If You Plan to Build a House, You Must Read This Book

If you’re building a house or planning a good-sized remodel, you should read “House” by Tracy Kidder. It’s one of the top 10 books I’ve ever read. Kidder, who won a Pulitzer Prize for a previous book on the birth of personal computers, “Soul of a New Machine,” hangs out for a year with Apple Corps, a team of homebuilders in Maine, as they build a new luxury home for some wealthy and difficult clients.

Kidder is a compelling, lucid writer, and captures the building process giving equal time to each of the three parties: architect, homebuilders and clients. Time called it “a subtle examination of cultural and class differences.” Author Anne Tyler wrote in the Boston Globe: “A cliffhanger. . . I read it in one sitting. You’ll be fascinated.”

Other books that deal with homebuilding tell you the ins and outs of a contract or working with an architect, but this book brings it to life in a true tale, my favorite kind. To get the best work out of a homebuilder, it helps to understand his mindset. This book shows you that.

Have you read it?