Skip to Content

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt []



If you are interested in the world around you—what are those little boxes on the sides of buildings? why are signposts built the way they are? what do those symbols painted on the road mean?—then 99% Invisible will appeal to you. Faith has already written up the 99% Invisible Podcast as a staff pick here, but I would like to bring your attention to the book, The 99% Invisible City. The book, as its title implies, has a narrower scope than the podcast, and concentrates on the urban environment. I highly recommend it for anyone who has enjoyed episodes of the podcast or has heard about it and been intrigued but never given it a listen. Nearly all of the topics in the book have been extensively covered on the podcast, so you will actually get more out of this if you are not yet a diehard 99pi fan, though longtime listeners will certainly find it an entertaining review.

This is a great book for whetting your appetite—each topic is covered only briefly, and you will want to learn more! Perhaps its greatest deficit is the lack of photographs—the illustrations are charming, but more often than not you will want to see photographs of what has been described. If you are anything like me you will take note of those stories that intrigue you most and continue to investigate them further on your own—which is, I suspect, exactly what Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt want!

Tagged: ,