Thought provoking and often impassioned but chapters can meander. The main thread of a chapter can get lost amid examples, asides etc. and finishing iThought provoking and often impassioned but chapters can meander. The main thread of a chapter can get lost amid examples, asides etc. and finishing individual chapters was daunting because material seemed arbitrary at times. Many chapters, however, have snappy attacks on design/industrial design; every now and then there are great frameworks or explanations about design values that might stick with you long after reading.
Most of the ideas here are surprisingly prescient and jive well with humanist/humanitarian/life affirming design. The argument for designing for impoverished or under-advantages groups is repeatedly made in a wide range of examples and ways, but the underlying defense of this perspective is underdeveloped and frequently iterated. If you have drunk the kool-aid like I have, it can get a bit didactic but still leave a big impression. If your values don't line up with this worldview, Papanek's at times confrontational tone will put you on the defensive rather than persuade. Then again, perhaps his matter of fact outrage is something we could use more of, and as an intelligent call to action for those in the field, the book succeeds in that regard. What designers should do as professionals can seem daunting and difficult to reconcile with our workaday lives, but as designers that is, perhaps, exactly what we should be tackling.
A final note: being written in 1984, there's some interesting, non-politically correct language when it comes to how Papanek refers to the mentally handicapped, developing nations, etc. . This is all acknowledged in the foreword, and I appreciate both the warning and leaving the flawed language as an indication of the times. Even with the best of intentions and liberalist worldview, the book is a product of it's era, as we all are products of our own. I'm sure I'll read this review one day and cringe at the terms I chose for this paragraph. Even so, it was sometimes jarring. ...more
I found this a disorienting and pulpy read for most of the book, but by the time I finished, the clearer and more rewarding aspects were at the forefrI found this a disorienting and pulpy read for most of the book, but by the time I finished, the clearer and more rewarding aspects were at the forefront (I had my doubts at times). Action scenes and descriptions of the environment, perhaps intentionally, don't get explained; the artifacts and how they are used are matter of fact for the narration. Some of the tropes are well more worn by today, but seeing where they came from and how close we are to what is laid out is pretty neat. ...more
A quick and easy read that you can finish in a sitting if you are even slightly motivated. I'd check it out from a library for yourself, or buy it andA quick and easy read that you can finish in a sitting if you are even slightly motivated. I'd check it out from a library for yourself, or buy it and gift it to a person who is moving out from their parents'.
The advice in this book is practical and generic enough you can understand and try without investing into exciting meal plans or gadgets. Without getting into the weeds of diet comparisons, Pollan emphasizes our habits and attitude towards food and where we obtain it. Much of it is common sense, but the picture it paints—upon reflection on my own habits and experience—is how little healthy consumption is encouraged or adhered to in the United States....more