Why Knot?


Published by ABRAMS (Ignition)
“Mr. Petit is the perfect teacher” in this fascinating, educational volume on knot-tying—an art and science that has held civilization together (The Wall Street Journal).

Philippe Petit is known for his astounding feat of daring when, on August 7, 1974, he stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. But beyond his balance, courage, and showmanship, there was one thing Petit had to be absolutely certain of—his knots. Without the confidence that his knots would hold, he never would have left the ground. In fact, while most of us don’t think about them beyond tying our shoelaces, the humble knot is crucial in countless contexts, from sailing to sports to industrial safety to art, agriculture, and more.

In this truly unique book, Petit offers a guide to tying over sixty of his essential knots, with practical sketches illustrating his methods and clear tying instructions. Filled with photos in which special knots were used during spectacular high-wire walks, quirky knot trivia, personal anecdotes, helpful tips, magic tricks, and special tying challenges, Why Knot? will entertain and educate readers of all ages.

“In reading Philippe’s book we are cogently reminded that without the ability to secure a rope, or tether a goat, or make fast the sheets of a galley, much of the civilization that we take for granted would disappear as easily as a slipknot in the hands of a Vegas conjuror.” —Sting, musician and activist

“His descriptions are clear, he deploys humor frequently and he makes his points with anecdotes that are colorful and memorable. Explaining the purpose and creation of knots and thanks to those flawless drawings Mr. Petit earns perfect marks.” —The Wall Street Journal

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