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The Learners [Hardcover]

Chip Kidd
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.70
Price: 15.07 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

21 April 2008
Set in the early 1960s, The Learners is the stand alone sequel to Kidd's previous novel, The Cheese Monkeys. Always entertaining and often moving, The Learners is the story of Happy, a young graphic designer who lands his first job at a wacky advertising firm in New Haven, Connecticut. Among his colourful co-workers is Sketch, the lovable, aging illustrator whose finely-crafted drawings of potato chips are regarded by Happy as near masterpieces; Tip, the quick-witted copy-writer who's always hunting for the next snappy slogan; and Mimi, the cold, eccentric matriarch, who treats her enormous dog as if he's her husband. Happy fits right in among these likable eccentrics, and together, they struggle to hold onto their most important client, Cringle Potato Chips, and land the new and lucrative Buckle Shoes account.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster International; 1st Scribner Hardcover Ed edition (21 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255240
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 770,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Review

""The Learners" is dark as India Ink and its fine lines are sure and sharp and funny. As in life, people behave badly, and truly, and are only occasionally redeemed but often sorry. Kidd has created an unexpected narrative voice that moves and provokes and a novel that is, startlingly and even sweetly, not like anything else."-- Amy Bloom, author of "Away"

About the Author

Chip Kidd, the associate art director of jackets and special projects at Knopf Publishing, has long been recognised as a leading pioneer in book-cover art. He is the recipient of numerous graphic design honours and awards. This is his first novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever and likeable 21 Jun 2008
By A. Butterfield TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you've read The Cheese Monkeys and you liked it, you'll definitely like this, because it just follows on from where that novel left off. Which is, on the whole, a good thing.

It means that for those of us who are graphic designers, we get to read the second novel (okay maybe there are more but I don't know about them) about a graphic designer. That's pretty cool for designers. If you're not a designer then I don't think it matters since designers probably read novels about policemen quite happily.

Having said that, The Learners doesn't just happen to be about a graphic designer. Since it's also written (and designed) by a graphic designer, there's quite a lot of stuff in it about graphic design that borders on the educational. You may learn something about typefaces.

Back to the story: it's about a guy called Happy, who appears to have no romantic or sexual interest in any of the other characters, which is a bit odd. In fact, this book doesn't deal with sex at all except for about three pages when it still doesn't, not really.

It's actually mostly about the main character's reaction to an experiment he takes part in to test how much one human will hurt another if told to by somebody they trust. It's based on an experiment that really did take place in the 1950s.

The setting is the best part of the book though: a small designer's office in New Haven, the sort of place that doesn't exist in today's world of identikit offices. Instead of Project desk systems, there are poky offices with glass doors and polished wood, rolls of paper, the smell of ink, eccentric people and general cosy confusion. That's very well portrayed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Library edition of a decent book 18 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It took me a long time to get around to Chip Kidd's sequel (of sorts) to his earlier novel, The Cheese Monkeys, so by the time I did (and wanting a hardcover) I did not really want to pay much for it. This seller had just what I was looking for, though I confess I'm a little let down with all the library markage. Still, for the price it is in very good condition, and at least the library dust cover wrapping will remain in pristine condition.
The book itself is even better than I could have expected, being as it is the continuation of the tale of graphic designer (and Chip Kidd proxy) Happy as he begins his career. He gets tangled up in a famous (real) psychology experiment and it has somewhat predictable impact on his outlook.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and clever 8 July 2008
By A. Butterfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you've read The Cheese Monkeys and you liked it, you'll definitely like this, because it just follows on from where that novel left off. Which is, on the whole, a good thing.

It means that for those of us who are graphic designers, we get to read the second novel (okay maybe there are more but I don't know about them) about a graphic designer. That's pretty cool for designers. If you're not a designer then I don't think it matters since designers probably read novels about policemen quite happily.

Having said that, The Learners doesn't just happen to be about a graphic designer. Since it's also written (and designed) by a graphic designer, there's quite a lot of stuff in it about graphic design that borders on the educational. You may learn something about typefaces.

Back to the story: it's about a guy called Happy, who appears to have no romantic or sexual interest in any of the other characters, which is a bit odd. In fact, this book doesn't deal with sex at all except for about three pages when it still doesn't, not really.

It's actually mostly about the main character's reaction to an experiment he takes part in to test how much one human will hurt another if told to by somebody they trust. It's based on an experiment that really did take place in the 1950s.

The setting is the best part of the book though: a small designer's office in New Haven, the sort of place that doesn't exist in today's world of identikit offices. Instead of Project desk systems, there are poky offices with glass doors and polished wood, rolls of paper, the smell of ink, eccentric people and general cosy confusion. That's very well portrayed.

But the story seems a bit thin and kind of there just to hang all the graphic designer stuff on, all the clever stuff the (very clever) author wants to tell us in a that slightly cutesy post Salinger style he adopts that could get annoying but which I happen to like.

I don't know whether everyone would like it, but I loved it.

And the cover artwork is, as you'd expect, superb.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent sequel 9 Sep 2008
By rs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewers... if I hadn't loved "The Cheese Monkeys," I never would have read this book, but I'm glad I did, because it was excellent. For those who don't like Kidd's writing style, it could get annoying, but for those who do, it's another gem. Overall a great novel, very fast read, makes you think about psychology a little bit too.
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 19 Jun 2013
By Randall Mobley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a fan of Chips Graphic Design style as well as his writing. I would recommend this book. Great service product arrived as planned i would order from them again, product was in perfect condition.
I would definitely recommend.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as the Cheese Monkeys 10 Feb 2012
By Colby Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a huge fan of Chip Kidd's book, The Cheese Monkeys. It's the kind of book that I buy extra copies of to give to other people to read. Every few years I read it again. So when this sequel came out I was excited. But it didn't live up to the quality of the first book at all in my estimation.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read this book... 8 July 2008
By Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
...unless you read The Cheese Monkeys first. I was familiar with Mr. Kidd's graphic design for some time, and saw him speak at the Gravity Free Conference. It was such an enjoyable talk I ordered The Cheese Monkeys online, and it was waiting for me on my arrival home. I was out of town all week and thought I would just read a few chapters before bed. The way I figure it Kidd owes me a good nights sleep. When I finished the book I waited a few hours and went out and bought The Learners, devouring it as well. I'm not sure what makes a book great, but for me, both of these are in that category. The Cheese Monkeys is such a nice nostalgic look back at college and the experiences that make that time so amazing, as well as the time travel back to a time when creating art didn't involve a mouse and a delete key. It also has a girl, the type that I would have either married or taken out a restraining order against, I'm not sure in what order.

And The Learners picks up where The Cheese Monkeys left off, with the college student getting his first job, part of his quest born of his college experience, that once again pays homage to the day when things were thought out before they were created, because creating took cumulative effort.

I'll say no more, to avoid spoiling the story. But I think these books need to both be read, in the proper order. They paint the same kind of historic picture in my head that Mad Men does, where you can smell the stale cigarette smoke and picture the Boomerang Formica. Enjoy. I certainly did.
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