Chances are you've seen the lengths to which the human race is capable of going with a Lego brick. If not, here's a primer. Among the objects people have managed to render in Lego are the Titanic, Mount Rushmore, the Airbus A380, the Cathedral of Berlin and the entire city of Venice. Legoland, Calif., features an Obama inauguration in Lego, complete with a crowd in front of the Capitol. A vineyard in Surrey, England, contains an entire Lego house—human scale. And a 98-foot, 4-inch tower of Lego raised in Munich last year took the Guinness record for tallest freestanding Lego structure.
Lots of people love their brands, but you just don't see people devoting their lives to stuff like mouthwash or potato chips the way people do with Lego. Now, thanks to Jonathan Bender, we know what makes them tick. Bender's just-released book, Lego: A Love Story, probes deep into the arcana of plastic bricks—also known as the domain of AFOL (the Adult Fans of Lego)—to explain why some people give over their basements to their Lego creations and what it takes to be chosen as a Master Builder for the Lego company (hint: you'd better know how to make more than a ski hut).
Bender's first-person account makes for good reading, but what bears mentioning in all this is that a planet's worth of Lego nuts have furnished the Lego Corporation—which started out in Denmark as a wooden-toy maker in 1934—with the best marketing on earth: the kind customers do for you, for free.
—Posted by Robert Klara