Beautiful LEGO

Book Review: Beautiful LEGO by author Mike Doyle Review by: Christopher Bolton

Date: October 11, 2013

As an AFOL (adult fan of LEGO) I often get side-long looks from my other adult friends who aren’t involved with the hobby. When I explain that LEGO is much more than just a child-centric hobby they often think back to the traditional brick on brick, blocky style of building that they were familiar with as children. Recently one of my oldest and closest friends asked me to pull out the LEGO so we could build something together and it was interesting to see how he built mostly with traditional 2 x 4 bricks in a very limited and simplistic way. I on the other hand used many different and unique parts and assembled them at all sorts of odd angles to create much more organic models. The reason I bring up this little anecdote is to explain how great Mike Doyle’s new book “Beautiful LEGO” from No Starch Press is at illustrating how complex, sophisticated and creative LEGO can actually be.

Doyle, M. (2013). Beautiful LEGO. San Francisco: No Starch Press.

Retrieved from

My first impression of Mike’s new book is that it should be on the coffee tables of every AFOL as it has incredible images of some of the most interesting LEGO models of the past few years. On the cover is an illustration of Mike’s most recent design which was featured on Kickstarter (Project Odan). As Mike started his career not as an AFOL but rather as an artist and photographer, Mike has a unique eye for good subject matter and “Beautiful LEGO” is a showcase of some of the best. The photography in this book is incredible with full pages dedicated to some of the most impressive models. Sprinkled throughout are interviews with some of the very creative an innovative builders such as Ramon and Amador Alfaro Marcilla, Jordan Schwartz, Nathan Sawaya and a personal favorite Lino Martins (creator of Hidden Treasure – 1949 Buick Fastback).With over 260 pages of photos and commentary, Mike explores so many different styles of building from pure art, to architecture and vehicles to comical cube-dudes and incredible science fiction so there is a section that is sure to please anyone. This is the sort of book you can look at with the kids (and they will enjoy it) but more significantly it is the sort of book an AFOL can hand to an uninitiated to help them understand the hobby better. Other books such as “Cult of LEGO” (also from No Starch Press) are good to share the hobby but I think “Beautiful LEGO” will help people to understand the real intrigue of the LEGO hobby and what draws us in and turns a child’s plaything into an amazingly sophisticated creative outlet.