Book List of the Week

A Journey Into the Human Mind Like No Other: Harry Pearce’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter July 19, 2011
Harry Pearce

Graphic designer Harry Pearce: Pentagram (London)

book list

Describing the talk that he’s frequently asked to deliver—which he does from one corner of the earth to the other: in the U.K., Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the U.S.—Harry Pearce says, “It’s about being a Pentagram partner
, an eternal optimist, a 
failed vegetarian
, a human rights activist, a 
dream diary keeper
, an occasional nudist
, a graphic designer
, and an accidentalist.” 

His list of titles for Designers & Books is very much in the spirit of his life’s itinerary. The books cover art, psychology, native American history, biography, poetry, and philosophy and come from France, Germany, India, China, Japan, and the U.S. Notably absent, as he points out in the introduction to his list, are books on design and business management. Inspiringly idealistic and highly creative personalities figure prominently in the books Pearce says have influenced him. There are two books that deal with the life of Marcel Duchamp and others that feature Mark Rothko, Gandhi, and the Native American Sioux Indian Black Elk.

Pearce first read Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C. G. Jung when he was 17. Over the course of multiple readings he reflects that “much of what I discovered in its pages have proved a beautiful truth” and that it “has undoubtedly become one of the most important books in my life.” His assessment is that this work is “a journey into the human mind like no other.” In the end, thinking about his overall reading habits generally and “many, many shelves of books,” Pearce concludes that his real passion in books is for those “concerned with the nature of the human mind.”

Conundrums, 2009 (HarperCollins)

Speaking about Pearce’s fascination with the human mind, we realize it wouldn’t be right not to mention Pearce’s own book, Conundrums: Typographic Conundrums (“challenge your mind, delight your eyes, and see what phrases you can find in this brain-teasing book”)—and specifically, Conundrum #40, “Freudian Slip.” 

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