Lockdown 7.0 Reading Zone

It’s been a long time since this media-publishing blog has been updated. Long enough that covid19 pandemic has taken over several important news, and I as the founder had flipped over enough mobile phones – either battery died or phone lost. Similar to most business conferences and events, the art industry has moved towards e-platform to sell art products. It is not that new of a concept, but obviously galleries have little choice and to move everything towards virtual selling. It is much harder to sell when most buyers do not see the actual product after-all fine arts rely on aesthetics visuals. You might not get to touch them at the time of purchase, but seeing the real deal in-person is always more persuasive. And much better when your trader sits in the auction house.

As a art-writing founder, I find myself reading books during the long-days of stay-at-home version XYZ. There are several free online reading materials based out from art museums such as MoMA, but you know I am a person that likes to hold on to a real book. Hard paperback, flipping the pages, nice smooth cover, and the scent of freshly printed ink on paper. It’s clearly not the most environmental friendly purchasing hobby, but printed books are foreseen to be one of the most valuable treasures in decades to come . To cut the chase – here’s my recommended books :

  1. For the Love of Money – Sam Polk
    When I read the first few chapters, I thought it would be another book that rants about the type of ill-fate the author was born in and the type of poor choices he had made in life. But the story evolved in such a way that it teaches something about what’s more important than money. Don’t get me wrong that it is a philosophical type of book. It isn’t. It’s based on a true story, and resembles to quite a few financial brokers and hedge funds elites I have once known. If your teenager is considering a career in the financial industry, there’s no harm reading this book.

2. Billion Dollar Whale – Tom Wright & Bradley Hope
Most would have already watched the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ movie by Jon Chu. Well, I hadn’t watched the full movie. But when I bought this book, that movie came across my mind. In short, I would rather spend my time reading Billion Dollar Whale than to read about Crazy Rich Asians in Singapore. On the top note, I am a Singaporean, and that sort of thing in Crazy Rich Asians does happen from time to time, but not that far-fetch. Most of those are either married or have mental issues. In an event when a person were to define themselves as Singaporean and claim out-loud I am super rich, you might want to think twice whether to go on a date with him/her.

Returning to the book, it shows the setting of how politics, good universities, nice big cars, famous celebrities and wonderful California make the big hoo-haa. It is often considered that the genuine motive to join a good college for your education is to be hired when you graduate and be at the top pile on the hiring desk when the Human Resource team starts screening all candidates. If you think that is true, it is only partially correct.

The 100% correct answer is in the book. And it is a case study of a person coming from a okay-wealthy family status to a political fraud and corruption. Never underestimate the monster you have fed.

3. Chutzpah & Chutzpah – Myers Goode Darke
Some people asked – ‘How do you make a living out from Art?’ I don’t think I am that of a successful case to answer that question. I reckon there are already some books in the bookstore that would address the question. This book highlights the short history of a marketing agency – Saatchi & Saatchi. The two brothers that are genius enough to make an impact dedicated to each project. From family planning to launch of new technology products, the output would become the topic of the day or for weeks at the bar. Advertising is a very powerful tool, sits above product packaging, and it is safe to say that it is where the money sits.

This book shows the good and the dark side of a very, very successful advertising & marketing agency. I wouldn’t say it corrupts the young mind of an artist, rather it is an introductory on what should be expected in terms of branding, fame and success. It is way much more stressful than anyone can ever expect. If you were or have been a field-reporter, you would recognize that you have to be at the site of political handshake, site of the earthquake, site of the drug launch, site of murder scene, and site of the robbery. Most often all had to be done after the arrival of police.

Marketing is the opposite. It requires secretive planning, and if you want to make it big you need to make a beautiful mess out of it. A well-controlled mess. Sometimes the police gets involved. Otherwise, who in the world would care.

When advertising agency founders brush off a comment saying it has been a stressful day, there should be a better word for it.

End notes: Header image from https://www.origami-resource-center.com/folded-books.html

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