Books Archives (17 posts)

Sterling’s Gold

I can’t wait to get my hands on Sterling’s Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man - Roger Sterling’s book from season 4 of Mad Men.

With sterling quotes like “Being with a client is like being in a marriage. Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons, and eventually they hit you in the face” this book is just the thing to tide me over until season 5. I think this is a brilliant marketing move by HBO or whoever is responsible for the book. If you’re a fan of the show this book would make a great gift.

Posted in Books at 7:31 PM



37 Signals is at it again and this time they have a highly anticipated book coming out called REWORK. Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have written a collection of essays on what works for their highly successful company.

In what may be a first, REWORK has released a video trailer to promote the book. More trailers will be released leading up to the launch of the book.

The early reviews from Seth Godin, Chris Anderson, Mark Cuban and Jeff Bezos praise the book. I like this quote from William C. Taylor, founder of Fast Company magazine:

The brilliance of REWORK is that it inspires you to rethink everything you thought you knew about strategy, customers, and getting things done.

All of this buzz and the book hasn’t been released to the public yet. I’ll be getting my copy on March 3, 2010 when it gets released on Amazon

Posted in Books at 4:22 PM Is In The Web Designer’s Idea Book

The Web Designer's Idea Book

I forgot to mention this earlier but is featured on page 50 of The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design.

Author Patrick McNeil liked the retro design style of and included it in his chapter of retro designed websites. His book provides plenty of design inspiration with its collection of various design styles, themes and types. I often find myself looking at books and magazines like this before designing a new website. is also feature on McNeil’s site, Design Meltdown which contains a lot of great examples of web design styles.

Posted in Books and Design at 8:44 PM

Free Shipping on BookCloseouts Orders Over $35

From November 2 - December 31, 2009, BookCloseouts is offering free shipping on all orders over $35.

To take advantage of this offer use the following when you checkout:

  • Coupon Number: freeshipping
  • Coupon Password:

I picked up a copy of Sally Mann’s Deep South for just $14.99 (normally priced at $60.00) and John Blakemore’s Black and White Photography Workshop for $13.99 (50% off).

BookCloseouts sells bargain books that publishers sell off to reduce their excess inventories. They don’t carry everything but if you take a look at their selection you can usually find some great deals.

Posted in Books at 2:22 PM


Outliers book cover

Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers is a fascinating read. Gladwell examines the story of success — why some people are outliers (“for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience”). Some of the outliers he examines are Canadian junior hockey players, Bill Gates and The Beatles.

For Gladwell, “success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities”. If you want to be on the Canadian junior hockey team then it matters what month you were born in (January). If you want to be a Silicon Valley billionaire then it matters what year you were born in (1955). If you want to be a successful airline pilot then it matters what country you were born in.

This book is for everyone, whether you’re successful or not. Gladwell writes with clarity and uses some interesting examples to explain success. I found the book hard to put down after the first few pages.

I never knew that Malcolm Gladwell was a fellow Canadian that grew up in Elmira, Ontario, and graduated from the University of Toronto. He’s been a staff writer with The New Yorker since 1996.

A conversation with Malcolm Gladwell — Charlie Rose Show
Outliers — Wikipedia

Posted in Books at 10:36 PM is Slipping has been slipping in terms of service and product selection for over the last year. If you live in Canada then you have to deal with which is not the same company as

The product selection is inferior, the prices are higher and the inventory is a downright joke at times. Quite often will have mulitple copies of a book in stock and will have nothing.

I ordered 2 books and a DVD in December 2007. One of the books and the DVD were in stock and shipped immediately. The other book wasn’t in stock and the estimated ship time was 8 weeks. I cancelled that part of the order or so I thought.

This morning I received a copy of Working The Light: A Landscape Photography Master Class. Now how is that for service?

It took 10 months to get a book in stock and send me an order that I already cancelled! I ordered the book from at least 8 months ago. Something is seriously wrong with

As a result I now do most of my online book/DVD shopping at Their site was weak when they started but now they are on par with if not better. Their inventory surpasses which is the main reason I use them now.

This summer I was looking for 4 books. had 1 of them in stock. had all of the books in stock and that is where I purchased them.

Posted in Books at 11:13 AM

Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours

Toronto based writer Joe Clark has published a new e-book about Canadian spelling—Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours: How to Feel Good About Canadian English.

Canadian spelling is tricky and easy to get wrong. But the book reveals the results of new, original research - into everything from newspaper articles to court rulings to literature to blogs - that Canadian spelling is well accepted, well practised (not “practiced”), and stable.

