I’m very excited today to review ‘The Monocle Guide to Good Business’. Another gem in my library series.
I’m a huge fan of the Monocle brand ever since I first discovered the magazine back in 2007 at the now sadly closed Border bookshop in Oxford Street. I was instantly smitten, became a regular reader and an avid supporter!
A couple of years later I attended a talk Tyler Brûlé, Monocle’s Editor in Chief, gave to MBA students of the Rotman School of Management. I’ll never forget how passionate Tyler spoke about the magazine, why he founded it, how the format, paper and smell were key. He wanted the magazine to be collectors items.
For their first book – The Monocle Guide to Better Living – Monocle collaborated with the brilliant Gestalten, who publish and distribute books and other media on contemporary visual culture. This is a match made in heaven and now there’s no stopping them. Robert Klanten, co-founder, Publisher & Editor in Chief at Gestalten is equally dynamic, entrepreneurial and a good leader.
The Monocle Guide for Good Business, the second book in the Monocle series has just hit the shelves. Regular Monocle readers will be aware that Tyler Brûlé does not like the status quo. He’s in the business of changing, challenging, shaking things up. A true entrepreneur, he likes to guide anyone who will listen. He has firm views on everything, especially on how to set up and do good business.
This most beautiful publication, a true feast for the eye is adorned with gold foil lettering and a pale coloured linen cover. It’s worth the money just for that alone.
Who is it for? Basically it’s for anyone who has ever had a dream of starting their own venture, right through to established businesses that could do with an injection of innovation. If the Monocle brand can teach us one thing, it’s how to do business well, since Monocle has just sold a minority stake to a Japanese media company and has been valued at £70 million.
What you won’t find in the book is a get rich quick formula or any business jargons. No, this is for people and connoisseurs that are willing to work hard, value purpose, understand what it means to have a good lifestyle and who want to excel in what they do. It’s about starting small, doing it right and having fun along the way. The book covers everything from how to ‘get started’, to things you ‘need to know’, right through to ‘observations’ and ‘building an office’. It truly is the definite guide to good business and is backed up by the trademark Monocle photography and sublime layout and printing processes. Mr Brûlé has always understood that if you want people to take in information, you have to make it accessible, bite-sized, fun, visual and cut out boring jargons. He started this formula when he was Editor in Chief at Wallpaper and has gone on to excel in it with the Monocle magazine, and now the books!
Take a look at the book’s film trailer here.
The first two books in the Monocle book collection
If the Monocle brand is one thing, it’s aspirational, but in the good sense. It’s not about owning yachts and wearing expensive clothes (as so many people ignorantly believe). It’s about standing up to be counted, intelligent navigation through life, making better and wiser choices and challenging our own status quo. It’s about making every day count and being mindful with it. Oh yes, and then there is the visual porn and expensive products. But hey, it is Tyler Brûlé after all. But then I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Monocle does get a fair share of flack. To the naysayers, especially the media critics, I say: ‘go and set up your own businesses, be accountable, do some good out there and then write your commentaries. Critics to me are often failed beings in their respective industries.’ I predict Monocle will go from strength to strength and I will certainly be supporting them along the way.
As I unveil my own little new venture in a few weeks, I would like to thank Tyler Brûlé for all the inspiration over the years. It has certainly influenced and partly shaped my thinking.
Thank you Lee Williams (Gestalten office London).
This post will stay live until Monday 15th September.