Book of the Week

Setting the Table by Danny Meyer

It’s always interesting to see at the end of the week where my interests went for the week on the blog. If there was any pattern for the last couple of days it’s been food. Until now I really wasn’t sure where I was going to fit in the book Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. I haven’t been to many of his restaurants, but if Blue Smoke is any indication of what the potential is – he’s probably got a couple things worth hearing about. I wasn’t disappointed. While some of his experiences would seem obvious in hindsight, hearing about how he managed to grow his business was valuable. I don’t have any anecdotes or summary of the lessons of the book to share, but if you love a great meal and are interested in what has driven a successful person you could probably get more than a couple things from the book.

From Dexter Himself

Pecha Kucha 2

Please come to Dexter Sinister this FRIDAY FEBRUARY 9 2007 for a book launch of PHILIP, a novel by Mark Aerial Waller, Heman Chong, Cosmin Costinas, Rosemary Heather, Francis McKee, David Reinfurt, Steve Rushton & Leif Magne Tangen

and, Larissa Harris will be reading (quietly, in the corner and on a never-ending loop) “The Seventh Voyage” from Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences Of Ijon Tichy by Stanislaw Lem

and, Three (quite short) videos are presented by Mai Abu ElDahab (also in a never-ending loop)


Easily mistaken for the infinity sign, the Lissajous Figure is a horizontal figure-eight named after French physicist and mathematician

Jules Antoine Lissajous (1822-1880). The shape is drawn by plotting a two-variable parametric equation as it calculates and recalculates itself over time. The resulting figure is the picture of two systems falling into and out of phase.


FRIDAY FEBRUARY 9 2007 from 9PM until

Dexter Sinister
Just-In-Time Workshop & Occasional Bookstore
38 Ludlow Street (Basement)
New York City

For More Information or to Contribute, go to


While this youtube video is slightly flakey, NYLON magazine had a couple interns who didn’t want to hang out at work visit the new TASCHEN store in NYC. If you’ve never been inside it gives you an idea about what they have. Oh, btw there’s the TASCHEN Warehouse Sale: New York this weekend!Thousands of slightly damaged and display copies from TASCHEN on sale at bargain basement prices, 50-75% off! Friday January 19th, 11am to 8pm, Saturday January 20th, 11am to 8pm and Sunday January 21st, 12 to 7pm. Address is 107 Greene Street, NYC, NY 10012. More info at TASCHEN Books: Events & Exhibitions. via jhayne at Quipsologies No. 5

Nigel Holmes on Information Design

Nigel Holmes on Information Design

I picked up the book Nigel Holmes on Information Design by Steven Heller last night and was immediately drawn to the image Nigel created above. I haven’t finished the book yet, so I can’t give a full review. But from what I’ve read so far it’s worth every dollar of the twenty that I spent. I wouldn’t consider myself a total expect on information design, but I can talk Otto Neurath with the best of them. Within the first couple chapters of the discussion between Nigel and Steve, Nigel throws out a lot of names to be researched that I had never heard of before. I’m doing a lot of work with icons and other visuals to diagram information and frankly google and have helped some, but not all. This book looks like something that I’ve been missing for a while.

If there was only one suggestion from me, it would have been to show more visuals within the book. Or if there wasn’t the budget, have a secondary web site that could show images of what was being discussed.

Books on Video


I couldn’t help but notice the speed and coincidence of two books that are making the tv news circuit these days. Both books Made to Stick and Citizen Marketers have blogs, and more recently have been on tv. I only knew this b/c I’ve been visiting their sites and have been reading their self hype. Each blog site is listing where they’ve been with links to media clips. It’s an interesting progression that is only going to get louder as authours and marketers have the latitude to write whatever they want without recourse except for their time. I also wonder if the video links would be as readily available if google had not spent the money they did on youtube…

I wait for this issue every year!

I wait for this issue every year!

