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Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers Paperback – November 1, 2008
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"Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers is a touchstone for designers of all stripes. . . ." -The New York Times
"In a prominent spot near Square's welcome lobby stands a communal bookshelf. . . Most titles lining the shelves cover subjects you might expect at a high-flying tech startup. . . And then there are books placed on the shelf by [Twitter and Square co-founder Jack] Dorsey. He offers up Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers --an explication of the Japanese concept of serendipitous beauty." -The Wall Street Journal
"Indeed, you could say that Koren has spearheaded the design equivalent of the slow food movement." -The New York Times
From the Author
See also Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts.
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Wabi Sabi is a term that comes from two Japanese words mashed together and it is rarely defined, indeed it kind of avoids being defined. The author says Japanese people know the feeling but not the definition. This was indeed my experience in Tokyo as I asked my friend to guide me to things that connected with Wabi Sabi culture.
There are black and white photos on almost every other page of this book, of various things that convey the Wabi Sabi idea. The book spends a few pages on conveying the definition or more accurately, the feeling of Wabi Sabi, it gives a bit of history, then outlines the "Wabi Sabi Universe" which includes the following headings:
State of mind
Wabi Sabi is the opposite of the Rat Race. It reminds me of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount or the struggle against nature. It values simplicity and perhaps above all the process of nature. Thoreau and Emerson would approve.
"Get rid of all that is unnecessary"
"Wabi sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success--wealth, status, power, and luxury--and enjoy the unencumbered life."
"Things wabi sabi have no need for the reassurance of status or the validation of market culture."
I highly recommend this book for anyone who, like me, is a rigid Type A with difficulty acknowledging (let alone accepting!) that the standard Earth day is 24 hours instead of 62 and sometimes failures are our greatest successes. While not directly instructing you on the specific creation of imperfections within your own work, this book will make you uncomfortable in the most gently reassuring way while you look for the reasons for those flaws and examine the moments of personal growth they allow you and whoever may view or experience what you make secondhand.