Author: ratcliff

Origin Story, Part 1

As a child of the 70s, there were many outside influences that had a tremendous impact on me that only until recently have I comet to realize to what depth.

When I was a kid I was quite sickly, suffering from allergies and asthma like no one’s business. Living in Houston, Texas did not help matters, as year-round pretty something from every season triggered problems. Needless to say, I missed a fair amount of school. I don’t remember much of first grade, or 2nd for that matter.

What I do remember most from that time is television and comic books, things that kept my mind busy and entertained since there was little else I could do. Laying on the sofa with big stacks of comics I would read and reread. Most of those books are permanently committed to memory, as demonstrated when I watch an Avengers or X-Men movie with my family and know the plot line before anyone else.

 

 

But television was the other constant companion. Captain Kangaroo when I was younger. Also Watergate, Viet Nam and Apollo missions. I dreamt about living in SkyLab, until it fell out of orbit and crashed in Australia.

But one of the shows I am convinced had a huge impact on my life was The Price is Right. I religiously watched it when I was home convalescing, and over summer breaks before heading out to the neighborhood pool for a swim. I know that part of the attraction was pretty girls parading around in bikinis while Bob Barker led contestants through ridiculous games.

 

 

Looking back the show, what amazes me is at its core, The Price is Right is some of the most brilliant advertising ever conceived. Consumer bloodsport. The contestants would come to blows if necessary to win a can of Turtle Wax. All their hopes and dreams were wrapped up in that new blender or matching set of luggage. Life or death hinged on the careful analysis of the price of an AMC Pacer.

I can remember more of The Price is Right than I can kindergarten. This explains a lot.

John Berger

As noted in an earlier post, one of the most influential books I’ve read is John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. It should be mandatory for artists, and recommended for anyone wanting to lead and live a richer life. Berger passed away on 02-Jan, sad news so early in the new year. For the uninitiated, The Guardian as a number of articles they’ve run on Berger that are some fine first steps into understanding the man and his work. Although I am not necessarily a fan of his politics, his philosophy is both thoughtful and timeless. Rest in peace, Mr Berger.

John Berger, art critic and author, dies aged 90
Booker-prize-winning author of titles including Ways of Seeing, G and A Painter of our Time had been living in Paris

British Library harvests archive of novelist John Berger
Writer’s papers come at a price – helping with haymaking on the farm

John Berger: ‘If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen’
On the eve of his 90th birthday, one of the most influential writers of his generation talks about migration, Brexit, growing old – and his fondness for texting

John Berger: ‘Writing is an off-shoot of something deeper’
Language can’t be reduced to a stock of words. Most political discourse is inert and ruthlessly complacent

2017.01.02 Links

A small sampling of articles read over the holiday break:

Three Mindset Shifts to Achieve Financial Freedom Within 10 Years

7 Podcasts to Help You Think Differently in 2017
Challenge yourself in myriad ways with these 2017 must-listens.

Get Your Personal Finances in Order for 2017 by Reading These 8 Books
Lay the groundwork for a profitable 2017 with a little end-of-the-year reading.

30 Books You Need to Read to Earn ‘Well-Read’ Status
With this list, you’ll feel like you can dominate the Trivial Pursuit literature section.

6 Top Reasons Your Employees Are Not Creative at Work
Something happens to employees when they move from a startup to Corporate America. They lose their creativity. Here is why, and what you can do to stop it.

What Today’s Students are Taught About Design’s Shifting Landcape
Sean Adams + Rachel Troye take teaching seriously

A Brutally Realistic Guide To Your “Dream Job” Of Working For Yourself
Here’s how to nail the “living” part of “living the dream.”

Michael Bierut on Honesty, Taste & Intelligence

Why Sagmeister and Walsh works

How the Hyphen Is Shaping the Future of Advertising
Ability to do more than one thing is freeing transcreatives

5 Pieces of Wisdom from Japanese Graphic Designer Kenya Hara

Meet the Marketing Dream Team of the Future
And then watch them turn your brand blog into a successful content marketing machine

How To Be Your Own Leadership Development Coach
When it’s time to take leadership development into your own hands, here are six places to start.

Ideo’s CEO On How To Lead An Organization Creatively
Creative leadership is the only way for businesses to thrive in the face of rapid change, Tim Brown argues. Here’s how to master it.

The Rise of Autonomous Agents and the End of Advertising

HOW TO BE A STOIC
Born nearly two thousand years before Darwin and Freud, Epictetus seems to have anticipated a way out of their prisons.

Tim Ferriss’s Guide to Reading 3 Books Every Week, No Matter How Busy You Are
In the information game, the race doesn’t go to the swift; it goes to the selective.

Who’s afraid of Stoicism?

Running Makes You Smarter, New Study SuggestsAll exercise is good for your brain, but running might offer special benefits.

Lella Vignelli
We are saddened by the news that Lella Vignelli passed away today. In honor of her life we are reposting Michael Bierut’s 2010 essay celebrating her amazing spirit.


Best thing read over the holiday:
Song of the Open Road
BY WALT WHITMAN
That is the best worst, or worst best, ad produced last year. As noted on Twitter, it did not want to make me buy a Volvo, but it did make me want to read Whitman.

The Tower

I had to lay my Moleskine Tower on the floor so that it would not tump over. 55 books, with another one in the works at the moment. When Moleskine notebooks and sketchbooks became widely available in 2006, I bought one and found I liked it, not because it was the cool or hip thing to do, but the size felt right. As did the paper. I’ve tried to go totally digital a few of times over the past 10 years, but I keep coming back to these little black books.

I have another large stack of sketchbooks, maybe an additional 100, in my bedroom, that I filled prior to 2006. Most I bought at the art supply store or Barnes & Noble, but many I made myself as I used to have the time and enjoyed bookbinding.

Back in college, many of my professors extolled the virtues of keep diaries and sketchbooks. Over the years, I have found that keeping writings and drawings is extraordinarily beneficial to creativity. Also for memory. As the years go by, I forget so much, but have found that I can open a book, read a passage or see the rough sketch of an idea and instantly be transported back to that moment in time. I find that a very simple joy in life.

Now, where to store all these book?