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. 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, 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, 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.

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.

Record of a Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami (2017)

…sometimes you only know what you should take on and what you should not when you don’t have the choice.

To be betrayed, you probably first have to be deeply involved. Had I been deeply involved with anything in my life?

Snake wives make the very best kind of wife…
…When you give them instructions, they listen, looking at you steadily, with those big, crystal-clear eyes. They have something stubborn about them, but not stubborn like human women: human women get stubborn for emotional reasons; snakes are stubborn because that’s their nature.

–A Snake Stepped On 蛇を踏む (Hebi o fumu)


• 若有個人跟你說「就算全世界與你為敵,我還是會站在你這邊的」,你會願意跟他走嗎?
• 女人為了顧全大局,會說些美麗謊言。不久之後,她會天真地相信謊言會漸漸成真。
• 有些東西雖然是扭曲的,但是充滿著愛。

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins (2015)

“The genuinely innovative are led by their passion and not by rational ambitions. New ideas spring from personal interests, even if they seem irrelevant to the task at hand. Innovative people have to put practical considerations to one side because thinking about logistics leads to thinking logically, which ties down the leaps of the mind required to create something unique.”
(excerpt from be practically useless)

“Accidents reflect reality more accurately than does perfection. Perfection is the aberration. Think of accident as an answer in search of a different question. Work out what that different question is. It is probably more interesting than the one you were asking.”
(excerpt from plan to have more accidents)

(the notables from this book)
Georgia O’Keeffe (grow old without growing up)
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao by Frank Gehry (bring chaos to order)
Henry Moore (feel inadequate)
Mark Rothko (be conservative revolutionary)
Jeff Koons (search high and low)
Chuck Close (take advantage of a disadvantage)

“Something badly done can be refreshing. Being prepared to be uncool or nerdy can be charming, It’s a way of showing that you don’t care what anyone else thinks. The world is full of people who dedicate their lives to seeking approval.”
(excerpt from if you can’t be really good, be really bad)

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (2012)

“I feel pity for these batteries that worked so hard for my benefit, and I can’t throw them away. It seems a shame to get rid of them the moment they die, after these batteries have given me light and sound, and run my gadgets.”

“Indeed, it’s a shame that young people have such limited vocabularies nowadays.”

“Tsukiko, when you see a handsome man, even if you cannot understand what he says, you still think, Oh, that guy’s good-looking, don’t you? Handwriting is the same.”


Gohan no Kotobakari 100 wa to Chotto by Banana Yoshimoto (2011)




Nara Note by Yoshimoto Nara (2013)



–奈良美智 (2006/09/05)

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev (2014)

“London seemed so measured, so predictable; the America the rest of my émigré family lived in seemed so content; while the real Russians seemed truly alive, had the sense that anything was possible.”

The remarkables
Yana Yakovleva vs FDCS (Drug Enforcement Agency)
Gold Digger Academy
Vitaly Djomochka
Black Widows
Jambik Hatohov
Ruslana Korshunova vs Rose of the World
Anastasia Drozdova
Post-Soviet Sects
Ostankino Tower

“The English stack their sentimental junks and dirty secrets far away in the garden shed; the Germans have “Keller”, basements, deep underground to hide all their dark memories. But in Russia you just throw it on the balcony; just as long as it isn’t in the flat itself, who cares if the neighbours see? We’ll deal with all that rubbish some other time. It’s not even part of us.”

Book reviews
The Wall Street Journal
The Guardian
The New York Times

By The Book by Pamela Paul (2014)

David Sedaris suggested Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea / Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry / Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Dave Eggers mentioned Stories Not for the Nervous (a Hitchcock collection).

Scott Turow loved Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was reading Incognito by David Eagleman.

“I’m always close to tears reading Judith Kerr‘s delightful children’s story The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It tells of a tiger who turns up, quite unexpectedly, at teatime at the house of a girl called Sophie and her mother. You’d expect them to panic, but they take the appearance of this visitor entirely in their stride– and their reaction is a subtle invitation for us to approach life’s unexpected challenges with resilience and good humour.” –Alain de Botton

“The most pleasurable reading experience I’ve had recently was just last week– jogging on the beach with an audiobook of Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw. I was so engrossed in his essay “The Ketchup Conundrum” that I ran an extra mile just to find out how it ended.” –Dan Brown

Christopher Buckley is the author of Thank You for Smoking, Losing Mum and Pup, and But Enough About You, among other books.

(Interview with Sting)
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius––Stoicism and the limitations of power.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own– not of the same blood of birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”

(Interview with Amy Tan)
What book has had the greatest impact on you?
Probably the Bible… …Many of my stories also relate to undoing handed-down beliefs, whether they come from religion, society, or mothers. And my writing sensibility was also warped by a steady dose of gothic imagery, often related to religious sins or virtue: David braining Goliath, Samson’s bloody head missing a lock of hair, a stinking corpse arising to be kissed by relatives.


jacket illustration by Jillian Tamaki