Book List of the Week

Bikes, Branding, and Philosophy: Jens Martin Skibsted’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter April 9, 2013

Jens Martin Skibsted

Product/industrial designer Jens Martin Skibsted: KiBiSi and Biomega (Copenhagen)

Profile     Book List

Jens Martin Skibsted designs ahead-of-the curve bicycles for Biomega, a company he founded, and electronics, household products, and furnishings for the top Scandinavian industrial design studio KiBiSi, another firm he founded—along with Bjarke Ingels (BIG) and Lars Larsen (Kilo Design). He has been named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for his design thinking and runs Skibsted Ideation, a design and branding agency. He writes books on branding, opinion pieces for Harvard Business Review, articles with titles like “Do Innovation Consultants Kill Innovation?” for Fast Company, and has two books of poetry (in Danish) to his credit.

Calling himself a “design philosopher,” Skibsted sent Designers & Books a list of five titles, including “philosophy books that satisfy my curiosity.” Among these are Paul Feyerabend’s controversial Against Method and and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s 1980 standard, A Thousand Plateaus (on the book lists of Winka Dubbeldam and Farshid Moussavi, too)—which Skibsted describes as a “a deeply visionary book . . . a precursor to a lot of later digital network thinking.”

His book list also has a new book on bicycle design, 100 Best Bikes, by Zahid Sardar. Skibsted, whose bicycle designs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other institutions, says, “I wanted to do this book for many years. I made bicycles instead.”

Copenhagen bicycle, designed by Jens Martin Skibsted and Biomega. Photo courtesy of Biomega/KiBiSi

And about his pick for “the best post-millennium book on branding”—Douglas B. Holt’s How Brands Become Icons—Skibsted comments: “I don’t totally agree that products are just cultural artifacts, but I agree that they are cultural artifacts.”

Skibsted, who is the author of Instant Icon (on products that are “cultural success stories as well as business success stories”) released in Denmark in 2009, has a new book coming out this May, also in Danish: Tilbage til virkeligheden: Sådan skabes vaerdi i en verden, hvor alle ved alt. The title translates as “Back to Reality: Creating Value in a World Where Everyone Knows Everything.”


View Jens Martin Skibsted’s Profile     View Jens Martin Skibsted’s Book List

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