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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 December 2007
John Thackara calls himself a "symposiarch," someone who puts together groups of creative people, assigns them a lofty theme and then observes the colloquy. This book is a little like a classical Greek symposium. It's a loosely structured conversation with many voices, a freestyle rush into 10 clusters of ideas on how designers - architects, industrial designers, artists, engineers, urban planners and others - should be thinking about today's big design issues, including sustainability, needless complexity, and the frenetic pace of the social and business worlds. Does Thackara have answers? Not really. His flamboyantly expressed suggestions would probably collapse if examined carefully. But, surprisingly, the book is no weaker for that. It is not a design manual or manifesto. Rather, we find that it's a work designed to get you to free-associate and open your mind to new possibilities. If your creativity is cooling, this book may do what Kafka suggested all literary creations should do: break up the frozen sea inside you.
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