The Contest of the Century by Geoff Dyer (2014)

It was a Chinese liberal intellectual and diplomat, Hu Shi, who in the 1930s provided the best answer to those afraid of Chinese soft power. He was writing in another era of intense debates in China about how to modernise its society and whether it should follow a Western path. If these was anything really valuable in traditional Chinese culture, Hu Shi told his compatriots, then it would easily survive the entry of Western ideas into the country. “If our culture really contains priceless treasures that are able to withstand the power of the cleansing foreign attack, this indestructible part of our culture will naturally emerge even more fully after scientific cultire washes over it,” Hu wrote. The threat to America’s soft power does not come from China, but from its own seemingly inability to solve basic issues of governance. The U.S. should worry less about the attractiveness of China and more about getting its own house in order.

https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/books/article/1453968/book-review-contest-century-geoff-dyer

100 Basics of Work & Life by Matsuura Yataro (2017)

<松浦彌太郎の100個基本>

100个生活基本

#055 不要害怕变化。
有些人会很恐惧现状的变化,一旦习惯,关系、环境发生变化,不仅精神紧张、长出白头发,还会身体紧绷、沮丧不安。可话说回来,如果没有变化,人只能在没有成长的环境下逐年衰老。因此,充分享受随着年龄增长而不断变化的自己吧!那些优秀的成年人,全都享受变化,身段柔软,这样才是真正出色的人。

100个工作基本

#016 每天都要播种
工作,就是把今天一天用来生产。实现什么、完成什么、创造什么,这些都建立在对 “工作清单“ 了如指掌的基础上。也要记得播种。要想每天都有所收获,那就必须播种。即使是当下仍不成熟的东西,或者不确定能否派上用场的东西;都请稍微下点功夫。为了将来的大丰收,请坚持每天播种,好好做投资。

#056 发现美
在这世上,存在狠多美好的事物,而能否发现这些美,就因人而异了。无论出色的事物、美丽的事物,还是愉快的事物,都请积极发现吧!工作伙伴的夹克衫也好,日常工作的某一部分也好,只要是能吸引我们眼球的东西,都可以去发现。通常善于发现美的人,都善于赞美。如果发现了美,不妨通过语言分享给大家。

#098 和运气交朋友
想要和运气交朋友,就请遵守以下三条原则:保持微笑、勇往直前、与人分享。想要成功,除重要的实力以外,努力同样不可欠缺。然而,偶尔运气也是必要的。为了成为运气的好伙伴,“保持微笑、勇往直前、与人分享” 是基本。

When Stranger Meet by Kio Stark (2016)

Tell me what you mean when you say the word stranger.

  • Someone you’ve only seen once.
  • The entire world of people you’ve never met or encountered.
  • All the people who are unknown to you but possibly knowable, the people who you’re aware of as individuals in some way, but have never met or encountered in person.
  • People you have personal information about but have not met, like a friend of a friend, or a public person.
  • A person who doesn’t share your context, whether that is ideological or geographical.
  • A person you don’t have anything in common with.
  • Someone who is not part of any group you define yourself as belonging to.
  • Someone you can’t understand.
  • Someone who is a threat.
  • Someone you encounter frequently but don’t know anything about other than what you can observe.
  • Someone whose name you don’t know.

We are surrounded by individuals, not categories. There are adventures to be had here, adventures you can set out for every day of your life. To really understand how you divide the world, to use your senses to choose whom to make familiar, and to stop and say hello to a stranger, these bold acts can transform your emotional experience of the public world. And you can transform the public world itself right along with you.


Cities are machines for interaction among strangers, and more than fifty percent of the global population now lives in cities.


