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Book Review: The Cult of LEGO by John Baichtal and Joe Meno

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The LEGO bricks that we have come to know and love were patented way back in January 1958. They are one of the most enduring toys ever created. There is a lot to love about LEGO. The basic primary colors, the interlocking universality of the bricks, the feeling that a box of them holds an infinite possibility of designs. As literal building blocks, they are unparalleled. Offer 10 people 50 identical LEGOs, and you will get 10 unique creations.

There is a new book from a personal favorite publishing house of mine called No Starch Press, titled The Cult Of LEGO, and written by John Baichtal and Joe Meno. No Starch specializes in what I like to call nerd-literature, and LEGO fits right in. The coffee-table sized book offers a history of the company, and a plethora of various uses that LEGOs have been put toward over the past 53 years.

Just about anything one may imagine can (and probably has) been built in LEGO form. This copiously illustrated tome features some unbelievably complex structures. One of the most impressive is a full-sized Tyrannosaurus rex, another beauty is a large-scale all-LEGO version of The Acropolis.

In fact, there are so many wonderful recreations done in LEGO that a full listing is practically impossible here. The photos in the book do represent them nicely, but the best way to see many of them would be to go to one of the many LEGO conventions that have sprung up over the past 20 years.

In addition to all the fun both adults and children derive from building with the bricks, there is some serious work going on as well. It has been discovered that children born with autism find a special outlet in LEGO blocks, which allows them an avenue to reach out to the world.

Funnily enough, the original LEGO patents have now expired, so the field is wide open for competitors. And while some have stepped up to try and grab a piece of this lucrative market, the LEGO corporation remains as strong as ever. Much of this must be attributed to their ongoing product development, which has led them into the fields of robotics, video games, and online sites.

As The Cult Of LEGO shows, those fun little interlocking bricks are a permanent part of the culture, and are likely to stay that way for a long time to come.

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