Connor Vast designs fake computer interfaces. Not the ones you see in sci-fi movies or primetime crime dramas, though he’s worked on a couple of those in the past. The interfaces he designs tend to be static: they are the screens for prop computers in furniture showrooms. Young creative professional, child of the internet, refugee of the suburban Midwest, Connor goes about his life and work in New York City with a stream of status updates flowing constantly in the background. He meets K, a gamine twenty-four-year-old who doesn’t own a cellphone. As he gets to know her, Connor realizes he’s strayed from his younger ambitions of designing real interfaces, working on real technology. He soon falls in with a group of entrepreneurs out to invent the future, but it’s the same future K is so adamantly against.
These Days is a foray into the world of startups and an examination of the human side of technology, of both the makers and the end users, who are often one and the same. It’s about finding happiness and fulfillment in the digital age; a meditation on time, memory, and things gained and lost in an accelerating world.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.
With irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan has crafted a literary adventure story for the twenty-first century, evoking both the fairy-tale charm of Haruki Murakami and the enthusiastic novel-of-ideas wizardry of Neal Stephenson or a young Umberto Eco, but with a unique and feisty sensibility that’s rare to the world of literary fiction. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave, a modern-day cabinet of wonders ready to give a jolt of energy to every curious reader, no matter the time of day.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society—from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, *Quiet *shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.
Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”
This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.
Paperback: 260 pages Publisher: Harvest / Harcourt, Inc. (1979) ISBN-10: 0156439611 ISBN-13: 978-0156439619 ASIN: B001VB0B7Y Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, now brings us a work just as astonishing and masterly: a revelatory chronicle and meditation that shows how information has become the modern era’s defining quality—the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.
The story of information begins in a time profoundly unlike our own, when every thought and utterance vanishes as soon as it is born. From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long-misunderstood talking drums of Africa, Gleick tells the story of information technologies that changed the very nature of human consciousness. He provides portraits of the key figures contributing to the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information: Charles Babbage, the idiosyncratic inventor of the first great mechanical computer; Ada Byron, the brilliant and doomed daughter of the poet, who became the first true programmer; pivotal figures like Samuel Morse and Alan Turing; and Claude Shannon, the creator of information theory itself.
And then the information age arrives. Citizens of this world become experts willy-nilly: aficionados of bits and bytes. And we sometimes feel we are drowning, swept by a deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets. The Information is the story of how we got here and where we are heading.
The Shape of Design is a book about design as a method to plan and create change. It documents the hidden steps, methods, and thoughts of the creative process to produce a field guide for the emerging skillset: improvising, creating frameworks, storytelling, and delighting audiences. It’s a handbook that explores the qualities that make for great design so we may dream big, apply the lessons to our processes, then go get our hands dirty to shape this world.
The writing career of John Berger–poet, storyteller, playwright, and essayist–has yielded some of the most original and compelling examinations of art and life of the past half century. In this essential volume, Geoff Dyer has brought together a rich selection of many of Berger’s seminal essays.
Berger’s insights make it impossible to look at a painting, watch a film, or even visit a zoo in quite the same way again. The vast range of subjects he addresses, the lean beauty of his prose, and the keenness of his anger against injustice move us to view the world with a new lens of awareness. Whether he is discussing the singleminded intensity of Picasso’s Guernica, the parallel violence and alienation in the art of Francis Bacon and Walt Disney, or the enigmatic silence of his own mother, what binds these pieces throughout is the depth and fury of Berger’s passion, challenging us to participate, to protest, and above all, to see.
We plot. We plan. We assume things are going to go a certain way. And when they don’t, we find ourselves in a new place—-a place we haven’t been before, a place we never would have imagined on our own. It is the difficult and the unexpected, and maybe even the tragic, that opens us up and frees us to see things in new ways. Many of the most significant moments in our lives come not because it all went right but because it all fell apart. Suffering does that. It hurts, but it also creates. This book is an exploration of the complex relationship between suffering and creativity, driven by the belief that there is art in the agony.
Graphic design has broadened its reach dramatically over the past decade, expanding from a specialized profession to a widely deployed skill. The rise of user-generated content, new methods of publishing and systems of distribution, and the wide dissemination of creative software have opened up new opportunities for design. More designers are becoming producers—authors, publishers, instigators and entrepreneurs—actively employing their creative skills as makers of content and shapers of experiences. Featuring work produced since 2000, Graphic Design: Now in Production explores the worlds of design-driven magazines, newspapers, books and posters; the entrepreneurial spirit of designer-produced goods; the renaissance in digital typeface design; the storytelling potential of film and television titling sequences; and the transformation of raw data into compelling information narratives. The catalogue features important original essays by leading designers that tackle themes such as the changing roles of reading and writing within the context of new technologies and self-publishing; the nature of design labor and production, from blue-collar handcraft and making to white-collar design thinking and strategy; and the impact and influence design programs and schools have had on shaping the direction of contemporary graphic design. Co-organized by Walker Art Center and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Graphic Design: Now in Production is conceived as a visual compendium in the spirit of the Whole Earth Catalogue. It features posters, info graphics, fonts, books, magazines, film titles, logos and more, interspersed with a variety of small texts delving into specific project details, excerpted artists’ statements, interviews and published manifestos, technical details, and new and old technologies and tools.
A founding member of Fluxus and the concrete poetry movement, Emmett Williams (1925-2007) made several performances and poems that stand today as defining gems of those genres. Among them is the book-length concrete poem Sweethearts, first published by Something Else Press (where Williams was editor in chief) in 1968, and back in print for the first time, still sporting its classic cover by Marcel Duchamp. Sweethearts is an anagrammatic erotic encounter between a “he” and a “she,” whose entire vocabulary is derived from the word “sweethearts.” The letters maintain the same spacing in every word on each page, lending the volume a flipbook dimension that Williams enhances by organizing the text to read backwards, so that the reader can flip the book with her or his left hand (thus the front cover is on the back, and vice versa). Richard Hamilton described Sweethearts as being “to concrete poetry as Wuthering Heights is to the English novel… compelling in its emotional scope, readable, a sweetly heartfelt, jokey, crying, laughing, tender expression of love.”
Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering. Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted. Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.