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What Would MacGyver Do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life
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What Would MacGyver Do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life

2.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  209 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
In the spirit of the bestselling Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook comes a clever collection of true stories celebrating real-life "MacGyverisms"

You're driving on a deserted road when your car dies. Your cell phone isn't getting service. All you have on hand are a gum wrapper and a wire hanger.

Or maybe you're living in a building without central air conditioning in

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 19th 2006 by Hudson Street Press (first published 2006)
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ஐ Briansgirl (Book Sale Queen)ஐ
If you're a big MacGyver fan, you might like this book. I certainly wouldn't pay the recommended price of $11 for it. I got it on sale for $2.97 and that was about right. It's full of lil 2 to 4 page stories of average joe's "pulling a macgyver" to get themselves out of tight situations. Some are funny and ingenious, and some are just boring. (I really don't care how to make an illegial bong out of a potato so I can smoke dope.) The book was okay, it passed the time when I was stuck in waiting r ...more
I wasn’t originally going to write anything about this book but as I was reading through it I kept thinking more things about the book and so I wanted to talk about this book and what I thought of it.
For starters, the title and cover are so misleading it isn’t funny. Yeah sure, these are stories where some people act on a whim but so many of them were things that weren’t really what I would consider to be genius. Most of the stories were things that people would do given those situations. For ex
Nov 22, 2008 Blake rated it liked it
Humorous and cliched, this is a collection of real-to-life stories from real people who were stuck in situations that could only be solved with the help of chewing gum, a paperclip, and a feathered mullet. It's worth reading simply for the shear joy of silly situations, and it's worth owning because it is a conversation starter and a fun thing to have for folks who may need a textual laxative when they visit your bathroom.
Dec 16, 2011 Lafcadio rated it did not like it
Shelves: classy, shorts, released
I was unimpressed by this book. I watched a lot of MacGyver in my day, and he used his extensive knowledge of chemistry and physics, as well as common, everyday objects to solve uncommon problems.

The people in this book used objects for their exact intended purposes, such as:

Getting into a locked car with: Keys!
Stopping a car with: The Emergency Brake!
Killing a mouse with: Mouse Poison!
Cutting metal with: An Acetylene Torch!
Reattaching a small plastic broken thing with: Super Glue!
Raising someth
Oct 05, 2009 Nick rated it did not like it
This book is awful. It should be called: "What would you do if you had any common sense at all? True stories of people doing boring things and barely thinking for themselves."

One of the stories was pretty clever. The others? Incredibly ordinary. To make it worse, each story is way too long and the author sets up each group of stories with a completely worthless introduction.

Here are some examples of these "genius stories."
1. Truck is rolling downhill. Guy jumps in truck and hits brakes.
2. Tail
Wayne Owens
As a young kid in the 80s, and one who also carried a swiss army knife and other random junk at all times. (Hell you never know when you have to disarm a missile full of explosives with nothing but a paperclip and some old gum!) I used to love watching MacGyver after all he was "almost" as creative and smart as my younger self believed me to be ;-)

Over the years especially as an adult, I have often MacGyverd something or other. OK never to save the planet or prevent a natural disaster, but it st
Dec 17, 2014 Judy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book title is catchy, but misleading. I wouldn't have minded if they had put a disclaimer in the beginning of the book stating that the original premise of the book actually morphed into something different in its creation. It became a series of short stories about situations that may or may not (usually not) have been considered Macgyver type situations and solutions, but were hopefully entertaining nonetheless. I would have appreciated this and would have been able to proceed to enjoy the ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Posicat rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2011 Oceana2602 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks of the technical-improvising and gadget-loving kind
My inner geek made me buy this book, and I don't mean the technical-improvising gadget geek, which I have yet to discover within myself, but my inner Richard Dean Anderson/Stargate SG-1 and (as collateral damage) MacGyver fan-geek. Cause that's the kind of geek that I am.

That's also not the kind of geek I would recommend this book to, because it has nothing to do with Richard Dean Anderson or MacGyver, except that it contains stories of people improvising in unlikely situations (I'd give you exa
Oct 07, 2011 Ibis3 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for quick anecdotes to read in the bathroom
It was okay, but not as good as the premise promised. I was kind of expecting tales of quick thinking and resourcefulness in using everyday things at hand to solve problems. There was some of this, but often, the stories told more of common sense than original thinking. Like using cologne to mask body odour. Not a big leap, even if the circumstances were unusual. Asking some nearby construction workers to push someone's car--well I've done something similar. No biggie. Asking neighbours to help ...more
Dec 18, 2013 Judy rated it it was ok
I was expecting much, much more from this book. Based on the title, I assumed that it would be tales of people reaching into the depths of their ingenuity to solve problems with objects snatched from the area around them. Not so much. Angus MacGyver would not be impressed. Many of the stories were based on common sense--a truck is rolling down a hill and the "improvised genius" was to jump in and put on the brake. Really? Who would have thought of that? The one story that I thought could be usef ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Cameron rated it did not like it
Shelves: instructional
this book is not what it seams. this book sucks! there are one or two true macgyver stories but the rest are junk. one story is how a girl got her boyfriend to wear better pants... what does that have to do with a macgyver moment??? I wish I was making that up. waste of time.
Jan 03, 2016 Jeni rated it it was ok
Listened to the audiobook as I put up floating shelves in the office (for inspiration maybe?) It had potential with the U Waterloo story but it turned out to be little more than a gimmick.
John Mangan
Jun 07, 2011 John Mangan rated it did not like it
I was very interested in reading this book because I personally have always been some what of a "MacGyver" long before the TV show was around.

