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Rob Walker
Essays | Biography | Books | Projects | Public Speaking | Articles & Essays | Contact

Books


Rob Walker: BookSignificant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things 
Edited by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn
Fantagraphics, 2012

Amazon >>

"Finding magic in unexpected things." — NPR's All Things Considered

"Like a Salvation Army staffed by brilliant writers..." — GalleyCat

"The short stories are lovely. Some allude to an object's brush with fame; others suggest heartache, loneliness and the occasional bar fight. Each story casts a strange spell on the objects, and on our perception of them." — The Economist's More Intelligent Life

"To those who don't believe in the transcendent power of a good story ... behold: the Significant Objects project." — AdWeek.com


Rob Walker: BookThis Consumer Heaven: 55 Explorations from the Frontiers and Back alleys of 21st Century Consumer Culture 
Rob Walker
KDP, 2012

Amazon >>

To me, criticism in the sphere of consumer culture is not a matter of reviewing, endorsing, or attacking products, or otherwise providing shopping tips. As a critical subject, consumption is about buyers and sellers, the many ways the two come together — and why. That's the framework I used when I picked out Consumed columns to gather here, because that's the framework I used when I sat down every morning for seven years and tried to sort through the possibilities to determine what I should be writing about. — From the Introduction


Rob Walker: BookBuying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are 
Rob Walker
Random House, 2008

Amazon >>

One of the five best nonfiction books of 2008
Salon

One of the Ten Best Business Books of 2008
Fast Company

One of the Best Business Books of 2008
USA Today

“Fascinating … A compelling blend of cultural anthropology and business journalism.”
— Andrea Sachs, Time Magazine

“An often startling tour of new cultural terrain.”
— Laura Miller, Salon 

“Few observers have plumbed the subterranean poetry of marketing as thoroughly as Walker.”
— Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times Book Review

“Walker fills his richly reported book with insights from cutting-edge marketers, entrepreneurs and artists. … His thinking is provocative.”
— Kerry Hannon, USA Today 

“Walker … makes a startling claim: Far from being immune to advertising, as many people think, American consumers are increasingly active participants in the marketing process. … [He] leads readers through a series of lucid case studies to demonstrate that, in many cases, consumers actively participate in infusing a brand with meaning. … Convincing.”
— Jay Dixit, The Washington Post

"It's enlightening and fun to follow Walker’s metamorphosis … to fascinated explorer of U.S. consumer marketing. He has a flair for branding [and] an affinity for people who seek cultural alternatives. … there’s plenty of substance here, and plenty for marketers to ponder.”
— Andrew O’Connell, Harvard Business Review

“Walker makes all this cultural observation compelling; he is a good reporter and storyteller, with a sharp eye for the comic.”
— David Billet, The Wall Street Journal

“If you find yourself in this book and don’t like what you see, at least it’s not all your fault. Blame marketing – and thank Walker for the insights.”
— Carlo Wolff, The Boston Globe

The most trenchant psychoanalyst of our consumer selves is Rob Walker. Buying In is a fresh and fascinating exploration of the places where material culture and identity intersect.
— Michael Pollan, author, In Defense of Food

Rob Walker is a gift. He shows that in our shattered, scattered world, powerful brands are existential, insinuating themselves into the human questions “what am I about?” and “how do I connect?” His insight that brand influence is becoming both more pervasive and more hidden — that we are not so self-defined as we like to think — should make us disturbed, and vigilant.
— Jim Collins, author, Good to Great

Rob Walker is a terrific writer who understands both human nature and the business world. His book is highly entertaining, but it’s also a deeply thoughtful look at the ways in which marketing meets the modern psyche.
— Bethany McLean, co-author, The Smartest Guys in the Room


Rob Walker: BookLetters From New Orleans
Rob Walker
Garrett County Press, 2005

Amazon >>

Amazon.com Best Travel Books of 2005.

“These stories now function as 21 silent little jazz funerals: exuberant, celebratory and tragic.”
The New York Times Book Review

“The book has a deeply personal way of relating to the reader no matter what Walker is writing about…. A fantastic read … It is more than just a good book. Its insider-outsider perspective and street-level historical explorations make it essential for anyone interested in New Orleans.”
— Maximum Rock n Roll

Letters from New Orleans tells the stories that you've never heard before and that you just can't hear while jaunting through the muggy city during Jazz Fest or Mardis Gras. … Fresh and poignant.”
— Forbes.com

“In Letters from New Orleans, Walker contemplates, almost wistfully, various notions of denial and self-invention and loss — those masks that symbolize the city aren't lost on him. And his pointed, witty insights about the city won't be lost on readers.”
— The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune

“Seeing the city through Rob Walker's eyes reveals a place at once familiar and yet different.”
Chicago Tribune

“The quality that makes Walker's 'modest series of stories about a place that means a lot to [him]' rewarding reading is his immersion in the local. ... Walker's book, 'not a memoir, a history, or an exposé,' won't help a tourist get around in New Orleans, but it will help him or her see beyond the tour guide's pointed finger.”
Publisher's Weeekly

“This book is far more than a poetic testament to a strange and wonderful town. It's a story about a city boy who recognizes the need to slow down and observe carefully — a story of a couple who learns to let our word's odd richness really sink in. I recommend it to anyone who feels life is going by too fast.”
— Po Bronson, author, What Should I Do With My Life?

