The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection

Readwise dug up this quote from my reading of Deep Work. Given how often we work to find the right tool for the right job I thought this quote would be of interest. I remember my dad often saying, “if the tool is not right the mechanic is not bright.“ :slightly_smiling_face:

I call it the craftsman approach to tool selection, a name that emphasizes that tools are ultimately aids to the larger goals of one’s craft. The Craftsman Approach to Tool Selection: Identify the core factors that determine success and happiness in your professional and personal life. Adopt a tool only if its positive impacts on these factors substantially outweigh its negative impacts.


I love the inclusion of happiness in that.

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There is a lot to be said in praise of sticking with a tool long enough to fully master it. Not nessecarily mastering each and every feature, but not having to think about the “how” to do what you need it to do.


Have always loved this quote.

If I had to name one tool that I landed on from this it would definitely be Vim. Not for everyone, but personally, I spend all day writing (code for computers, prose for classes) so the investment in learning how to use a text editor that let me write and edit text at the speed of thought helped to boost the aforementioned “success and happiness”.


In computers and software it’s also finding the tool that fits with you and how you work. Aesthetics plays into it. What I consider beautiful and funcitonal in a tool is often at odds with what other people prefer. I see beauty in function and the form or style or UI is rarely a huge consideration for me in software except for abolishing the horrible dark mode forever. :laughing: Valid reasons, I can’t see or focus on screens in dark mode so I hate it. But I’ll likve with lots of other quirks if I otherwise like how to e tool operates and the results it provides.

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+1 for Vim. Though I love to get used to Emacs too.

This is great unintentional marketing for Readwise :slight_smile: I’ve really got to get into this app!

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With the talk here of text editors, I used TECO through the 70’s and into the mid 80’s when I went to Epsilon, a variation of EMACS which I used in DOS, Windows, OS/2 and now macOS. Sadly, it isn’t as good under macOS (key bindings is the major issue, plus it uses XQuartz which is never particularly nice) but with about 35 years experience I can’t let it go! The underlying extension language is basically C rather than LISP which is easier to deal with, and at least back then Epsilon was noticeably lighter weight.

Readwise is one of the few apps for which I’m willing to pay a subscription.

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