Rob Walker writes about technology, design, business, the arts, and other subjects. His column The Workologist appears in The New York Times Sunday Business section. Previously he wrote the Consumed column for The New York Times Magazine, and has contributed to many publications. He is co-editor (with Joshua Glenn) of the book Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary Things, and author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.    

















































































































































10.03.08
Subconscious Warm-Up
The Speedo LZR Racer suits worn by
Michael Phelps and other world-class swimmers. Promoted as a design breakthrough and worn by the most victorious Olympian in history, it offers a potent blend of functional promise and emotional aspiration.












04.08.07
Back to Basics Egg & Muffin Toaster
In a recent issue of The 
M.I.T. Sloan Management Review, Michael Schrage, a business writer and an M.I.T. researcher, challenged what Bruce Greenwald, has said about the fate of all innovative technologies: “In the long run, everything is a toaster.”




















Observed | August 16

In addition to his work as a painter, Monet maintained stunning gardens that, after World War II, were destroyed and left neglected. Gilbert Vahé brought the landscape back to its former glory. [BV]

What wine do you pair with Roast Beast from How the Grinch Stole Christmas? More thoughts on what fictional foods might taste like. [BV]


Observed | August 15

Hot outside? Cool off with strangely melancholy poolside photographs from Slovakian artist Mária Švarbová. [BV]

You‘re never too old to make the world smile: At 90 years old, Kimiko Nishimoto continues to delight the world with her creative self-portrait photography. [BV]


Observed | August 14

Over at the Smithsonian, a discussion of relevance. [BV]


Observed | August 13

A brief history of plastic: design’s favorite material. [BV]

NYC’s Uber cap won’t solve the city’s traffic problem: what the city really needs is a limit on private cars. [BV]


Observed | August 09

The Trump campaign asks its supporters to choose a Space Force logo from six proposed designs. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | August 08

The hopes that data and design can revitalize urban areas. [BV]


Observed | August 06

Sticks and stones and all that: 25 legendary literary feuds, ranked. (And somehow many involved Dick Cavett.) [BV]


Observed | August 02

Do you remember them all? A history of Mac startup and crash chimes. [BV]

Famous landmarks, before they were finished. [BV]


Observed | August 01

Who really decides how language works? Grammar purity is one big ponzi scheme. [BV]

A new study has found that private ride options such as Uber and Lyft, and ride-hail services services like UberPool are resulting in more driving overall, making traffic worse + cities less livable. [BV]


Observed | July 31

Bless this Instagrammer: Wander. Roam. Replicate. [BV]

Where were you in 1988? [BV]


Observed | July 23

Need a little more Saul Bass on your walls? [BV]


Observed | July 20

Been enjoying GLOW? Check out the gorgeous ladies of Japanese wrestling. [BV]

Looking back at the design of the African Writers Series. [JH]


Observed | July 19

Let children play outside. Let them make mud pies and get dirty. [BV]


Observed | July 18

15 of the best illustrations of the 2018 World Cup. [BV]

Looking for a place to visit this summer? Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum looks amazing. [BV]


Observed | July 17

Interesting: Open offices result in less collaboration among employees. [BV]

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the world wide web, has seen his creation debased by everything from fake news to mass surveillance. But he’s got a plan to fix it. [BV]


Observed | July 13

Traveling this summer? 22 ambassadors recommend the one book to read before visiting their country. [BV]

Can cottage cheese follow Chobani’s lead and rebrand>a? to achieve the unthinkable—some curb appeal? [LS]


Observed | July 12

What’s Eating the World? The fifth issue of
Weapons of Reason, a publication with a limited run of eight issues, explores the effects of the food industry on our planet with saturated colors and infographics that any designer would appreciate. [LS]

Congratulations to Karen Hofmann, the new Provost of ArtCenter College of Design. She‘s the first woman to hold the position in the 88-year history of the College. [BV]


Observed | July 11

What is the meaning behind the Thin Blue Line flag? (via James I. Bowie) [BV]


Observed | July 09

One full hour of 1980‘s video game ads! [BV]



Jobs | August 18