book review: Design – a Tom Peters essential

my mom bought me this book. she doesn’t work in design and never has so she is forgiven. I’ve been reading it to get some outsider perspective on design for a job I’m working on.

Even though Tom believes design is at the heart of business, he doesnt seem to think people judge a book by its cover. Which is why he designed it himself. In PowerPoint.

Even though Tom believes design is at the heart of business, he doesn't seem to think people judge a book by its cover. Which is why he designed it himself. In PowerPoint.

The Economost calls him ‘The Uber-Guru’, so he must be worthy of some sort of worship. His writing, not so much. The content is not that bad – his sentiment is actually good. He elaborates on Design being the new currency, the only point of differentiation in business these days. Which is true.

But the fact that every second word is either bold or in italics serves to only emphasise my slight stigmatism.  It’s filled with little boxes that says things like “We are A-L-L designers”. Tom likes to spell things out. To help you see what I mean I have taken some photos.

I think what Tom is trying to do is emphasise the word all. He really means it.

I think what Tom is trying to do is emphasise the word "all". He really means it.

Just in case you thought it said Things that make me rad. R-A-D.

Just in case you thought it said "Design is why I get rad. R-A-D."

Take note all you young uns who spell this word L-U-V.

"Take note all you young 'uns who spell this word L-U-V."

Tom also uses quite a few inverted commas, which results in me wondering just what it is he R-E-A-L-L-Y M-E-A-N-S.

Is he referring to something else by putting dreams in inverted commas? Is this a code? What could dreams stand for? Is Tom being ironic? After a good 10 minutes thought along these lines, i finally turned the page. Defeated.

Is he referring to something else by putting dreams in "inverted commas"? Is this a code? What could "dreams" stand for? Is Tom being ironic? After a good 10 minutes thought along these lines, i finally turned the page. Defeated.

If someone asked me who I was, I would naturally think they were referring to who I am these days. But now Toms pulling a fast one on me again - should one be thinking about who one was, or who one is yet to be, when one is asked the question, Who are you? Have I been answering this question wrong all along, telling people I am a writer from Cape Town when I should be telling them about one of my other lives as a slave in borneo? Will anyone ever really know the answer to this question?

If someone asked me who I was, I would naturally think they were referring to who I am - these days. But now Tom's pulling a fast one on me again - should one be thinking about who one was, or who one is yet to be, when one is asked the question, "Who are you?" Have I been answering this question wrong all along, telling people I am a design writer from Cape Town when I should be telling them about one of my other lives as a slave in borneo? Will anyone ever really know the answer to this question?

The following page stopped me in my speed-reading tracks. My twitching eyes were drawn to a US Marshall’s sheriff badge. What could that possibly be doing in here? I wondered. And then I read the words underneath the badge.

Design cops! What a brilliant I-D-E-A! I feel inspired. I suspect they might do the kind of job a Creative Director might do, but its the cop part Im so down with. Im considering getting a badge for my boss to wear.

Design cops! What a brilliant I-D-E-A! I feel "inspired". I suspect they might do the kind of job a Creative Director might do, but it's the cop part I'm so down with. I'm considering getting a badge for my boss to wear.

I don’t think I could with good conscience recommend this book. The layout and design alone might take your genetic predisposition to epilipsy and turn it into a thriving condition. I do, however, appreciate Tom Peters’s passion for and belief in design as the way forward for business, even though I wonder why a designer wasn’t employed to make the book walk the walk. Hell, what am I saying. They probably did have a designer, but he was just so damn scared of those design cops that this was the best they could get out of him once they’d managed to coax him out of his lift shaft hidey hole.

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