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The Learners Hardcover – 21 Apr 2008


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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: 608,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Androo TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jun 2008
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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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: 19 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Funny and clever 8 July 2008
By Androo - 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Nothing will ever be The Cheese Monkeys 7 Dec 2014
By Jennifer Grey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I realized that there was a sequel to The Cheese Monkeys and that it somehow involved Stanley Milgram's oh-so-shocking experiments with the Yale psychology department, I was transported. Instant nerdvana.

Then I read The Learners, and discovered that even brilliantly comic graphic designers suffer from sequelitis.

Kidd's second novel isn't terrible, but it's not great, either, and when you're trying to follow the intellectual gut-buster that was TCM, that's not a good thing. The author once again surrounds hapless protagonist Happy with comically drawn idiosyncratic secondary characters, but you suspect event the best of them (Tip), would wither instantly under Winter Sorbeck's mocking glare. There's yet another journey of personal discovery, but it lacks the supporting framework of the academic year to give it structure and help move it along. And Kidd's attempt to tie the two novels together through a cameo by TCM's manic pixie dream-girl Himillsy feels forced and unconvincing.

I still laugh thinking of The Cheese Monkeys, which I read several years ago. A few years from now, I doubt I'll remember anything about The Learners other than that I read it, and perhaps that's for the best; better to remember the Kidd who shared with me some wacky college hijinks than the one who dragged me through the monotony of a first job.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.
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.
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.
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