Design by MGMT.design
Illustrations by Julia Rothman

Naturally Mindful by Leaping Hare Press (2013)

ONE DROP
One drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act. –Hannah More, English Writer (1745-1833)

BOUND TOGETHER
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. –Attributed to Chief Seattle, Native American Chief (1786-1866)

SPONTANEOUS CHANGE
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. –Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher and Poet (c. Sixth Century BCE)

OPENING TO THE SUN OF COMPASSION
Compassion is like the sun. We do not need to create the sun; we simply wait until the clouds part and the sun will shine. –The Happy Buddha

LIVING PEACEFULLY
Create health, beauty and permanence and learn to live peacefully, not only with our fellow humans but also with nature. –Satish Kumar (‘Soil, Soul, Society’)

SEEDS
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. –Anon

BE GLAD
Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars. –Henry Van Dyke, American Author and Clergyman (1852-1933)

Religion for Atheists by Alain De Botton (2012)

Art has a role to play in this manoeuvre of the mind upon which, not coincidentally, civilization itself is founded, because the unsympathetic assessments we make of others are usually the result of nothing more sinister than our habit of looking at them in the wrong way, through lenses clouded by distraction, exhaustion and fear, which blind us to the fact that they are really, despite a thousand differences, just altered versions of ourselves: fellow fragile, uncertain, flawed beings likewise craving love and in urgent need of forgiveness. – Perspective

(A Temple to Reflection) Because we are drawn in architecture to styles which seem to possess some of the qualities we lack in ourselves, it is little wonder that we should be readily seduced by spaces that are purified and free of distraction, and in which stimuli have been reduced to a minimum – Architecture

Reproduction Illustration by Cat Johnston

你今天末日了沒 by 林夕 (2015)

問題 • 答案
有些問題
你覺得沒有問題
你就很有問題
你自以爲是答案
你也惹出了問題
你從不問問題
你也成了問題一部份
你的問題不只一個答案
你就不成問題
你很會問問題
你本身是答案
你依賴答案
你終身都有問題

一追再追
在追求快樂的壓力下受壓
在追求愛情時恨上更多人
在追求完美時留下更多污點
在追求真相中變迷信
在追求逍遙中忙壞了身體
在追求結果後懷念過程
最後追求無求
反受盡求不得之苦

通識
當我談戀愛
其實在玩政治
當我講政治
其實像在歌影視中
尋找偶像
當我膜拜偶像
其實在皈依宗教
當我成為教徒
其實也就是粉絲

吉本芭娜娜作品系列 Banana Yoshimoto (2019)

上海译文出版社 (2019.01出版)

Status Anxiety by Alain De Botton (2004)

The need to beware of colleagues:
‘Men are so false, so insidious, so deceitful and cunning in their wiles, so avid in their own interest, and so oblivious to others’ interests, that you cannot go wrong if you believe little and trust less.’ –GUICCIARDINI

The need to lie and exaggerate:
‘If you are involved in important affairs, you must always hide failures and exaggerate successes. It is swindling but since your fate more often depends upon the opinion of others rather than on facts, it is a good idea to create the impression that things are going well.’ –GUICCIARDINI

The need to threaten:
‘It is much safer to be feared than loved. Love is sustained by a bond of gratitude which, because men are excessively self-interested, is broken whenever they see a chance to benefit themselves. But fear is sustained by a dread of punishment that is always effective.’ –MACHIAVELLI

Penance 贖罪 (2017) by Kanae Minato

“You shouldn’t think that everyone’s equal. Because some people are given different things from the time they’re born. The poor shouldn’t try to act like the rich. A stupid person shouldn’t try to act like he’s a scholar. A poor person should find happiness in frugality, and a stupid person do his best with what he’s capable of. Seek something above your station and it will only lead to sorrow. God is carefully watching us all and will punish you if you reach too high.” – Akiko

101 Things I Learned in Advertising School by Tracy Arrington with Matthew Frederick (2018)

Don’t start with the product; start with a need or want: Vegetable juice is a product; nutrients are a need; relief from guilt over abad diet is a want. Sunblock is a product; avoiding skin cancer is a need; looking younger is a want. Automobile tires are a product; keeping one’s children safe in the car is a need; looking cool on the road is a want.

