The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars
A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design
Hardcover, 400 pages, ISBN: 9780358126607
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020
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From the publisher:
A New York Times, Washington Post, USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A beautifully designed guidebook to the unnoticed yet essential elements of our cities, from the creators of the wildly popular 99% Invisible podcast
- Have you ever wondered what those bright, squiggly graffiti marks on the sidewalk mean?
- Or stopped to consider why you don’t see metal fire escapes on new buildings?
- Or pondered the story behind those dancing inflatable figures in car dealerships?
99% Invisible is a big-ideas podcast about small-seeming things, revealing stories baked into the buildings we inhabit, the streets we drive, and the sidewalks we traverse. The show celebrates design and architecture in all of its functional glory and accidental absurdity, with intriguing tales of both designers and the people impacted by their designs.
Now, in The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design, host Roman Mars and coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs. With deeply researched entries and beautiful line drawings throughout, The 99% Invisible City will captivate devoted fans of the show and anyone curious about design, urban environments, and the unsung marvels of the world around them.
Praise for The 99% Invisible City:
“[A] diverse and enlightening book . . .The 99% Invisible City is altogether fresh and imaginative when it comes to thinking about urban spaces.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Here is a field guide, a boon, a bible, for the urban curious. Your city’s secret anatomy laid bare—a hundred things you look at but don’t see, see but don’t know. Each entry is a compact, surprising story, a thought piece, an invitation to marvel. Together, they are almost transformative. To know why things are as they are adds a satisfying richness to daily existence. This book is terrific, just terrific.”—Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff, Grunt, and Gulp
“The 99% Invisible City brings into view the fascinating but often unnoticed worlds we walk and drive through every day, and to read it is to feel newly alive and aware of your place in the world. This book made me laugh, and it made me cry, and it reminded me to always read the plaque.” —John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles All The Way Down
“We usually define cities in terms of their bigness, so it’s easy to forget that our daily experience of any city is made up of countless tiny, intimate encounters. Just as Jane Jacobs did fifty years ago, Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt provide a new way of seeing urban life, finding secrets and surprises behind every sewer grate, storefront, and street sign.” —Michael Bierut, design critic and author of How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World
“[The 99% INVISIBLE CITY] celebrates the functional, serendipitous, and often beautiful ways that humans have shaped their surroundings.” — Ari Shapiro, National Public Radio
“The 99% Invisible City is not a book, but a pair of magic glasses that transform the mundane city around you into a vibrant museum of human ingenuity.” —Justin McElroy, podcaster and New York Times bestselling author
“The ideal companion for city buffs, who’ll come away seeing the streets in an entirely different light.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Conversational, bite-size entries [and] beautiful tricolor illustrations . . . A field guide for anywhere.” —Booklist
About the author:
is the creator and host of the podcast 99% Invisible, boasting over one million downloads per episode. He also founded Radiotopia, a leading collective of innovative independent podcasts. He lives in Berkeley, California.
(Credits: Book cover image and publisher’s description have been retrieved from BiblioShare.)
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