Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I've been Reading

In Pursuit of Elegance by Matthew E. May has been quite a find for me. If you're interested in the science/art dynamic, aesthetics, and symmetry this is a book I highly recommend.

The narrative style of May features a dose of classical philosophy and enough Americana references to make the reading experience most pleasant. If you liked the HBO series the Sopranos and are a fan of aesthetics, get to the nearest bookstore and check May's book out. You'll get into it after the first few pages. It's the kind of book that begs for constant attention, hence you'll be done reading it in a very short time.

A bit says: [Elegance] is about finding the `aha' solution to a problem with the greatest parsimony of effort and expense. Creativity plays a part. Simplicity plays a part. Intelligence plays a part. Add in subtlety, economy, and quality, and you get elegance...Elegant solutions relieve creative tension by solving the problem in finito as it's been defined, in a way that avoids creating other problems that then need to be solved. Elegant solutions render only new possibilities to chase and exploit. Finally, elegant solutions aren't obvious, except, of course, in retrospect."

Grown up Digital has proven to be one of the most enlightening books of the year for me. Don Tapscott zeros in on how the new generation processes information and how conventional ideas regarding intelligence and skill sets have shifted. Tapscott explores different ways businesses can learn to apply young talent to the work place and how young people relate to new information and knowledge.

If you're a neophile, you will feel like you have found a functional home in Tapscott's book. Do read this.

Appetite for Self-Destruction by Steve Knopper will especially speak to neophiles with a strong flare for music and the music industry. The chapters about Steve Jobs' road to the 'invention' of the iPod are most exciting. Jobs, the man and the Jobs, the innovator are layered quite interestingly here.

This book explores the major shift that occurred in the music industry once music became digital. One of the albums Knopper mentions with loyal regularity is Michael Jackson's Thriller and why its success is unlikely to get replicated. When in the 80's, do as the 80's folks did.... In the digital age, users shop for tracks not albums, necessarily.

The digitization of music first and foremost means that a behavioral change has happened in the consumer. S/he can choose what to add to the library and what eventually makes it into the check-out basket. Granted, a lot of behavioral changes have had to happen in the merchandizers as well. Well, if they want to stay in the business, at least. Don't try to replicate Thriller, says Knopper, see if you can come up with a business model that can adapt to the new culture of music consumption.

Very good read, as well.

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Unknown said...

I saw Grown Up Digital on a stand the other day and wondered about it. Added it to my list.

Any new German media books you recommend?

Dana said...

Jinx! You owe me cyber coke. I'm reading these right now. Also got that Once You're Lucky book you recommended. Too much Web 2.0 jargon in my simple, lit. brain.
I'm quite taken by May's book, I have to say. The discussion of the Soprano ending made me feel like there's an audience out there who thinks in a similar fashion.
Nerdville, I like living there.....

JJ said...

The Knopper title sounds interesting. I've long maintained that the new generation speaks a different language. They get 'virtuality' way better than 'reality.'

Josh said...

Thanks for the text about the Elegance book. Read a few pages already. I'm amazed at how often Steve Jobs pops up on new books.

Josh said...

An eyeliner for someone very blonde.
Die Details in diesem Stueck fand ich echt cool!
Und wo war das? Kiel?