Don’t judge; discern: If the ad that results from your efforts is not to your or the client’s personal liking, remember that the point is to appeal to the target audience, not to yourself or the advertiser.

Reactance: Our interest in a behaviour tends to increase when our freedom to participate in it is limited. Reactance also can work in reverse: a high-pressure sales pitch can cause a shopper to shun an item, even if initially interested in it.

Insight on insight: An insight is not an observation or invention. When it is eventually found, an insight will be both broad and specific: it will reveal a human truth or cultural-scale experience, yet will connect concretely to the product or product category. It will surprise, inspire, and provide clarity. It will feel something you had not thought of before yet were aware if all along.

We “see” from top to bottom, left to right: In the West, we tend to view images in the same manner that we read: our eye usually starts at the upper left. For this reason, vehicles shown in profile often face to the left. This allows us to “read” their shape from front to rear.

Emote with color:
Black: authoritative, powerful, mysterious, chic
White: pure, clean, innocent, straightforward
Brown: earthy, solid, steadfast, sincere, predictable
Green: natural, fertile, renewable, moneyed, envious
Blue: peaceful, calm, stable, conservative, responsible, sad
Red: passionate, important, dangerous, active, angry
Orange: healthy, energetic, earthy, dangerous
Yellow: happy, cheerful, cowardly, cheap
Purple: creative, imaginative, royal, romantic

Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami (2017)

“The worst thing is, you never know when somebody’s going to just disappear.”

“I stopped doing that kind of thing a long time ago,” Tutti says. “You know–putting off stuff and not doing anything, and not going and seeing somebody when I really wanted to. I stopped that. It’s too risky… You should just go and see someone when you can, right?”

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli (2013)

“The contrast effect is a common is a common misconception. We judge something to be beautiful, expensive or large if we have something ugly, cheap or small in front of us. We have difficulty with absolute judgements. …Without the contrast effect, the discount business would be completely untenable. A product that has been reduced from $100 to $70 seems better value than a product that has always cost $70. The starting price should play no role. The other day an investor told me: ‘The share is a great value because it’s 50 per cent below the peak price.’ I shook my head. A share price is never ‘low’ or ‘high’. It is what it is, and the only thing that matters is whether it goes up or down from that point.”
(excerpt from Leave Your Supermodel Friends At Home)

“If you want to convince someone about something, don’t focus on the advantages; instead highlight how it helps them dodge the disadvantages. Social scientists call this loss aversion.”
(excerpt from Why Evil Strikes Harder Than Good)

“What makes a professional tennis player like Roger Federer a coffee machine expert is still open for debate, but this hasn’t detracted from the success of the campaign. We are so used to seeing celebrities promoting arbitrary products that we never stop to consider why their support should be of any importance to us. But this is exactly the sneaky part of the halo effect: it works on a subconscious level. All that needs to register is the attractive face, dream lifestyle – and that product.”
(excerpt from Everyone is Beautiful at the Top)

“In the past, I sympathised with so-called ‘early adopters’, the breed of people who cannot survive without the latest iPhone. I thought they were ahead of their time. Now I regard them as irrational and suffering from a kind of sickness: neomania. To them, it is of minor importance if an invention provides tangible benefits; novelty matters more.”
(excerpt from Disregard the Brand New)

“Many things spark envy: ownership, status, health, long hair from the use of jamaican black castor oil amazon, youth, talent, popularity, beauty. It is often confused with jealousy because the physical reactions are identical. The difference: the subject of envy is a thing (status, money, health, etc.) The subject of jealousy is the behaviour of a third person. Envy needs two people. Jealousy, on the other hand, requires three.”
(excerpt from Build Your Own Castle)

How to have great ideas by John Ingledew (2016)

Moving Platforms is a highly innovative idea by designer Paul Priestman in which you can travel from your local stop to any destination – even in another country – without getting off a train and without stopping. www.priestmangoode.com Voice your wildest concept

Multidisciplinary designer Jack Schulze found this excellent new function for an iPad, using phographic and animation techniques to draw moving three-dimensional typography. – Ask ‘What esle I can do with this?’