This could be the perfect book to pass the time when I go on jury duty.

Posted in Books at 10:16 AM

I am anti-line

When it comes to notebooks, I prefer a Moleskine with blank pages, no lines.

I love this amusing quote from Rands:

I’m fervently anti-line on the page, but for the sake of science, I’ve tried a couple of lined notebooks. The result: yeah, you eventually stop seeing the lines, but read that again, you stop seeing what? I don’t need lines on a notebook. I needed lines in 3rd grade when I was learning how to write. I’m good now, thanks.

I find the lines get in the way. I can be more creative with my sketches and ideas when I have a blank canvas. Lines hamper creativity.

I also feel like I have to cram as much information as possible onto a page. Wasted space fills up a notebook in no time and means that I have to get a replacement. My Moleskin notebooks last an average of 12 months.

I am anti-line.

Posted in Books and Miscellaneous at 8:51 PM for cheap cooking and photography books

If you’re at all like me love photography books then has some incredible bargains for you. I couldn’t believe how many of the books that I own were available on this site for 50-70% off. With the markup in Canadian books the discounts are even greater.

This isn’t but for Photograpy books, this should be your first stop when shopping.

For books on cooking, food and wine then you’ll definitely want to check out this site. They are offering an additional 25% of their ridiculously cheap prices.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, then use the online promo code road and password to receive $5 US off your order of $35 US or more. Unbelievable.

Posted in Books and Food and Photography at 9:49 PM

Taste and Power — Mondovino Revisited

Jonathan Nossiter, a trained sommelier, produced, directed, shot and edited a fabulous documentary film about the wine industry called Mondovino (2004). I’m amazed at how many wine lovers I meet have never heard of the film. If you enjoy wine at all then purchase this film or at the very least, rent it!

3 years later, Nossiter is still on a crusade to tell us about the evils of the globalization of wine. He’s written a book called Taste and Power that continues to slam influential wine critics and the outrageous prices of some wines. Robert Parker and The Wine Spectator are favourite targets in Nossiter’s book and film. is reporting that Nossiter “attacks just about anyone involved in the production or sale of wine” which should make it a good read in my opinion. Love him or hate him, Nossiter has a lot of interesting things to say about the wine industry.

Posted in Books and Food and Movies at 12:56 AM

Elements of Color Photography

Nothing makes my day like finding a remainder book (that is actually decent) for 90% off the cover price. Such was the case when I stopped in at David Mirvish Books on Art last night to kill some time.

I picked up a brand new copy of George Todd’s Elements of Color Photography for $4.99. You can’t purchase a photography magazine for that little!

Todd’s book is nicely bound, contains 80 photos, and the stories behind them. It’s similar to ‘the making of’ books by Ansel Adams and Charlie Waite. Great stuff.

Posted in Books at 10:33 AM

Angels & Demons

Yesterday I finished reading Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons. Like most of Brown’s novels, this one is a page turner.

Parts of it were a little too unbelievable. When the main character, Robert Langdon experiences a miraculous free-fall I had to groan and roll my eyes. Aside from this, the novel will keep you guessing with the its clever puzzles and mysteries. There are plenty of plot twists that will surprise you until the end as well.

Did I like it better than The Da Vinci Code? Hard to say. Both books have similar characters and story lines. I think I would have to go with the Da Vinci Code, only because I had a chance to visit Paris right after I read the novel. I’ve never been to Rome but after reading Angels & Demons I have a renewed interest in seeing the city. If I could hop on a plane tomorrow, and visit Rome for a week, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. Thanks to Paul for lending me his copy of the book.

Posted in Books at 5:45 PM

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

I am loving Steven Jay Schneider’s book, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Hardcover, 960 pages, 4.5 pounds and impossible to put down.

This isn’t a book of the best 1001 films ever made. It’s a compilation of some really great and interesting films that you’ve probably overlooked or never heard of. If you’re a film buff then you’ll want a copy of this book right away.

If you’re a Netflix or member then you’ll have plenty of films to add to your list. I’ve seen a lot of the films in this book but I was surprised by how many films I haven’t seen or have trouble remembering. Here’s a sample:

Chimes at Midnight (1965)
Nashville (1975)
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Breaking Away (1979)
In The Year of The Pig (1969)
No Man’s Land (2001)
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)

The layout of the book is similar to a film festival guide. It has a small review of each film, and in the sidebar it contains the country of origin, language, director, cast, writer, producer, director of photography, music and awards. Quite often there is a photo with each film as well.