Over the last six years there’s been one particular issue of the NYT Magazine that I really enjoy receiving. It’s the Year in Ideas issue. Last year I almost didn’t get it in Edmonton due to some ridiculous distribution problems in Winnipeg. Eventually I had to order the magazine and it took two more weeks after the fact before it was in my hands. So you can imagine how happy I was to open my paper yesterday and see it in NYC real time.

I haven’t had the chance to really go through it yet, so I can’t really say how it rates with the previous five issues. It seems like one of my Christmas traditions when I have a couple days off is to spend a lot of time reading the current and past issues just to refresh my brain. I also try to re-read Atlas Shrugged, but that’s something for another post.

So if you’ve never heard of the Year in Ideas before, I would encourage you to pick it up or read it online HERE. to see a sample of some of the things that went on in 2006.

Citizen Marketers

Citizen Marketers

I haven’t picked the book Citizen Marketers yet, but it does sound interesting. On their Church of the Customer Blog they describe the book as this: “Citizen Marketers” is all about social media and how it’s fostering the growth of amateur culture. The early adopters of social media are at the forefront of a societal shift that’s rapidly changing the nature of marketing, public relations and corporate communications. The traditional era of one-way message delivery taught in business schools and practiced for decades by all manner of business is being supplanted by two-way and multiple-way message delivery, where everyday people are the messengers as well as the message itself.

There’s also a pretty good interview with Guy Kawasaki and the two authours at

A pattern

A pattern

I’m not sure what it takes for you to consider something a pattern, but for me it only takes two other people. If something has caught my attention and then over a period of time two other people I know mention something similar to what I’ve filed in the back of my mind – I know I should investigate it more. With that philosophy in mind I present this good link about John Maeda and the new shuffle that I’ve been playing with. Click on at Presentations and the “Laws of Simplicity” at

Profanity at the book fair

I'm such a loser to be taking photos of things like this

I was tipped off about Dexter Sinister some time ago from my friend Ray. However when I was walking around the NY Art Book Fair I felt a little lost until I reached their table upstairs. Walking around the main floor I really thought perhaps this fair was for people with a lot more knowledge about books than me. I did eventually find a couple books (Designing Interactions and The Laws of Simplicity) that interested me at M.I.T. Press.

But I still wasn’t that happy until I saw the Dot Dot Dot stuff on the table by the far wall. I forgot where I was when I blurted “holly shit“! I mean how often do you see a groups of those journals and the book from Norman Potter. I ended up picking up a collection of essays titled “The Uncertain States of the America Reader”, and hopefully a great read, “Models & Constructs” from Norman Potter. That made the fifteen minute walk from my apartment worth it…

Learning to Spectacle

Architecture and Books: Spectacle

Tonight’s design lecture was sponsored by the Architectural League and the Municipal Art Society. I came into the talk tonight without knowing much about the new book Spectacle by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau. Sometimes a little ignorance goes a long way. No preconceived ideas nor expectations. Just a guy sitting in on the conversation.

The night started off with David talking about the influences of growing up in both New Jersey, going to theater and then moving to Mexico at a young age. Reflecting on not how things looked, but what they felt helped influence some of the theories behind the book. He then moved on to defining what the working meaning of “Spectacle” means for the book. The breakdown for the what they are included Big, Bold, Brief and the what they do contained Connect, Transform and Immerse. With each of those headings he broke into simple examples that were in the book. A short two minute movie of the examples followed.

The discussion followed with Chee asking if the book’s premise was an oxymoron. Design brings order to chaos, yet under the subject headings that are Spectacle it seemed as though it was about creating chaos. The quick response was that it was more about creating opportunities, planning for spontaneity. Bruce followed that up by talking about the culture of no, regardless of the emotional effect. As opposed to cutting things down, think about the possibility. Emotional connections become real experiences.

