Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
$4.34
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Book is used, fast shipping and great customer service.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Learners: A Novel Hardcover – February 19, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$0.81 $0.01

Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sequel to book designer Kidd's first novel, The Cheese Monkeys, this beautifully composed paean to pre-computer graphic design pitches recent graduate Happy (his nickname), now 21, into the mercantile halls of down-at-the-heels New Haven ad agency Spears, Rakoff and Ware. Kidd paints the agency with all the customary conventions of a mid-century office culture farce: lacquered secretaries, lunchtime scotches and broken-down businessmen. Happy wiles away his time in blissful drudgery until he fields a call for designing a tiny ad for a seemingly innocuous psychological study. The study is being run by (real-life psychologist) Stanley Milgram, and Happy is unable to resist volunteering; little surprise for readers that Happy finds himself a participant in Milgram's notorious Obedience to Authority experiment, playing the role of The Teacher who is ordered to shock The Learner with near-lethal doses of electricity. Though character development is less the point than jokes about behaviorism and old school office culture's last gasps, the experiment teaches Happy more than he ever hoped to know. The jokes are sometimes dippy, and some of the typographical pyrotechnics are on the twee side. But Kidd's ebullience and generosity in unpacking the art and practice of graphic design carry the novel. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Graphic designer and novelist Chip Kidd is best known for his smart book-jacket designs for Donna Tartt, David Sedaris, and Michael Crichton, among others. He used his innovative design elements to explore the relationship between form and content in The Cheese Monkeys, and he employs the same design virtuosity here, though critics diverged in opinion about how much virtuosity, exactly, was enough. While most reviewers praised Kidd’s design talent, a few thought he courted gimmickry with his page and font designs, and others thought he didn’t go far enough. With the exception of the New York Times Book Review, however, reviewers agreed on Kidd’s ample literary talentâ€"his dark, satirical wit, solid characterizations, and ability to explore the dark abyss of the human soul. For pure originality, there’s little else like The Learnersâ€"except, of course, The Cheese Monkeys, where readers may wish to start.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st Scribner Hardcover Ed edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255240
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Read more ›
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
- A fun and funny book that turns dark (and looses its humor) half way through. This is NOT a book for kids, or light reading.
- I felt the pacing of the book was odd. Really the direction of why something happened, seemed random and disconnected.
- I'm disappointed that a fun book that made me laugh went away and was replaced by something that seemed to be more horror that humor.
- The narration of the audio book was good, but also took on a dark tone.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By rs on September 9, 2008
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.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse