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My Mixbook for 2011

This year’s mixbook is hot off the presses!


A Year of Ideas, Volume Three

Well, here we are at the end of 2011 and Volume 3 of A Year of Ideas is ready. Just like the past two volumes, I spent the past year reading a ton on the web (something around 1500 articles) and bookmarking the most interesting stuff for possible inclusion in Volume 3. I ended setting aside 61 articles and have spent the last couple of months editing that list down to 25, creating the interior design and cover, and getting them printed by (if you want to read more about how that works, check out last year’s entry). They just arrived and I’m pretty excited and happy with how they turned out.

A Year of Ideas, Volume 3 contains 25 articles that I read online in 2011. (Pictures taken by Dave Mello)

The book is a 365-page (unintentional) digest-size paperback. The interior follows a very similar design to last year’s, which contained all kinds of improvements to the layout, typography, links, images, etc. of 2009’s. The only difference—aside from having fewer but longer articles—is that I fixed some page numbering glitches and ditched the formal introduction. Instead, I left a blank area so I could write in unique intros for each person I sent a book.

As usual, I wish I could send far more copies out than I’m planning to (about 25-30). But at the same time, I like that these are a rarity. Also, I’d probably be treading upon thin ice if I were to create a significant volume of these—I’m sure some of the authors wouldn’t be thrilled by the idea. But you don’t necessarily need the actual book to enjoy the material. If you want to read the main content (the printed version also included many quotes, images, and links to online content in between each chapter) of the book too, I’ve included the table of contents below.

A Year of Ideas, Volume 3:

  1. How to Build a Universe that Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later, by Philip K. Dick
  2. What Do People Do All Day?, by Giovanni Tiso
  3. Network Security in the Medium Term, 2061-2561 AD, by Charlie Stross
  4. Technology as a Material, by Tom Armitage
  5. Advance of the Data Civilization, by Stephen Wolfram
  6. If You Want to Succeed, You’ve Got to Assume No-One Cares, by Martin Weigel
  7. On Retail, by Dan Hill
  8. Projections of the Void, by Matt Jones
  9. The Sad, Beautiful Fact that We’re All Going to Miss Almost Everything, by Linda Holmes
  10. How the Internet Gets Inside Us, by Adam Gopnik
  11. Never Be the Smartest Guy in the Room, by Phil Johnson
  12. A Memory of Webs Past, by Ariel Bleicher
  13. Programmed for Love, by Jeffrey R. Young
  14. Can You Say…”Hero”?, by Tom Junod
  15. The Room and the Elephant, by Sven Birkerts
  16. How to Behave in an Art Museum, by Timothy Aubry
  17. Design and Business: The Bottom Line, by Helen Walters
  18. Caveman: An Interview with Michel Siffre, by Joshua Foer
  19. Phantom Time Hypothesis, from Wikipedia
  20. Ruins of Imagination (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), by Tim Maly
  21. My Year at Sea, by Christopher Buckley
  22. Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’, by Daniel J. Solove
  23. Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, by Tim Berners-Lee
  24. The Hardy Boys, the Final Chapter…, by Gene Weingarten
  25. On Recycling the Past, by Russell Davies

Here are a few more images of the interior of the book…


(The Backstory)

About three years ago, Emmet Connolly introduced me to the idea of using print-on-demand services to create books of web content. I immediately tried it out for myself and loved it. I learned a few things right away and tried it out again less than a month later. It was after my second attempt that I realized I could do something much cooler with this process: Create and design book compilations and give them to friends, colleagues and family as holiday gifts. I decided to call it A Year of Ideas, and created the first volume in 2009. Last year, it occurred to me that these anthologies are like the book versions of mixtapes. So, I called the second volume of A Year of Ideas a mixbook. People seemed to like that. So, I’m going to keep making them.


Update (12/6/2011): Books Received!

I’m getting word from all over that the books are arriving! Some made longer journeys than others; recipients are all over, including Nashville, New York, Boston, California, remote villages of Canada, Toronto, London, Zurich, New Zealand, etc. etc.

As they come in, I’ll post pictures of the books in their new homes:


AYOI soaking up the light with a familiar friend.
-sent from Brooklyn by Able Parris


Top: At home in the “museum.”
Bottom: In a place of honor in the library.
I love seeing Volume 2 in the background 😉
-sent from Bayonne, N.J. by Michael Babwahsingh


Arrived (and in good company).
-sent from London by Tom Armitage. Here’s his original Instagram.


Getting on a plane out west today. This is gonna take me the whole way and back.
-sent from Brooklyn by Silas Munro.


The 2011 edition of A Year of Ideas is near the top of my reading pile, and the timing is perfect: I’m about to go traveling, three months backpacking in Asia…
-sent from Zurich by Emmet Connolly. His original post here.


We’re so glad we made the list!
-sent from Chapel Hill by Pepper and Lauren Walstrum.


What a brilliant thing. Very nice.
-sent from London by Russell Davies.


A Year of Ideas during its New Zealand travels – here in the garden of my in laws in Te Awamutu.
-sent from New Zealand by Giovanni Tiso.

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