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Self Portrait as Your Traitor Hardcover – November 8, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The essays and poems in this new collection are presented in eccentric, beautiful ways. It's also--no surprise--a gorgeously designed book." --New York Magazine

"For readers, it's a chance to peek into a unique mind, and be alternately amused and shocked by what we find there... Millman uses large fonts, varied backgrounds, and a lot of other techniques to make the book as intriguing to gaze at as to read." --Bookslut

"A spectacular collection of illustrated essays and poems on everything from love to (self)forgiveness to the Super Bowl, blending the deeply personal mesmerism of a memoir with the profound, universal resonance of philosophy on our shared human triumphs and tribulations." --Brain Pickings

"Debbie Millman has demonstrated her ability to combine thoughts about design and everyday life with her own obsessive hand drawn typography, creating a new form of visual poetry. She has invented a 21st century illuminated manuscript." --from the Introduction by Paula Scher

Praise for Millman's previous books:

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits
"Transcends business implications to dive into the very nature of human behavior...a powerful look at the role brand plays in society, politics, economics, psychology and technology." --Forbes Magazine

Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design
"Brilliant." --New York Magazine

"Visual Poetry" --Cool Hunting

About the Author

Debbie Millman - an artist, designer, creative entrepreneur, writer, brand strategist, and educator - draws no distinction between life and work, career and calling. Her visual essays have been exhibited at the Chicago Design Museum, have graced the pages of Print Magazine, and have been collected in Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays at the Intersection of Life and Design. Since 2005, her radio show Design Matters has been a beacon of creative culture through conversations with luminaries like Malcolm Gladwell, Milton Glaser, Lawrence Weiner, Neville Brody, Maira Kalman, and dozens more. In 2011, the show received the prestigious Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. She is the author of the interview anthologies Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits and How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer.

From co-founding and chairing the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts to working with some of the world's most prominent brands as President of the design division at Sterling Brands to serving as President Emeritus of AIGA, Millman has been pushing the limits of the possible in branding, design, and the communication arts for nearly two decades.

She lives in Chelsea with two beloved dogs, a crazy cat, and a library containing several copies of Ulysses full of marginalia.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Print (November 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440334617
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440334610
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.8 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I like it...It's okay... I like it... It's okay.... I waffle between between four stars and three stars on this book. It has its moments of whimsy, and it is colorful and interesting. The poetry can be engaging, and the essays are sometimes keen, but I just do not feel it "exposes the universal triumphs and tribulations of being human" or speaks to the "ineffable magic of what it means to live" as the description so extravagantly claims. I received it as a gift, and I am truly grateful to have it. I also am very pleased that the giver thought to send this to me -- it is an incredibly thoughtful gift to a retired professional with a strong art background.

Don't get me wrong - this is an enjoyable book. It most reminds me of the best work I might find in the journals/sketchbooks of my friends and colleagues in the fine art programs in college and graduate school. Here, Millman's best work has very obviously been collected, edited, and scrupulously prepared for publication in a lovely volume. It's fun to peruse, but reading/looking at it is more similar to reading personal thoughts that may resonate with your life situation than it is to studying deep philosophical thought that explores the bases of human existence and purpose.
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Format: Hardcover
Self -Portrait As Your Traitor was full of the best kind of surprises. I thought it was an art book at first glance, but soon realized it was really an elevation of the word - both visually and narratively. The pages are strewn with letters of every color and shape, so you could just gaze at each page as you would a framed painting. But don't just do that, because the words the letters make, and then the resulting sentences that lead finally to the stories must not be missed. Also a plus: there is a great variety here. Some sections are poetic, some are pleasingly down-to-earth. I liked them all so much. Read Lucky, a deceptively simple anecdote that will send a chill down your spine. Read Card Shark, a poem which has a line that I wish I had thought up myself:
"...I give myself away too easily. This I know and figure into the equation as I weigh the simple and the nasty." Finally read Penelope, one of my favorites, whose title page I won't spoil here, but is beautifully wrought. All is all a beautiful and emotional book. I read it through, but I keep picking it up and opening to random pages; it hasn't stopped delighting me.
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Format: Hardcover
I would give this book 10 stars if I was able to. It's like reading a Dr. Seuss book for adults. Each page is it's own poem and piece of art that keeps you turning the page in anticipation of the next surprise. These images are deeply moving in their simple complexity. I highly recommend it to children of all ages.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The writing in Self Portrait as Your Traitor illuminates moments of discovery that gave me pause while I read the poems and ran my hand over the pages. It's a journey of the senses and many of the stories stuck with me. Penelope, oh Penelope. And this: "At eight years old I was fascinated with my mother's girlfriends: to me they were magnificently glamorous with their brightly painted nails and tightly pulled faces and billowing wisps of smoke..." I WAS THERE! My own mother and her friends dealt the cards at card club and oh I couldn't wait to grow up to be just like them.

Read it, cherish it, give it as a gift.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd seen mention of this book on Lisa Congdon's blog and was immediately curious about it. Luckily, a friend decided to give it to me, so I ordered it and now have it in my hands. What a gorgeous book! So glad I got it!
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Format: Hardcover
Debbie Millman gives voice, both in her artwork and her writing, to what so many of us think but fear to share. By far her most personal work, she's taken a beautiful risk in publishing this collection of essays and poems.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this for my birthday and loved it so much I've since given it to several people as gifts. It's a great coffee table book. I love the visual expression of biographical & fictional excerpts of the author's life. The concept and "textural" quality of the mediums really resonated with me as I haven't seen this genre explored before. Kudos to you Ms Millman for adding another layer of self expression for us to explore! I'm now a huge fan of your work.
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