In today's world of duct tape, quick-release belts, and bungee cords, no skill demonstrates manly competence so quietly but conclusively as the ability to make rope do your bidding. Knowing this, I recently began buying books on the subject: The Klutz Book of Knots, The Morrow Guide to Knots, and others. Eventually, I discovered The Ashley Book of Knots: 640 pages, 3,854 knots, and 7,000 illustrations. Published in 1944, it has reigned unchallenged ever since. It is the bible, encyclopedia, and mother of all knot books.