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4.6 out of 5 stars17
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 May 2010
If you are looking to learn about this ancient Japanese concept, and I urge you to do so as it can be life changing, then this is a must have book. Beautifully written and I couldn't put it down. This is not a "picture lifestyle" sort of book but goes into the philosophy of Wabi Sabi in a very complete way. I found this book to be a perfect companion to Simon Brown's book on Wabi Sabi. If you have reached the point in your life that Wabi Sabi looks interesting prepare yourself for some changes. Enjoy.
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on 8 January 2013
I've read three books on wabi sabi specifically as research for my degree dissertation. I've given this one 5 stars though I'd really give it 4 and a half. It's good. The Leonard Koren one didn't really do it for me. And Wabi Sabi Simple was better than I thought it would be. This was the best of the three for me.
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on 2 February 2014
If you prefer quill pens to ballpoints, wooden boats to plastic and antiques to Ikea, Wabi Sabi is for you.
The book covers wabi sabi's origin in Japan as the aesthetic of Zen, but it can be equally applicable in the West- the patina of old furniture and the simplicity of English watercolours have a lot in common with zen gardens and tea ceremonies.
This is a practical book, too, with suggestions on how to apply wabi sabi principles to your own environment.
My only criticism is that the illustrations deserve better reproduction, but that would put the price up, I guess.
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on 30 September 2014
I was introduced to the teachings of wabi sabi by a photographer friend through the writing of Leonard Koren. I owe Amazon a debt since they email out book lists of similar writings or content in case one might be interested... and here was Andrew Juniper's wonderful book. It is informative, sympathetic ('sympathetique'), articulate, sensitive, committed; above all, both the content and Juniper's writing manifest that clarity, functionality, and value of simplicity that lies at the heart of wabi sabi teaching. I have studied Buddhism and Taoism for some years and find within the teachings not only life 'guidance' but a source of nourishment for all of my endeavours, my photography included. Thank you Andrew Juniper! and potential readers - I recommend you to explore this book, and the wabi sabi teachings.
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on 15 July 2014
wonderful .. this book brings out the philosophy of Wabi Sabi, the spirituality and the beauty of nature, the passage of time and impermanence... Very simply and clearly written in a way that is both intelligent and accessible.... I read it from cover to cover in an afternoon and feel it also a book to dip into.. Not many photos but the photos are beautiful too
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on 1 January 2013
This book gives quite a thorough (though readable) history of wabi-sabi as a concept, and its development. It's illustrated with matt black-and-white photos, in keeping with the aesthetic. The author takes the subject seriously (unlike some western writers and designers who confuse it with minimalism or folksiness).

I read it as part of my research into my fine art dissertation on the differing Japanese and western attitudes to perfection and permanence in art and artefacts; and found it very useful background.
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on 17 November 2015
very interesting book, I have enjoyed reading it so far as it has been very informative in describing the Japanese beliefs and culture, as well as religion and its relation to art and the philosophy. One of the most interesting parts of the book is the way it describes "wabi-sabi" how vague and how unstable the definition is- which links to this idea of impermanence. So if you, as a reader is expecting a certain answer about what this philosophy and art is about, don't bother attempting to find one.
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on 25 April 2012
Juniper is so reverential of the subject, and reluctant to commit an opinion to paper, that he spends 160 tepid pages avoiding doing so. An extract from the Preface says it all;
"Having opened a design gallery called Wabi Sabi in the United Kingdom, not surprisingly we are regularly asked to explain the concept. Yet every attempt to clarify its tenets usually resulted in a slow glazing of the listener's eyes and then silence. This inability to adequately explain wabi sabi continued for several years, until we were approached to write a book on the subject". Sadly, the book contract did nothing to improve Juniper's powers of articulation.
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on 22 August 2011
Wabi Sabi is an eternally vague and complex subject, but Juniper does a very good job of summarising and explaining it. I liked his poetic turns of phrase as well. The final chapters where he itemises good materials and some design theories would be useful inspiration for designers.
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on 17 January 2016
Insightful read towards the notion of Wabi Sabi. The importance of the incomplete, imperfect and impermanence in appreciating aesthetics.
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