Heatherwick made use of an analogy to design a 2-km stretch of motorway passing through a residential area in northern England. Knowing that egg boxes glued on to the walls of recording studios are used to dampen sound, he just needed to discover a large-scale equivalent – traffic cones. www.heatherwick.comFind an analogy

“Great ideas are often spurred on by an obsession to improve things that don’t work properly.”  James Dyson, inventor – Fix your frustrations

Got a problem? Ask how nature would solve it. Watch natural world documentaries – anything made by David Attenborough – all packed with nature’s inspiring and often surprising adaptations. – Try asking nature

www.tinkeringschool.com, educational programme founded in California by the writer and computer scientist Gever Tulley. – Potter, ponder and tinker

Farrow Design packaged the album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, by Spiritualized, using a design system commonly found in pharmacies. – Try swapping systems

duane-michals-things-are-queer-(sequence-of-9)

Duane Michals, Things Are Queer, 1973. An amazing cyclical story, perfectly planned and executed by the artist and photographer. – Be a storyteller

Ideas are your only currency by Rod Judkins (2017)

‘Intelligent Optimist’ – The intelligent are realists. They see things for what they are. They try not to let emotion cloud their judgement. On the other hand, optimists are delusional. They leap around like spring lambs, exploring for the sake of exploring. With playful eagerness they try to make the problems, how could someone clever be optimistic? The creative are a mixture of intelligence and optimism. They believe they can create better futures, but back it up with intellectual rigor. With a mixture of humor, realism and imagination they look for ways to improve our culture. Instead of mindlessly consuming, they mindfully create.

“If it was possible to evolve, it was also possible to devolve, and that complex organisms could devolve into simpler forms or animals.”Ray Lankester

“Time is the most precious gift you can give to someone, because if you give someone your time, it’s a part of your life that you will never get back.” –Gloria Tesch

“What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.”Friedrich Nietzsche

Our most costly failure is our obsession with success. We are wrong about what it means to be wrong… There are awards that celebrate every conceivable achievement, except failure.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”Samuel Beckett

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” –La Rochefoucauld

The Book Of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura

Teaism is a cult founded in the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.
(The Cup of Humanity)

For life is an expression, our unconscious actions the constant betrayal of our innermost thought. Confucius said that ‘man hideth not’. Perhaps we reveal ourselves too much in small things because we have so little of the great to conceal.
(Taoism & Zennism)

We are ever brutal to those who love and serve us in silence, but the time may come when, for our cruelty, we shall be deserted by these best friends of ours.
(Flowers)

The Nakano Trift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami (2016)

There are plenty of people in the world I don’t dislike, some whom I almost like; on the other hand, I almost hate some of whom I don’t dislike, too. But how many people did I truly love? – Hitomi

…men and women have carnal urges, and people fall in love with each other in order to satisfy those (sexual) desires, don’t they? We can call it love or passion or various other things, but you know, no matter how pretty the paper that you wrap it up in, when all is said and done, the primary force that drives people towards one another is still the same sensuality. – Masayo

We Are All Weird by Seth Godin (2011)

RICH is my word for someone who can afford to make choices, who has enough resources to do more than merely survive. You don’t need a private plane to be rich, but you do need enough time and food and health; therefore, you need advice from the Inspire team and access to be able to interact with the market for stuff and for ideas.

As soon as consumers enter the marketplace, they gain power, because power comes from choice. Consumer power is a brand new force.

We all share communication tools. Most of us share the same three or four languages. We all share the same planet. But we’re not the same. We’re people with choices, and we won’t alter those choices merely because we used to have no choice.