While many of the stories were indeed creative solutions to common or unique problems, none really grabbed me as being earth shattering.

I found myself skipping ahead on many stories where I could predict the outcome. This may be an interesting book for people like the author, who claims he is far from the MacGyver type himself.

For technically minded peop
Useless. No, worse - shameful. This book has NOTHING to do with MacGyver - it's a collection of lame stories of "innovation" by the author's Generation X friends. Okay, maybe MacGyver got a little carried away saving the Western World from the Soviet threat (hey, it was the Cold War era), but he'd blush at the shameless story of the "clever" girl who figured out how to keep her ripped panties up after a steamy tryst in the closet at her best friend's boring party. Don't waste your money or your ...more
Ron Fitzwater
Mar 19, 2014 Ron Fitzwater rated it it was amazing
Break out your Swiss Army knife, and save the planet.
Jul 20, 2007 Adrienne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: all MacGyver fans
My brother and I have been MacGyver fans for years. When the show originally on TV, we watched every Monday night. Since then, we've become fans of all "throw-back" MacGyver references. This book is a great example of the ongoing appeal of MacGyver, and probably will prompt anyone who reads it to recall a time in his/her own life when a MacGyverism was generated. Some of the tales are utter genius, some are a bit long and anticlimactic, while others I have used in my own life (e.g. paper-clippin ...more
Jun 14, 2009 Christopher rated it it was ok
This a good bathroom-read book. Stories are short enough that no one is banging on the door waiting fro the loo and you don't even need to read things in order (though I did because I'm just wired that way).

Some stories are fun, some miss the mark a bit, several area real stretch to fit the MacGyver-ism rubric. I'm not sure I'd by it, but it was a nice stocking-stuffer (yes, it took 6-months to find enough bathroom breaks to get it life is different than yours).
Sep 28, 2013 April rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book as MacGyver reminds me of my childhood. My friends frequently called my dad MacGyver as he was great at fix everything many times with duct tape or as we called "MacGyver" tape. It has made we want to watch MacGyver re-runs on Netflix. On side note I find it sightly ironic that I now use decorative "MacGyver" tape to make purses, hairbows and flower with the girls.
May 03, 2010 Phil rated it it was ok
The concept was sound, but the execution was poor. The author took a very liberal approach to what counted as a MacGyverism. So instead of being a book about cool, on-the-fly inventions, the scope was broadened to crafty verbal manipulation, tales of drinking ones own urine, and other not-ver-impressive stories. Some of the stories were good, but most of them were very, very weak.
Dec 15, 2007 Erin rated it it was ok
The stories were fun. I always enjoy hearing about MacGyverisms and unique ways that people save the day. I guess I just found the stories a bit ordinary. Maybe I was looking for more excitement and explosions or for MacGyver himself to pop out of the book (oh boy, wouldn't that have fulfilled many of my adolescent dreams?!). It's a fun book, but just didn't hit the spot for me.
I loved watching 'MacGyver' as a kid and when I got this book I wanted to see what creative ideas people could come up with. The book starts out good, but some of the later stories should not have been included because they are just nonsense... I think some people have never even watched the show to actually come up with a bright idea that could "save the day".
Mar 02, 2008 Rosemary rated it liked it
Shelves: bathroom-library
The title alone warrants at LEAST 2 stars. Unfortunately, most of the tales of MacGyverisms fall short in their ingenuity, or even, at times, their MacGyveresque-ness. Those that do achieve both, however, make you want to go out and figure out how to build a well for starving children out of a bird's nest, duct tape, and a hanger.
❂ Jennifer
I love love love MacGyver and was very excited to get this book. While all of the stories were entertaining, quite a few of them would not strictly fall under the category of "MacGyverisms". Still, a few are sheer genius and the book was a quick, entertaining read with moments of "wow, that's genius!" here and there.
Ed Heichel
Dec 11, 2012 Ed Heichel rated it did not like it
Should be titled "What Would Pretentious People Do?" Maybe 2 stories in the whole book about ingenuity. Other stories include making a martini, and tying a knot in ripped underwear. It's like listening to that person at the party that has to tell you this awesome story from when they were in college for a couple hundred pages.
Sep 02, 2012 Dad rated it liked it
Some of these supposedly MacGyver moments were a real stretch, but some were clever and even more were funny. The most clever was probably the first one: the lady who used Chex Party Mix to get her car out of an icy parking space at a motel. (I would have gone back and eaten the parts I liked afterwards, but she did not.)
May 14, 2013 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
The most clever and interesting stories were in the book's earliest chapters. Toward the end, it felt like the author chose tales that were less MacGyver-ish (in my opinion) in an attempt to actually have enough for a book. Overall, not a bad book, but it could have been much better.
David Brzezinski
Some interesting stories, even a couple that do seem to be inspired by the television show that the book draws its inspiration from. But the introductions to each section lean more to the lackluster, sometimes more or less recapping each of the stories that are in the section.
Dec 24, 2008 Marcia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up-books, ya
These short stories of "Macgyverisms" were a fun distraction while I was doing my holiday baking. I never watched the show, but was familiar with the concept. I appreciated the creativity that the contributors showed. This may appeal to YAs too, especially hands-on type guys.
Jason Stenger
Sep 04, 2014 Jason Stenger rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Just not for me. I just could not get into these tales of everyday resourcefulness. Only a couple stories in and I gave up. The writing was ok, but the stories just didn't interest me.
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