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March 28, 2008

Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

While Stefan Sagmeister’s new book, Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far, is not on gastronomy, it is in many ways more nourishing than the fancy foods that we love to consume. When I picked it up, I already knew I’d be wowed. The famed New York-based, Austrian graphic designer is always coming up with witty ideas, and his executions of them are original and often outrageous.

The book is centered on twenty maxims that have guided Sagmeister’s work and his life. Each maxim is illustrated by Sagmeister’s distinctive vision and accompanied by anecdotes that might tell the story behind the artwork or the lesson that inspired the maxim. The sayings encourage us to live life without regret and with consideration for others. We may think that this is all easier said than done, but the book motivates us to take action, and perhaps that’s why I am so enraptured by it; it summarizes our perennial pursuit of happiness.

Beautiful and thought-provoking, Sagmeister’s work speaks to me through its acumen and wit. Life’s too short not to have a sense of humor. I look forward to reading a maxim every night before going to bed. It makes me feel better, sleep well, and dream of bigger things to come.