Places & Spaces My Library

The Monocle Guide to Good Business

September 8, 2014

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 me, the magazine really came into its own once they started working with Japanese illustrators. Then came the wonderful posters, products, physical shops, radio station, cafés and books.

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.

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving

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 Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
The first two books in the Monocle book collection

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 1 – Get started – How to build a business (50 steps to success

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 1 – Get started – How to build a business (50 steps to success

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 2 – Next steps – Looking Ahead | Paris

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 3 – Need to know

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 4 – Business cities (and villages)

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 5 – Observations

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 6 – Build an office

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 6 – Build an office

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.

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  • Reply Britta September 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Lovely review, makes me want to get the book and read it.

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

      Thank you. It’s a great book.

  • Reply Sarah~Lou September 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Sounds like a really interesting read x

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

      It is and it’s also beautifully produced. x

  • Reply Mel September 9, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Wow, this is now on my wish list. Love it! Valuing lifestyle: tick. Start ups happen on a kitchen table: that’s me and that they recommend a Tolemeo. Class! Oh and I am so looking forward to learn about your project. Breaks are good for that aren’t they? Mel x

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Ha. Yes, anyone looking to venture into business will enjoy this. No doubt it will reach New Zealand soon. You’ll love all the design and the gorgeous cover too xx

  • Reply Judith September 10, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Ohhhh Tina you keep teasing us with your upcoming project, I’m so curious for the big reveal (I know you call me curious all the time, but I can’t help it, I just am 😉 ). At M&O there was a Monocle café with a pop up boutique with goodies, a selection of lifestyle products and coffee. Very smart! I never got to read lots of Monocles, but love what they call the French copycat of it (which I don’t agree with): The Good Life. I love reading about a large variety of subjects, not “just” fashion, design or interiors, but a bit of everything. Yep curiosity… Good luck with this busy September month, Tina!

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:28 am

      Monocle pop ups are springing up everywhere. There’s currently one in Selfridges, which I stumbled across the other day.
      I love the way they run Monocle. And smart is definitely the right word for it.

      The Good Life is a good magazine but for me, and apologies here, it’s a complete copycat of Monocle. The format, some of the design etc.
      However, it makes for a good read. I have the issue which was dedicated to London.

      Yes, I also like reading about various subjects, hence why I enjoy Monocle so much.
      Soon, my dear. x

  • Reply Holly September 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Oh my, this book sounds and looks perfectly delicious!! Thank you for the introduction Tina. You always make great recommendations. And your wonderful glimpses into the book are quite the tease. I completely understand why this book must live in the Colourliving library!

    I think I must get my hands on one soon 🙂


    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:31 am

      A complete MUST in my library. Soon Monocle will take over my entire library:-)

      I think you would enjoy it too AND you’re in Berlin. Go and visit the new Gestalten conceptstore & café located on the roof terrace of Bikini Berlin. I wish I could come with you…:-)

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey September 11, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Great review Tina. You know I stand firmly with you where Monocle is concerned… tho I may be slightly more fanatical/stalkerish at times 😉

    This is such a good guide and as someone who personally detests business guides, it’s wonderful to have a business book that does everything so well, because it ties into quality of life and better living 🙂

    And I really do look forward to hearing about your new venture.

    Big hugs xx

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Ha. We both wrote a review of this book:-)
      I definitely think you’re more “fanatical/stalkerish at times”.

      Couldn’t agree more. That’s where Monocle are such experts. They look at the whole picture. Loved the Book.

      Soon I will reveal all.
      Massive hugs back. xx

  • Reply Louise - 30s Magazine September 12, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Nice review and I also like the cover. We have a bookstore here in Leiden that sells coffee table and design books and the owner also mentioned this book for me to come and see in the store a few weeks ago.
    I’m very curious about your new venture. Awaiting the big reveal 🙂

    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Thank you. The cover is stunning with that slightly pale (with a tint of green) linen and gold foiling. Just stunning!

      Small bookshops are still the best!!
      Hope you’ve had a nice summer…

  • Reply Doris September 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Tina, this post comes at an apt time as I am just about to venture into my own journey of starting a business. I love your review and guidance so I am going to order this book as I need as much help as possible! Thank You.


    • Reply tina September 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Ah, yes. I think you will learn lots in this book that you can apply to your own journey of starting a business.
      Thank you. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and it will be a good companion….

      I also know you’ll do very well and if you have any business questions feel free to ask me anytime.

  • Reply Alison Sye September 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Sounds like my kinda business guide!

    • Reply tina September 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Ha. Not sure it’s your kind of thing but give it a try! x

  • Reply gudy herder September 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I’ve said it many times, for me Monocle is the best magazine in the world and Tyler B. a very inspiring man. I would probably take alight to hear him speak. Will see now where to buy the book. Thank you for sharing this very well written post, Tina! xx

    • Reply tina September 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Glad you feel the same way as me… I don’t know many female Monocle readers:-)

      Tyler, as you can imagine, is a very good speaker. It’s always a pleasure to see him.
      I was gutted I couldn’t be at the launch at Midori House. My meeting ran on and on and on.
      Oh well, c’est la vie.
      Hope your workshop in Barcelona went well. x

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