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Things I have learned in my life so far [Paperback]

Stefan Sagmeister , Daniel Nettle , Nancy Spector
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2008
This book began as a list designer Stefan Sagmeister made in his diary under the title Things I have learned in my life so far, which includes statements such as "Worrying solves nothing" and "Trying to look good limits my life." The list reveals something that is profoundly true: Although human beings have been pursuing happiness for countless generations, it is not so easily achieved. And we need constant reminders to keep us on the right path.

With the support of his clients, Sagmeister transformed these sentences into typographic works, from billboards in France to sign-toting inflatable monkeys on the streets of Scotland. Accompanied by essays from design historian Steven Heller, Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector, and UK psychologist Daniel Nettle, as well as Sagmeister's own words, the series is revealed as a complex blend of personal revelation, art, and design--an eclectic mix of visual audacity and sound advice.

This book consists of 15 unbound signatures in a laser-cut slipcase. Shuffling the sequence of the signatures will produce 15 different covers.

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From Amazon

Many consider Stefan Sagmeister to be our most important living designer, but he reaches beyond design circles in sharing 20 Things I have learned in my life so far, including the fact that "keeping a diary supports personal development." Proving his point, this book grew from a list in his diary during a year-long commercial hiatus. He returned to paid work with greater freedom from clients and himself, and created a series of projects spelling out personal truths--"worrying solves nothing," "trying to look good limits my life," and other simple, meaningful statements. Most are public and interactive (words spelled out on the backs of swimmers in the Hudson River, or displayed by enormous blow-up monkeys lounging around Scotland, or flaming in Singaporean bamboo scaffolding), while others are more private experiments with intriguing materials (sausages, cacti, sperm). All are presented--along with personal anecdotes supporting his assertions, and notes on the projects' creation--in an alluringly interactive format: a "box" of 15 booklets with unique covers that can be switched to transform the look of the case from creepy to lovely. --Mari Malcolm

From Publishers Weekly

In 2000, Austrian born, New York-based graphic designer Sagmeister created this book's eponymous list in his diary, including twenty statements such as: "Trying to Look Good Limits My Life," "Assuming is Stifling" and "Worry Solves Nothing." These "maxims," which Sagmeister admits verge on the "banal" but which are also devoid of cynicism, were transformed into art projects: "Assuming is Stifling" graced the cover of a Japanese annual report; "Everybody Always Thinks They are Right" was represented by six 33-foot white inflatable monkeys, each one displaying a different word. This "design book for non-designers" is itself an experiment in form, comprised of 15 booklets in a box whose cover is a cut out of Sagmeister's face; when inserted, each completes the portrait in a different way. One of the booklets includes essays on Sagmeister's oeuvre, the most interesting by critic Heller, who states: "This is truly the nexus of art and design in the service of expression." This book is bound to be of interest to followers of Sagmeister's work, as well as to the general reader in search of an invigorating approach to graphic design and, one might argue, autobiography.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Amazing. March 22 2013
If you have any interest in typography at all, you need this book! Not only does he explore type, but he also explores and plays with amazing layouts and narratives within this book. A must-have!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Made for designers but valuable for all. Jan. 4 2010
Things I have learned in my life so far, does not contain a lot of written content, rather it is comprised of photographs of Sagmeister's lessons spelled out with various forms and scales of physical typography. Each lesson has a small story about how he learned it and how much trouble or ease he has had using the knowledge. I bought the book for my graphic designer girlfriend who enjoys most of Sagmeister's work, I also read the book one afternoon and am trying to incorporate some of the lessons into my New years resolution.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars things I have learned from this book Feb. 22 2008
By papababoo - Published on Amazon.com
"trying to look good limits my life" and "everything I do always comes back to me" are two of my favorites.
I have always admired Stefan Sagmeister's ability to bring together a sincerity of purpose with a lot of (obvious) fun in the realization of his projects. I myself had a lot of fun reading and looking at this "book", after having seen the same titled show in New York City, detecting details that escaped me at the very crowded gallery, chuckling at the whimsy and imagination that went into it.
As in "Made You Look", Stefan wraps his pieces with delightful and sometimes very personal stories and anecdotes, which definitely adds to the overall impression that this is not just another design book, it's a great way to meet an artist/designer who has something to say, and who does it well.
I bought five copies at the show, they make great gifts. Maybe I should have waited for the amazon discount, though. Highly recommended.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say... Feb. 16 2008
By Kuang Huang - Published on Amazon.com
This book just blew me away. The images are powerful, the sentences are inspiring, the formats are innovative and best of all, I had such fun changing the booklets inside to see new covers thru the laser-cut-out case. This is a true magical book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things I've Learned In My Life So Far. Feb. 24 2008
By Anwyl Ltd LLC - Published on Amazon.com
"Things I've learned in my life so far", represents Stefan's latest gift to the world and a rare glimpse into the mind and passion of one of today's most gifted designers and thinkers. Commanding interaction, masterfully crafted and produced, it touches, pokes, illuminates, challenges, and inspires even the most casual of reader. With each page Stefan treats us, as only he can, to a boundless buffet of evocative unfettered visual expression, striking all of the emotional chords in perfect pitch. Softly sprinkled throughout is a common sense perspective on life, art, and our world that is at once both poignant, and refreshingly warm. This is a must read publication, whether you're a senior executive, stay at home mom, instructor, young designer, artist, or a seasoned communications professional. Congratulations!
56 of 75 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed with Things I Have Learned May 11 2008
By Design Student - Published on Amazon.com
I was excited about this publication by one of the century's foremost design icons. Imagine my surprise when I opened the long-awaited package to discover that it is not a book at all! Just a short series of paper promotion-style vanity pieces containing entertaining truisms, but little substance. As a design student, I feel this is nothing but a waste of my hard-earned money. I expected a great deal more from Sagmeister. I will definitely be returning this "book." It is nothing more than a coffee table gimmick and a commercial sell-out.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another winner from Sagmeister March 3 2008
By Michael B. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
I have Sagmeister's two other books, and this 15 pamphlet folio is another winner. It's exceptionally well produced (why am I not surprised). Having seen Stefan Sagmeister speak twice, I was delighted to see many of the images I've seen him use in his talks not only in this book but discussed in detail; both the ideas behind them and tales of their production.

Buy one for yourself, buy one for a gift - I can't imagine anyone who enjoys design or just thinking about living that wouldn't be delighted by this book.
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