The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

March 28, 2016
by Dan
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On the Media: Print is Back, Back Again

In a special report, WNYC’s On the Media recently took a look at the publishing industry and print books. It covers a lot of ground — including the subversive history of adult colouring books, Amazon’s bricks-and-mortar bookstore, and South Korea’s quest for a … Continue reading

September 14, 2015
by Dan
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Hamlet vs. Amazon Prime

Roz Chast for The New Yorker.

August 24, 2015
by Dan
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Amazon: Pass This Letter To My Wife and Kids

I wasn’t going to mention that New York Times article about Amazon. We already know the company treats its workers poorly (there are almost too many articles to link to at this point), it’s just that some people rather admire this kind of ruthlessness … Continue reading

March 25, 2015
by Dan
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The Shiny Surface of Jonathan Ive

My ‘longreads’ to-read list is as bad, if not worse, than the pile of books I have to read right now, so it’s taken me until today to get to that very, very long New Yorker profile of Jonathan Ive, the … Continue reading

February 9, 2015
by Dan
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Because You Bought H is for Hawk

Tom Gauld (H is for Hawk is actually on my reading list. And I would love a book about horology and depression to be honest)

November 11, 2014
by Dan
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The War of Words

Keith Gessen, writer and author of All the Sad Young Literary Men, has a long article in the December issue of Vanity Fair on the ongoing hostilities between Amazon and Hachette. Essentially it’s a timely primer on how the retailer’s relationship with publishers sank to its current low, … Continue reading

April 28, 2014
by Dan
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Have You Seen My Kindle?

Tom Gauld

February 26, 2014
by Dan
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Worse than Wal-Mart?

In an excerpt from his new book, Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans, Simon Head compares the labour practices of Amazon and Walmart: Amazon equals Walmart in the use of monitoring technologies to track the minute-by-minute movements and performance of employees and … Continue reading

February 10, 2014
by Dan
1 Comment

Cheap Words: George Packer on Amazon

The book folks have surely seen this already, but at The New Yorker George Packer takes a long hard look at Amazon: Before Google, and long before Facebook, Bezos had realized that the greatest value of an online company lay in the … Continue reading

April 2, 2013
by Dan
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Out of Print

Out of Print, a documentary by Vivienne Roumani about “the turbulent and exciting journey from the book through the digital revolution,” will première at  the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25th: [vimeo http://vimeo.com/54234607 w=480] The film features interviews with Scott Turow, Ray Bradbury, and Amazon.com founder … Continue reading

February 8, 2013
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Snowstorm…something, something… Snowstorm… Hmm, what? Oh right. Here we go… Pick Up a Pearson — A profile of book designer David Pearson in the New York Times:  The chillingly eloquent jacket of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the work of the British … Continue reading

April 27, 2012
by Dan
0 comments

Something for the Weekend

Sturm und Drang — Author Nick Harkaway (Angelmaker and the forthcoming The Blind Giant: Being Human in a Digital World) on Amazon and the publishing industry for The Guardian: The most thunderous argument in Amazon’s favour is that the market has spoken, and demands cheaper … Continue reading

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