Robert Paul Smith

Robert Paul Smith is the author of the best-selling Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing. and of the novels So It Doesn’t WhistleThe JourneyBecause of My Love, and The Time and the Place. Smith was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from Columbia College in 1936. He worked as a writer with CBS Radio.


  • “Every great book reminds us that we’re all alone in the world. At least this one provides us with the means to entertain ourselves while we’re here.”

    —Lemony Snicket

  • “A celebration of makers and hackers from half a century before they were called makers and hackers. How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is a treat in its totality.”

    —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

  • “It’s what you’d get if you crossed the Boy Scout Handbook with The Anarchist’s Cookbook, and it’s definitely the wildest how-to manual I’ve seen this year.”

    —Greg Cowles, The New York Times Paper Cuts

  • “Had I known about it, Robert Paul Smith’s 1958 book, How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, would have been my Bible. Smith gets down to the nitty-gritty on the first page: ‘These are things you can do by yourself,’ he writes. ‘You don’t need any help from your mother or your father or anybody.'”

    the Star Tribune

  • “This classic 1958 guide reintroduces kids to those natural urges that have to turn random objects into crazy great stuff…Readers will love that everything in this book was invented by kids and passed along by kids, that nothing costs money and that each of the projects is a seat-of-the-pants creation.”

    —Where the Best Books Are!

  • “What a joy to give children something they can do without ‘hollering for help’…How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself is replete with the sort of fun that childhood should be, and too rarely is.”