Stranded: 12 Desert Island Reads for the Marooned Architect July 19, 2010Posted by randydeutsch in architect types.
Growing up, my uncle, a high-powered attorney, once said to me that his best friends and favorite people were architects.
They’re fascinating, he said.
With all architects need to learn, keep up with and know, fascinating is not a word you often hear these days associated with most architects.
Part of what I always believed made architects fascinating – in addition to their life experiences, tastes and travels – was the books they read.
There are always must-read architecture books and you could do far worse than read the hottest summer business books such as Rework by 37signal’s Jason Fried, or Seth Godin’s Linchpin, or Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy.
Read them along with the rest of the world, that is.
This is a time to stand out, to distinguish yourself, in all ways but especially in your reading material.
A time to read a book for you and you alone.
Pick a Book, but Not Just Any Book
Not necessarily a favorite book. Just a book, that for sentimental, hard-to-explain reasons, you can’t live without.
Here are twelve books I cannot live without.
Why these twelve?
Each is guaranteed to provide you with a transformative experience.
No summer escapism here – you can get that from any old beach book.
Here’s the criteria I used to select these books:
- not fiction, not about architecture or self-improvement
- will force you to open your mind and get you out of your rut and help you to see things differently and to see the bigger picture
- make you more interesting to your peers, contacts and clients
- enlightening, interesting, fun-to-read books – architects used to be interesting and fun. These books promise to keep you that way
- girth, length, substance but also weighty – these are doorstoppers – page for page you really get your money’s worth
- can be found in paperback or Kindle for under $10 (though your Kindle may be hard to recharge on the island)
- not pimping or promoting a book by a living author – these are all 5-star books – all recognized living classics. Titles that could be considered by a reading connoisseur as their one and only book they’d take with them to a desert island
- all will provide you with memorable, unforgettable, guaranteed to be a favorite, life-changing experience
- nominally obscure and forgotten chefs d’ouevre that can be found at a bookstore, such as The Strand in NYC
Thus the double entendre title of this post: stranded.
No Architect’s Education is Ever Complete
These are the books I’d take with me if stuck on an island for a year.
In fact, with 12, there’s one for every month of the year.
I could explain how and why each is relevant to me or you, the architect, but instead I’ve provided you with the title and a link – and left the rest up to you.
Have fun exploring!
Here’s to a year of exceptional reading.
1. Life of Johnson
2. A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science
Also by the same author
There’s now even a kid’s version
And lastly, 2 bonus books you no doubt never heard of – but would be remiss to overlook – of such fantastical proportions they can be said to not exist at all…
The Codex Seraphinianus is a book written and illustrated by the Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini during thirty months, from 1976 to 1978. The book is approximately 360 pages long (depending on edition,) and appears to be a visual encyclopedia of an unknown world, written in one of its languages, a thus-far undeciphered alphabetic writing. (Wikipedia)
Find it here for free
Publisher: Rizzoli; 1st US Edition edition (1975) Language: English, Italian
Is there a book you would recommend that you don’t see here? Have you read one of these books and disagree? Should architects just stick with reading architecture books? Let me know.