The Hand, the Hound or the Truth?

book covers

Editor’s note: Sorry, this post is not about “Game of Thrones.”

George and I often get asked which book should be read first, and we don’t have a quick answer. Because our research has been a quest, we didn’t write them necessarily in the order a beginner should take them up. We both agree, though, that our most recent “From Truth to Tools” would probably be the one we’d suggest reading first. It will go a long way to help you visualize space with practical knowledge of how our tools fit into the picture.

The second pick depends on how you like to learn. Read “By Hand & Eye” if you like to know the “why” as well as the “how” behind design and proportions. Otherwise, we suggest starting with “By Hound & Eye” if you tend to learn more by doing, and you just want to get down to it. Whichever way you begin this journey, we are confident you’ll come out seeing the world – and your craft – in a whole new way.

— Jim Tolpin,

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7 Responses to The Hand, the Hound or the Truth?

  1. ericfromdayton says:

    I have all three and have read them multiple times. The latest one “From Truth to Tools” I would also suggest reading first. It lays the foundation for the others. I would also suggest buying a roll of paper to draw on that is larger than your normal 8 1/2 x 11. It helps to see things better when drawn larger. If you are the curious type, I also suggest getting a copy of Euclids Elements. You can find Euclids thirteen books of the elements as a three volume set. Euclid “proved” Pythogas’s theorem for a right triangle that A2 + B2 = C2 where A and B are the short sides and C the is the hypotenuse.


  2. John Hippe says:

    I also have all three and would agree with the above thoughts. I really enjoy each one.
    Looking forward to getting the hardbound copy of From Truth to Tools.


  3. Hugo says:

    Thanks to all ! Was just wandering also. Just bought the 2 first ones , one week ago! Damn… Will order the new one this afternoon. Thx again


  4. jayedcoins says:

    Exactly the question I asked in the last post! Thanks for answering, Jim and George (and to LAP for… hosting this site and uh, publishing the books — you know, the little things 😉 ).


  5. Keith says:

    No offense, but I found the Socratic methods in “By Hand & Eye” (at least as I remember), a bit tough to follow. By asking things like, “Which looks more appealing?” without a way to discuss pros and cons with others lost something.


  6. Matthew says:

    I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that the excerpts of these books that I’ve read have left me feeling underwhelmed. A lot of it seems like self-justification, or even begging the question in its classical sense.

    I’ve read most of the posts on this blog about them, and many comments. Chris’ often breathless fawning over the books leads me to believe that I must be missing something, but I don’t know what that could be.

    Is there any chance someone could give a personal journey on how these books changed your view of geometry, design, and the world? Is there more to these books than Euclidean geometry?

    I’m not trying to be critical here, just trying to understand if there’s a good reason to invest my money in them. If anyone wants to loan me a copy…


    • Hey Matthew,

      It might be that some of us are geometry nerds (it was the only math-related subject I enjoyed in school). Also, the excerpts are all preliminary sections of the books. I was worried that if I dropped in the advanced stuff (merchets, chorobates, spieling battens etc.) people would get scared. Each book builds on these preliminaries.

      I truly think these books are fantastic (we wouldn’t publish them if we didn’t), but not every book is for everyone.

      You might consider getting the book through Intralibrary loan (very handy and free!) before making a decision.


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