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 | October 19

How Design Observer contributor Steve Heller spends his weekends. [BV]

The crisis of intimacy in the age of digital connectivity or the spread of narcissism and the disappearance of empathy. [BV]


Observed | October 17

Gallery: stunning photos of ordinary life in Ukraine‘s conflict zone. [BV]


Observed | October 16

Can the Instagram novel really get more people to read books? (Should it?) [BV]

How do you turn fear into creative fuel? Good Company Magazine is answering that question during a live podcast next Thursday at the New School. [BV]


Observed | October 15

Why is a receipt for cough drops the height of a small child? The long, long history of long, long CVS receipts. [LS]

A new info graphic tool allows users to explore the outlook for upward mobility in their home county (and others’). [LS]


Observed | October 12

A brief memoir of growing up in the library. [BV]

A geyser erupted in Yellowstone and 80 years of human trash poured out. (via Kottke) [BV]


Observed | October 11

AI tech is now good enough to trick us, and the only way we’ll know we’re talking to a bot is because the bot’s creators told it to announce itself.” [BV]


Observed | October 09

In 2018, art, media, and culture are being evaluated for moral correctness more than for quality. The Morality Wars. [BV]

The artist Malevich takes a walk in Vitebsk... [BV]


Observed | October 08

A wonderful new show from WTTW looks into the history of art and design in Chicago. [BV]

Opening tonight: The Reach and Richness of Design, at the Kamerick Art Building University of Northern Iowa featuring Jessica Helfand‘s volvelles, wood type, Ad Reinhardt‘s editorial illustration + more. [BV]


Observed | October 05

Powerful portraits of indigenous women of Siberia aging alone. In the new series Forgotten Like Last Year’s Snow from photographer Oded Wagenstein. [BV]


Observed | October 04

Is “Sans Forgetica” the font of all knowledge? Researchers develop a typeface they say can boost memory. [BV]

Before the end of the year, Apple will open a new store in the Carnegie Library in D.C. Can Apple stores be public spaces? [BV]


Observed | October 03

The life and times of a Japanese candy artist. [BV]

“Art is history.” Netflix reboots Kenneth Clark’s 1969 “Civilisation” series and explores the art of cultures around the world. [BV]


Observed | October 02

In today’s political climate, using satire to record and respond to the current state of affairs is an act of survival. Art as Witness: Political Graphics 2016 – 2018 opens Saturday. [BV]


Observed | October 01

Do we really still need Banned Books Week? (Hint: The answer is, sadly, yes.) [BV]

The existential void of the pop-up ‘experience’: “I went to as many Instagramable “museums,” “factories” and “mansions” as I could. They nearly broke me.” [BV]


Observed | September 28

With the onset of technology, we’re reguarly grappling with how to define a book. But this is nothing new, the question of what sort of object might count as a book remains very much up for debate. [BV]


Observed | September 27

Change everything you hate about meetings with one single word. [BV]

David Hockney + iPad = stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey. “The Queen’s Window”, celebrates Elizabeth II’s reign. [BV]


Observed | September 26

A marvelous sound machine inspired by a Soviet deep drilling project. (via Blake Eskin) [BV]

Of course you know Gutenberg invented movable type, but what else do you know about the history of printing? [BV]


Observed | September 25

Our present era could easily be described as one of fear. In these times, horror has been experiencing what critics feel obliged to label a ‘golden age’. [BV]


Observed | September 24

The future of humanity depends on design ethics. [BV]

“No logo, no liftoff”: Why NASA needs a new logo. (via James I. Bowie) [BV]



Jobs | October 21