UnderstandingUnderstanding

Front Cover
Richard Saul Wurman & Jack Dangermond publication, 2017 - Communication - 707 pages
This is a book for people to dip into, as they would walk in and out of the room of a dinner party and embrace their interests. Before Information Architecture, before the rules on how to organize information, before you learn grammar, before you work hard at expanding your vocabulary and go through the exercises of parallel meanings of things as using a Thesaurus and as one writes papers in class, before any learning one must understand. Understanding Understanding precedes the whole process of learning, of giving yourself permission to understand the formations of facts, data, stories, pictures, words, conversations that allow you to understand. This book could be called A Celebration of Conversation or Musings with my Mentors. It is about the fantasy of being the dumbest person in the room and being able to identify all the myriad connections of how others think, talk, explain and visualize. The following is a collection of many of the most interesting idiosyncratic paths of understanding that lead to creation.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This book was a very inspirational book that made me question if I understand anything in life and made me question what my purpose in life is sadly I only got to read the first sentence because of my pet Corey tried to bite me and ended up eating the whole book except one word which was "understanding."But it was easily the best book I ever read.
From Mr Understanding
 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to enter the mind of a genius, here's your chance. Wurman, who founded the TED conferences, also mapped dozens of cities, and established an entire new branch of design—Information Architecture— has more than enough credits for several genius level resumes. He's written 85 books. He's also the author of a truly life changing article on failure in the design process.
Whereas most geniuses dazzle you with how far they above the ordinary mind, Wurman takes you along on a series of explorations in clarity. He teaches the value of contemplating a single, penetrating question, and following it to logical extremes. He likes to start by observing things with a completely empty mind, thus to see a subject more clearly. He doesn't dumb down complex material. He does lay bare the utter necessity of real understanding. The pages are filled with amiable self-talk, studded with some really remarkable phrases and sentences. "Information Anxiety", "Intellectual Jazz". "I don't write a book out of my expertise, that is finite—I write out of my ignorance, which is infinite." "I seek clarity, not simplicity."
Wurman loves jousting with highly accomplished people; he's not bashful about dropping their names. At the same time, he's always filled with insight and admiration for exceptional work. He loves people who grapple with complexity and deliver work of elegant simplicity. Architects, musicians, billionaires.
This book is a typographic playground. Fun to look at, it challenging the viewer to take in information in many ways. It is harder to really read; that is perhaps its only drawback. Because UU deserves to be really read, studied, gleaned—there are a lot of insights here for the reader who goes deeper.
Most books are written to be read front to back. Wurman—ever the keen observer of people—knows that we read by grazing, wandering, bouncing like a pinball between bright lights. So his organization is heuristic—bright lights everywhere. Articles are connected, some by time, some by personality, some by subject, some just by design. (Ok, some are just for fun.)
None of this description does justice to the experience of perusing UU. It will most certainly occupy coffee tables of many movers and shakers.
Think of it as a ticket to ride. UU is a rare opportunity to wander the mind, curiosity, and friendships of one of the most important intellects of the Information Era.
 

About the author (2017)

Richard Saul Wurman has written, designed and published 90 books on wildly divergent topics. He received both his M. Arch. & B. Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, from where he graduated in 1959 with the highest honors, and was awarded the Arthur Spayed Brooks Gold Medal. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates, Graham Fellowships, a Guggenheim and numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as being the Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Wurman has also been awarded the Annual Gold Medal in Discourse from Trinity College, Dublin, a Gold Medal from AIGA and Boston Science Museum's 50th Annual Bradford Washburn Award. He is also a Fellow of the AIA and in the Art Director's Club Hall of Fame. Richard Wurman created and chaired the TED conference from 1984 thru 2002, the TEDMED conference from 1995 to 2010, as well as the e.g. and WWW conference.

Bibliographic information