“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”
— Ping Fu’s “Shanghai Papa”
A few months ago, Ping Fu told me her moving and inspiring life story on a flight from Colorado to NYC. I have never been as touched by a person’s life journey, ever. Ping is an extraordinary woman. She knows what it’s like to be a child soldier, a factory worker, and a political prisoner. To be beaten and raped for the crime of being born into a well-educated family. To be deported with barely enough money for a plane ticket to a bewildering new land. To start all over, without family or friends, as a maid, waitress, and student.
Ping Fu also knows what it’s like to be a pioneering software programmer, an innovator, a CEO, and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. To be a friend and mentor to some of the best-known names in technology. To build some of the coolest new products in the world. To give speeches that inspire huge crowds. To meet and advise the president of the United States.
It sounds too unbelievable for fiction, but this is the true story of a life in two worlds. And I am thrilled that she is sharing it with the world, with her upcoming book Bend, Not Break. It is a tribute to one woman’s courage in the face of cruelty and a valuable lesson on the enduring power of resilience.
My studiomate Raul recently started a new kids app company called Tinybop.
Raul is an authority like no other when it comes to kids stuff. He has a keen eye and outstanding taste. I am super-excited about the launch of his Tinybop blog on which he is reviewing kids related apps, books, music and sites.
Want to find something perfect for a specific age, refine the results with the age slider on the top right.
Alex Cornell published Breakthrough!, a book compiling strategies for combating creative block. Advice is offered by a who’s who of leading graphic designers, typographers, cartoonists, photographers, illustrators, musicians, writers, and other creative professionals.
One of the lines that stood out to me in the book, while flipping through the pages was by Ben Barry’s advice: “A deadline is always the best cure.” I agree to that. Or, take Mark Johns: “Pretend you’re an opossum!” Ha!
Insites features no code snippets and no design tips; instead, 20 personal conversations with people I personally look up to in our web community.
Read about Jason Santa Maria, Cameron Moll, Ethan Marcotte, Alex Hunter, Brendan Dawes, Simon Collison, Dan Rubin, Andy McGloughlin, Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka, Josh Brewer, Ron Richards, Trent Walton, Ian Coyle, Mandy Brown, Sarah Parmenter, Jim Coudal, Jeffrey Zeldman, Tim Van Damme, and Jon Hicks (oh and yours truly).
I started reading some of the stories and I am being reminded that even the biggest successes have the smallest, most humble of beginnings. Get your copy of Insites!
FREITAG recently published a new book called Out of the Bag. I got my hands on a copy and if you’re like me, fascinated by the FREITAG story, then you should get yourself a copy. The book looks at how this small, SWISS creative start-up became a large brand with such an incredibly strong identity. FREITAG’s history and processes are explained, commented upon, and presented in often surprising ways.
For the past year, Andrew Zuckerman has been working on a new book, entirely dedicated to the beautiful world of Flowers. Created with the support of the New York Botanical Garden, the Smithsonian Institute, and The Fairchild Tropical Garden, the images in FLOWER encompass over 200 species of flora.
The book, will be available this November, but for now you can admire the photos in the project’s microsite.
I admire how Andrew considers the development of the microsite as an integral piece to the finished work. At flowerthebook.com, you can explore images and species not included in the book, the botanical information for all of the varieties on the site, and time lapse films of the life cycle of 7 species.
Congratulations Andrew, on yet another beautiful art piece.
This coming October, Princeton Architectural Press is publishing a new book titled Instant: The Story of Polaroid by Christopher Bonanos. It documents the story of visionary genius founder, Edwin Land, and how he grew Polaroid from a 1937 garage startup into a billion-dollar pop-culture phenomenon. Steve Jobs considered Land a personal hero and modeled Apple after Polaroid.
Mash-up! features stories from people who have “mashed up” their careers and of organizations from a range of industries. Obviously the days of being defined by a single job title are vanishing. The future of business is project-based, rather than role-based, and the people who will thrive in this kind of economy are labeled by Fast Company as “Generation Flux” – adaptable, multi-talented people with “a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates – and even enjoys – recalibrating careers, business models and assumptions.”
Watch Ian Sanders, co-author of “Mash-up! talk about the book in this brief video. Just downloaded the Kindle edition, can’t wait to start reading it tonight.
Elegantissima is the first monograph on Louise Fili‘s work and covers the breadth of her nearly forty-year design career. Featuring case studies showing sketches, references, inspiration, and design process, it’s a must-have for graphic design students and professionals, as well as anyone interested in advertising, food, restaurants, Italy, and books.
They have only been in business for two years, yet launched two successful Kickstarter projects, paving the way for a new era of independent hardware manufacturing.
According to their site, the book was written to offer guidance and inspiration for those charting a similar path, and covers topics such as running a small business, creating hardware products independently, launching a Kickstarter project, and tips for promoting your products.
It Will Be Exhilarating is a short read that will provide the needed kick to start making stuff. There isn’t a better time than now.
Craig Mod just published the digital edition of Art Space Tokyo in several formats, across multiple platforms.
This launch is of course about the book, but perhaps more pressingly, it’s about what a contemporary digital book looks like — scattered and disjointed, spread across multiple platforms in various states of open and closed. Read his thoughtful post, titled Platforming Books.
This October, Designers & Books are hosting the first-ever book fair in New York City to focus on architecture and design book publishing.
The Designers & Books Fair will feature an exhibition hall filled with U. S. and European publishers displaying and selling their new Fall and holiday season 2012 design titles, as well as important backlist titles.
Booksellers and rare and out-of-print book dealers specializing in design books will also be displaying and selling books. Renowned designers and design world personalities will be participating in panel discussions, interviews, and special presentations. Fantastic!
TED just launched TED Books, short original electronic books produced every two weeks by TED Conferences.
Like the best TEDTalks, they’re personal and provocative, and designed to spread great ideas. TED Books are typically under 20,000 words — long enough to unleash a powerful narrative, but short enough to be read in a single sitting.
“These Days” is about Connor Vast, a guy who designs fake computer interfaces for plastic prop displays in furniture showrooms. He meets a girl who doesn’t own a cellphone and is as disconnected as he is connected. As their relationship develops, he falls in with a group of entrepreneurs out to invent the future, but it’s the same future she’s rebelling against. It’s a story about the human side of technology—the people who make it, the reasons they build, and the people on the other end.
If this sounds like something you’d like to read (I do) then go and support Jack’s Kickstarter.
Don’t know how Jack Cheng is? Visit his site and check out some of his articles.
Blurb’s Instagram Books make me so happy. Can’t wait until my son’s It’s Hard Being Two Tumblr has enough images to make a book out of it. We live in such an exciting time. The fact, that anyone (with a computer and internet connection) can create books on the fly, is simply amazing.
I was tweeting earlier about two boxes of books in our coworking space that are hoping to find a new home. Most of them brandnew. Ivete Tecedor pointed me to ReLIT NY, a free reading program that collects your old, unwanted books and recycles them back to the public.
Brook Drop Sites include Whole Foods at Union Square, and Columbus & 97th Street and The Invisible Dog, on 51 Bergen Street in Brooklyn! YAY!
ReLIT NY is completely volunteer run and therefore gets two swissmiss thumbs up!
Wonderful talk by Craig Mod on how great design is born from nourishing habits.
The best designer is an aware designer. The best design solutions are found by deconstructing problems as they arise in our own lives. What habits can we as designers form to provide us with a more objective clarity in answering these problems? How can we apply these solutions to existing products? When is it time to build new products? There is an intersection between the cultivation of habit, personal experience and design application – it is nourishing and magic and something we should all strive to evoke.