What was really interesting was what was written on the cover of the book. Spectacle, David Rockwell with Bruce Mau. I’ve never seen a designer of the book placed in the same sentence as the author. I asked them about the line afterwards. Was it conscious or did it just happen? With some laughter it seemed like they had spent a lot of time with exactly how that was going to be expressed. David then went on to say that “it was the right thing to do”. During the discussion Chee asked Bruce about how he worked to place 3 Dimensional experiences into a book. For him it was about a cinematical experience – a sequence, flavour of expressions.

As for the overall talk tonight, the three of them shot out a lot of good sound bytes. Enough that I was curious about the book itself. With a bit of salesmanship it was mentioned that the first run of the book was sold out and that they were lucky to have enough for sale tonight. I’m not sure if I totally believed it, but it sure made people pick up the book quickly.

Book Marketing Today Online

Book Marketing Today

I don’t think one could be faulted for wondering if book publisher’s are doing all they can in this day when electronic tools can add a lot of value to a book. Publishing on demand hasn’t really taken off, nor has mainstream pdf’s of books. And then there’s audio books – why is there zero interactivity available with the electronic file? How about a book’s website, things are usually less than compelling for me to want to investigate any further?

What has impressed me though over the last two weeks has been some e-mail that I’ve received from an author’s studio and the website amazon. After talking about a “Zag” and “Whatever you think, think the opposite” on this blog, I recently got an e-mail telling me that the book Zag has finally come out (ironically I had purchased the book two days before the e-mail) and amazon telling me that since I liked Paul Arden’s books, maybe I’d like Adrian Shaughnessy’s new one. Yes, this type of e-mail could be considered spam, but on the other hand it also suggests that publishers and others really starting to make the most of opportunities with people online that are talking about books. There’s also the choice of publisher’s sending books out for review before the public sees them. I’ve received a couple of those and I plan to write a more reflective review once I’ve completed them.

And I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this promising new blog:


Whatever you think, think the opposite

I was happy to hear that Paul Arden had a second book out titled “Whatever you think, think the opposite”. I was truly inspired by his first book “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be”. What surprised me is that I somehow missed the new one at bookstores until now.

While the new title is good, I didn’t get that same rush of inspiration as the first book. Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that I was now familiar with Arden’s style of thinking. I got the feeling that this book was more of a refresher from the first. Some of the same goal themes and looking at things differently came up again.

What I would have enjoyed more is that if this book got more into from the gut stories about thinking the opposite and how to succeed from it. In the end, no amount of knowledge is going to help if you don’t decide on your own to change, but a little kick to the backside doesn’t hurt either sometimes. This book just seemed more like a self congratulator pat on the back.

What do you keep?

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Right now as I move it’s reset time for me. I have to pack light for my trip as I move east. What do you sell, donate and give away? Everything means something but what hits you hard enough to keep. What gives you enough satisfaction that you give away. What do you pass on to people that can do something more with? Those are things I’ve had to deal with lately. As much as I want to keep all my books, magazines and other things that caught my attention – realistically I knew when I bought them that it was a temporary attention grab. I knew eventually I would have to give them up. It’s only a waste when you don’t get anything from what you read.

More Video Clips

By now you’ve probably read and watched the vido clips from TED. But did you know that GEL (Good Experience Live) has posted clips of a lot of their presenters at If you don’t have the DVD, this is a good substitute to check out before signing up for the conference next year. Some of my fav. clips are from Theo Jansen, Laurie Rosenwald, Ross Kauffman and Charlie Todd. I was also introduced to the book The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto through this conference – really good book. If you’re interested in the history of NYC, this is a must.

The Designers’ Book Pool

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office_1_2, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

If you have a flickr account and luv books, you may want to check out and join The Designers’ Book Pool at You may find some gems to read.

Brand Book Promo

From the editor of the now defunct Critique Magazine and the book Brand Gap, it looks like Marty Neumeier has a new book coming out in August titled Zag. Over at the Zag site you can read a lot of the pages from a mini flash book.

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