Mark Fox

Graphic Designer / United States / Design is Play; California College of the Arts

Mark Fox’s Book List

I learned to read at an early age by singing hymns at church. The repetition of this ritual—we sang the same small selection of songs three times a week—seems to have created for me a linkage between the act of reading, illuminating content, and the power and musicality of the vocalized word. Whenever I write I still read my work aloud to hear it and refine it.

Although I am no longer religious, I am nonetheless drawn to books that are, in some manner, revelatory. Insight and beauty—this is what I seek when I read. To experience revelation through art is to invite joy into your life. All of the books I recommend below have brought me joy.

1 book
Jaron Lanier

In the introduction to the paperback edition of You Are Not a Gadget, Jaron Lanier demarcates his position by noting that “This book is not antitechnology in any sense. It is prohuman.” Lanier is a computer scientist and a pioneer in the field of virtual reality. He is also a composer and musician, which may explain some of his sensitivity to issues of creativity and authorship.

Digital culture has no lack of cheerleaders, especially among the corporations and personalities profiting from its widespread adoption—or the governments gleaning information from its unwitting citizens. Less common is someone like Lanier: a sharp-eyed critic who effectively weighs the promise of digital culture against the reality of its impact on the culture at large. Lanier argues that social networks treat the user as a “source of fragments to be exploited by others,” and that “Using computers to reduce individual expression is a primitive, retrograde activity, no matter how sophisticated your tools are.” A must-read.

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