Book Review: The Cult of Lego

LEGO® is different from every other childhood toy you had. Sure, you might look back with a certain nostolgic fondness at your GI Joes, or your Ninja Turtles, or whatever it was that you were really into growing up, but odds are that good will doesn’t go much further than occasional remembrances. For tens of thousands of adults, their love affair with LEGO® never really ended. Sure, they might have given it up for a few years when it wasn’t “cool” (we call this the dark ages), but eventually they came back to those little plastic bricks. This is the essence of The Cult of Lego.

The book opens with an overview of LEGO® as a company, it’s history, culture, and what sets it apart from its many competitors. As a fan and a nerd, I’ve read a few histories of the company already. However, I was still quite interested here because the information was so well presented.

Once we’re done with LEGO® itself, it’s time to dive into the real heart of the book, the thriving communities of adult fans (AFOLs or Adult Fans of LEGO® ). While there are more communities out there than can reasonably be expected to be represented in a book, The Cult of Lego does a good job at hitting the high notes. The book covers everything from using LEGO® in prototyping to developing compatible accessories (BrickArms and BrickForge both get shout outs). From enormous MOCs and Vignettes, to tiny micro-scale creations. From mosiac art to robotics, brick films to brick comics.

The Cult of Lego

Yeah, about that last one. While Bricks of the Dead wasn’t fortunate enough to get featured (maybe they’ll write a sequel), two of my fellow comic creators, Lich Barrister of Ye Olde Lego-Time Theater (under the comic’s original name Meta Gear) and Captain Redstorm of Nerds in Space, did. It was pretty amazing to see their work in print.

While I’ve been back into LEGO® as an adult for a few years now, I’m constantly surprised at the different ways people are using the toy, and The Cult of Lego introduced me to a few more. Each section gives a brief but thorough overview of the subject before jumping into examples, and occasions profiles of/interviews with some of the standout builders. In almost every section I found myself saying, “I really need to try this,” or “I could really get into that.” It was just enough to give you a good taste before moving onto the next thing.

The Cult of Lego is hardbound and filled with dozens and dozens of beautifully photographed LEGO® creations. The book is divided into twelve chapters, each tackling a different aspect of LEGO® and its fandom. The flow of the book is very natural, but its arranged in a way to encourage picking it up and flipping to a random page.

My only criticism of the book is that, occasionally the margins were a little tight, leading to some content bleeding into the fold. This was generally not an issue, however, and certainly not something to get too excited about.

If you’re a fan of LEGO®, know a fan, or just in the market for a good coffee table book, check out The Cult of Lego.

Grade: A

The Cult of Lego is published by No Starch Press



Great review Dave.. I had already read another review of this book somewhere else.. but yours really made me want to get a copy.


This is definitely one that’s worth buying. I can see myself picking this back up to flip through in the future.


Sounds like an awesome coffee table book. I hate to admit it but I didn’t like Legos as a kid. I’m not that creative but my kid has made me a fan. He LOVES his Legos and totally kicks my butt when we build together.


A late bloomer!

I can’t wait for my son to get more into LEGO. He’s got some duplo blocks now, and one regular set (that’s a special toy that he only get occasionally).


You’ll see it’s awesome.
My son is nearly 4 now, he dropped his Duplos a while ago and he starts building with regular bricks.
A few things you need to be aware though:
– No matter how many sets you will get him he’ll only want to play with yours. One example: the other day I bought a bunch of Series 6 figs… and I gave him 3. I admit, I gave him the ones that I was least interested in and I placed the rest on display somewhere he could not grab them. He came to me a bit later to exchange one of his figs for one of mine!! lol…
– I did get my him some special sets like Toy Story – he does like the Figs but he looses interest in the set veeery fast, in particular if the set gets broken at some point. It’s like he fails to see that he could do something else with the thing. On the other hand, a few weeks ago I bought a bulk of 2*2 & 2*3 black bricks on ebay, I meant to use it as structural elements. My son managed to grab these.. and that’s the LEGO he has played the most with since then… he managed to build a plane and a shark out of these basic bricks! Bottom line, I’d recommend you start with the basic brick bucket – and perhaps get a couple of cool figs on BL.


That’s hilarious. I’ve already had to hide a couple of my sets, specifically my combine. I ended up just giving the kid one of my tractors.

Tom Walsh

I had actually bought my daughter (just about 4) one of the new girlier sets (though Ihave to say it’s still pretty damned awesome) from the new Lego Friends line, and she instead turned around and started playing with the wrecking ball from Ninjago…using it to it’s intended purpose on the cafe we had built for her to use. She has stolen a buch of my animals, like the original dragon from way back, but as Yatkuu said, goes back to the bricks and plates the most.


I’m intrigued by these girly sets. Looks like they have some cool parts in the,.


My son is the same. He asked for Lego City sets for Christmas since it has basic bricks and can be used across themes. He mostly likes to build boats and cars right now but loves the challenge of a large build like the Repair Garage.

Christian Matzke

Mys on will be four in a week and he’s been using Legos instead of Deplos for about 6 months. I am fascinated at his rapid growth in confidence and ingenuity. I totally agree with Yatkuu about “sets” versus a brick bucket. My son is far more creative with random bricks, but he does love minifigs. I made figures of all our family members and he roleplays with them for hours. I also made Freddie Mercury and Honus Honus (from Man Man) for him and he makes up adventures for them. It’s pretty awesome!

Silver Fox

Yep. Still want Cult of LEGO. I tried to have a “dark age” with LEGO but just couldn’t as I kept buying at least 1 tiny little set and going down the toy aisles to look at them.

My daughter has grown up with LEGO with me as an AFFOL. I just recently got her a small little Friends set as she is the girly girl who loves pink and the pink sets and those that look like a house appeal to her best.

Christmas 2010 was the last year I could get my daughter Duplo – the toy story ones. Quickly after that she wanted to play with “regular” LEGO bricks full time.

Getting back into creating with LEGO instead of just collecting the sets/models is another story.


I had a pretty lengthy dark age. Basically from about sixth or seventh grade until I was, I dunno, twenty-six or twenty-seven.


My DA was 20 years! I barely touched a brick between 12 and 32… (I’m 34 now)

Silver Fox

And how should I define the length of a DA? Days? Months? or does it go by years? If by years, in that case I can successfully say I’ve never had a proper DA where I never bought LEGO.

Silver Fox

Well then, numerous breaks as I’ve had to save up money for a large set(s) or waited for the next wave of released sets.


Oh I know those waits all too well now. Being a grown up with financial responsibilities is a total drag.


Hmm… now I’m getting interested in getting my hands on that book!

I still got a good load of my legos from old, the kids enjoy playing with them now, but my son who’s crazy with it has already thrice the bulk of bricks I ever got my hands on, and he is only 9! 😐

… and you allowed to envy your kids that much?

Silver Fox

My daughter keeps asking and wishing how she could have as many LEGOs as I do. I keep trying to explain that they are her inheritance. And technically, they’re both ours. But there is a distinct… Mama’s LEGO’s and Daughter’s LEGO’s.


I think I’ll be doing that pretty soon. My son turns three in April. He’ll figure this stuff out pretty soon.

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