For people into issues of design, creativity, books (or even the very issue of the survival of physical books), Designers and Books is the best site to visit, and visit and patronize regularly. We are not much of designers in our company, as we are really a management and trading and medical equipment company; but we are aware of the importance of the concept and execution of design, not just in designing objects, but in designing as an overall concept for management and life. The sheer strength of this site is that it has top people involved in design (fashion, furniture, architecture, interior) listing their favorite books that they generously share for the curious or the fan or the just driven to learn. Okay, those out to change the world will also benefit from a visit to this site.
A small interesting fact is there are hardly any management books in the over one thousand books recommended by these high achievers. Having looked at hundreds of the recommendations, I only can recall Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship as a classic business book which made the master list (from industrial designer Tim Brown), which tends to affirm the dubious usefulness of business books as being helpful to people out there trying to set up innovative enterprises. Not surprisingly, books about building or designing classics like bicycles and violins have made the reading list of many people. Yet imaginative literature, or fiction, are all over the site and James Joyce’s Ulysses and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities being the most cited; and our personal favorites, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Nabokov’s hilarious Lolita are there as well (gratifying and flattering those of us in the company who majored in literature, not the more fashionable design or fine arts, in college). This tends to affirm our belief, spoken of as well by Michael Eisner (former CEO of Disney), that literature (novels, short stories, plays) are essential to feeding the human imagination to create, innovate, and interact with and in the world.
Books are in a precarious time these days, if we are to believe many who have declared the death of books as we know it; but for those of us who believe that print is still very much viable, which the recent issue of the Economist (October 11, 2014) shows is making a strong comeback for publishers in terms of income, this site is an incredible resource, a delight to visit, and we can only hope it thrives without having or needing to be acquired by Amazon or some such giant, whose love for books is at best questionable (no matter how innovative they are). We definitely, even if we have never won its regular book lottery (which we admittedly have), love Designers and Books. Visit the site, learn, and be affirmed that intense creativity is happening all around us. We can even contribute to that great human endeavor, and this site encourages that kind of magical thinking. Congratulations to its editor Steven Kroeter and his incredible team.