top of your car, tying down the rainfly on your tent, or stitching up a gash in your thigh, this book has the knot you need.
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