Very cool find: A small book by Matthew Frederick, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School. Well designed (a raw slab of heavy cardboard for a cover which makes it feel handmade and intimate) and sized for easy portability, this book is full of thoughtful insights for architects as well as all of us architect wannabes (which I freely admit to being). The guidance here is actually quite universal, so designers, artists and thoughtful types will all find something of value.

Matthew Frederick is a local guy (Cambridge) and has not gone without accolades since he published the book in 2007—He won the 2008 Silver Award Winner, Architecture Category, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and General Trade Illustrated Category in the 2008 New England Book Show.

Here’s a few samples:

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The success of the masterpieces seems to lie not so much in their freedom from faults -indeed we tolerate the grossest errors in them all- but in the immense persuasiveness of a mind which has completely master its perspective.

–Virginia Woolf

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The Chinese symbol for crisis is comprised of two characters: one indicating “danger,” the other, “opportunity.”

A design problem is not something to be overcome, but an opportunity to be embraced. The best design solutions do not make a problem go away, but accept the problem as a necessary state of the world. Frequently they are little more than an eloquent restatement of the problem.

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Three levels of knowing

SIMPLICITY is the world view of the child or uninformed adult, fully engaged in his own experience and happily unaware of what lies beneath the surface of immediate reality.

COMPLEXITY characterizes the ordinary adult world view. It is characterized by an awareness of complex systems in nature and society but an inability to discern clarifying patterns and connections.

INFORMED SIMPLICITY is an enlightened view of reality. It is founded upon an ability to discern or create clarifying patterns within complex mixtures. Pattern recognition is a crucial skill for an architect, who must create a highly ordered building amid many competing and frequently nebulous design considerations.

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