“Rob Walker is a wonderful writer with a gentle yet comprehensive inquisitiveness, the rigorous, observant eye of a journalist, and the light, poetic touch of an artist. He has managed to make New Orleans — a city that has been documented and written about for centuries — seem completely fresh and unfamiliar and wholly compelling. Letters From New Orleans is a lovely book, and so much more.”
— David Rakoff, author, Fraud


Rob Walker: BookTitans of Finance: True Tales of Money & Business
Rob Walker with artist Josh Neufeld
Alternative Comics, 2001

Amazon >>

2011 iPad Version >>


“Dissections of executive arrogance and mismanagement. … Superman never pounded businessmen-gone-bad the way Titans of Finance does.”
— James M. Pethokoukis, U.S. News & World Report 

“Sharp and fearless. The comic book is hilarious — or it would be if it weren't all true. Recommended reading.”
— Nell Minow, The Corporate Library

“I have always been fascinated by the men behind the curtain, the actual faces that make up faceless corporations. Titans of Finance is an amazing and much needed work that shows that the machine is made not only made of real people, but made of really odd people. My only complaint is that I didn't think of it first.”
— Rich Mackin, author, Dear Mr. Mackin

“A delightful book, fascinating reading, and an amazing accomplishment. A+.”
— Cliff Biggers, Comics Buyers Guide

“A fine antidote to the free-enterprise hype ladled out by ‘capitalist tool’ media outlets like Forbes and Money. … Hilarious.” 
— Scott Gilbert, Comics Journal

“A brilliant use of the medium.”
— James J. Cramer, former hedge fund manager; journalist; founder, TheStreet.com

“These accounts of the lives of the sometimes rich and frequently unscrupulous hit the mark with their irony and sharp observations.”
— Harvey Pekar, author/creator, American Splendour


Rob Walker: Book Where Were You? 
Rob Walker 
Feed Books (Annual Zine/E-Zine: 2006 - present) 

The latest in an ongoing series of notations concerning high-profile or otherwise notable deaths. Since 1992 have I recorded “where I was” when I learned about such passings, along with whatever thoughts I have about the person who has died. The present volume covers deaths that occurred in 2010.

Buy from Feed Books >>

“Utterly Addictive.”
— David Shields, author, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

“The entries themselves are straightforward and unsentimental. Collectively, they serve as a phenomenological study of fame and mortality. Their effect is both cumulative and sublime." 
— Jim Hanas

“Your zine is great! And only mildly depressing."
— Actual Reader

 “Very interesting … I was bummed that in the end everyone died!”
— Another Actual Reader
Rob Walker is a technology/culture columnist for Yahoo News. He is the former Consumed columnist for The New York Times Magazine, and has contributed to many publications. He is co-editor (with Joshua Glenn) of the book Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things, and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.


Recent Book



Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things
Edited by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn
Fantagraphics, 2012
More Books >>


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Other Essays: 2010-2012


Etsy Goes Pro
Wired, October 2012

Tumblr Follows Its ♥
The New York Times Magazine, July 12, 2012

What It Takes To Be A 'Tuber
The New York Times Magazine, June 28, 2012

A Product of Creative Friction
The New York Times Magazine, June 3, 2012

This Brand Is Your Brand
OnEarth Magazine, May 31, 2012

MakerBot's Meta-Tools
Fast Company, January 2012

Politics As Entertainment
The New York Times Magazine, January 4, 2012

The Dog Ate My Paycheck
Marketplace, December 16, 2011

Recognizably Anonymous
December 8, 2011: Slate

A Visual Object for the Digital Era
December 2011: The Atlantic

What Percent Are You, Really? 
November 29, 2011: Marketplace

The Machine That Makes You Musical
October 23, 2011: The New York Times

The Cult of Bang & Olufsen
October 2011: Wired

4CP Friday: Effacement
September 2011: HiLobrow

Replacement Therapy
September 2011: The Atlantic

Not All Consumers Are Equal
August 18, 2011: Marketplace

The Trivialities and Transcendence of Kickstarter 
August 5, 2011: The New York Times Magazine

The Swan Song of the Top 40
July 15, 2011: The New York Times Magazine

Foursquare's Branding With Badges
July 5, 2011: Slate

Failure Chic
June 16, 2011: Marketplace

Hiring "the crowd" for a design job
May 31, 2011: Slate

Advertising that's "relevant" — but to whom?
May 23, 2011: Marketplace

Disliking "Dislike"
March 31, 2011: Marketplace

The Propaganda of Concern
March 22, 2011: Slate

The Sound of Radiolab
The New York Times Magazine, April 7, 2011

Disliking "Dislike" 
Marketplace, March 31, 2011

Fun Stuff (Digital Collections)
The New York Times Magazine, February 11, 2011

Go Figure (Scalies)
The New York Times Magazine, February 4, 2011

Ghosts In The Machine
The New York Times Magazine, January 9, 2011

Collecting: Bicentennial Quarters
DesignObserver.com December 9, 2010

Go Figure (Scalies)
The New York Times Magazine, February 4, 2011

The Hidden: Filtering "Friends" On Facebook
TheAtlatntic.com, October 4, 2010

Hearing Things (Music Objects) 
The New York Times Magazine, September 10, 2010

Taking Lulz (Sort of) Seriously 
The New York Times Magazine, July 16, 2010

Brilliant Mistakes (Digital Antiquing) 
The New York Times Magazine, July 25, 2010

Valuing $0 (Gifts) 
The New York Times Magazine, May 13, 2010

Rewind (The Cassette) 
The New York Times Magazine, April 23, 2010

Slightly Used (Best Made Ax) 
The New York Times Magazine, April 3, 2010

Clutter, Objects, Joy
Murketing.com, March 4, 2010

Shopping Our Way To Safety (Review) 
The Journal of Industrial Ecology, February 2010

The Unlikely Success of Boing Boing 
Fast Company, December 2010/January 2010

Site and Sound: One Home, Sixteen Objects and the Things We Listen to Now
Essay for Rewind, Remix, Replay exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, January 20, 2010

Complete List >>




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