Posted in Books at 8:59 PM

Digital Fortress

My idea of a perfect Sunday evening is a 10 year old Tawny Port (Taylor Fladgate), Stilton blue cheese and a good book. Last night I finished reading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress. It’s a trademark, Dan Brown thriller—lots of page turning suspense, short chapters, multiple plots and plenty of surprises.

This novel was published in 1998 and is a little dated which is unavoidable I suppose when you write about technology. Netscape is described as being the “sweetest” web browser. Brown also makes a big deal about the secrecy surrounding the NSA but thanks to Enemy of the State (1998) and a number of other Hollywood movies, the National Security Agency is no longer “No Such Agency”.

I found myself figuring out some of several plot twists and mysteries, then having to read patiently while the characters in the novel figure them out. I don’t remember The Da Vinci Code as being very easy to figure out and can only assume that Brown has become much better at crafting puzzles and plot twists in his writing.

Like The Da Vinci Code, I couldn’t put this book down for very long and enjoyed reading it. Thanks to Paul (who almost became my brother-in-law) for lending me his copy.

Posted in Books at 12:18 PM

Behind the Seen

Last week I finished reading a book called Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema, written by Charles Koppelman.

If you’ve ever done any video editing or have an interest in how films are made then you’ll find this a fascinating read. There are also a few amusing stories along the way about movie producer Harvey Weinstein—how he falls asleep during screenings of Cold Mountain then asks what the film is about.

Most people have never heard of Walter Murch unless they are in the film industry. Many of the films he has worked on as film editor or sound editor have been nominated for Oscars—Cold Mountain, Ghost, The Conversation. He’s won Oscars for The English Patient and Apocalypse Now.

Wired magazine has a small story on Murch and mentions that he used Apple’s Final Cut Pro to edit Jarhead (2005)in HD. Jarhead is the latest film by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) and comes out this Friday. I’m looking forward to seeing this over the weekend.

Posted in Books and Movies at 4:33 PM

The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film

I just finished reading The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film by Michael Ondaatje (author of The English Patient). If you’re at all interested in film or video editing then this is a fabulous read.

As some of you will know, Walter Murch is a legendary film editor (three time Oscar winner) and sound editor. His conversations with Ondaatje reveal a lot about his creative process and provide great insight into modern filmmaking.

What surprised me the most about Murch is that he likes to isolate himself from outside influences when editing. He says this about his creative process:

Some filmmakers, when they’re at home, love to have many television monitors going, showing films all the time, so their home is peopled by classic films, part of the atmosphere, to foment the creative activity. To me, that’s an impossible way of living—by my own lights, it’s ultimately destructive of the creative process. Things become too self-refential—look at what’s happened to modern painting or modern music in the twentieth century. All new compositions refer to previous compositions in arcane ways. You build an incredible sand castle, a house of cards with references within references within references. You can see it happening now with films, and I don’t know if it’s such a good thing. It’s fun occasionally, but not as a steady diet.

Murch’s creative process is the complete opposite of director Steven Soderbergh who says in one film commentary:

Godard is a constant source of inspiration. Before I do anything, I go back and look at as many of his films as I can, as a reminder of what’s possible.

I’d have to agree with Murch in that popular culture has become incredibly self-referential, formulaic and quite often, dull.

Posted in Books at 3:05 PM

The Da Vinci Code

When a friend of mine heard that I was going to Paris for a week he said I have to read The Da Vinci Code. He said I would regret going to the Louvre without reading this novel.

Okay, so I started reading Dan Brown’s controversial novel last Sunday. I couldn’t put it down and finished it before the end of the week. It’s an exciting read with a great mystery.

The theology and history in the novel are outrageous at times. My curiosity led me to delve a little deeper into things like the Priory of Sion, Les Dossier Secrets, Opus Dei and corporal mortification.

For me, one of the best things about reading The Da Vinci Code, is that I can’t wait to get to the Louvre and experience some of the incredible art that is there. I won’t be lining up to see the Mona Lisa or take any Da Vinci Code tours—too cheesy and a waste of time. There is just too much to see.

If you’ve read The Da Vinci Code you may want to check out the FAQs on Dan Brown’s website. You can also look forward to The Da Vinci Code (2006) to be directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks (Langdon), Jean Reno (Fache) and Audrey Tautou (Sophie).

Posted in Books at 9:07 PM