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The Financial Sky Is Falling--So I'm Taking Off To Read Fiction.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on August 10, 2007

Well, the financial house of cards built on “securitization” of debt appears to be coming down and no one really knows how bad it will get so I’m going to practice my storytelling/narrative skills for the next week or so. That means reading, not blogging.

I’ve gotten into three authors who really know how to tell a story and anyone interested in learning how to do this—all you design/media/advertising folks—might want to pick up one or all of their books.

Qiu Xialong is my current favorite. He’s done three detective novels, all based in Shanghai, that are magnificent. I’m now reading the first, Death of a Red Heroine. Wonderful characters (Detective Chen is a poet-detective, deeply moral, struggling in a corrupt, money-centered Shanghai culture) and great narrative. He takes you into the rise and fall of classes and people in China—and the social tensions that lie just below the surface.

John Burdett is my second favorite author these days, with his detective series based in Bangkok, Thailand. I spent a lot of time in Thailand in years past and his detective Sonchai and his adventures capture the culture. The story-telling is wonderful and, again, the characters are alive.

All good detective series involve the demi-monde. If you want to read about the underside of San Francisco (yes, it has one), try Vanilla Slim by Bob Armstrong. The characters are drawn wonderfully real and again, great narrative. I met Bob recently in Portland (he was born there, went to school and then the Marines in Vietnam) and he’s funny and fascinating in a William Burroughs kind of way.

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Reader Comments


August 16, 2007 07:34 AM

sounds interesting.
It's a bit strange that I've never heard of Qiu Xialong before though I'm in China. Maybe I'm familiar with the Chinese name, or maybe I just read too few fictions

Daniel W. Rasmus

August 20, 2007 02:44 AM

I agree. Fiction or non-fiction (just not business). I just finished Harry Potter and think Rowling has become a very mature story teller. Much better than the administration in Wasington. Just starting Neal Stephenson's Crytonomicon, and reading Shakespeare, A Year in the Life, 1599. What I don't need is to watch my Fidelity accounts shrink daily. This will do nothing for my confidence, nor will it do anything to shore up my investments. I'm in this for the long haul, so hey, bumps in the road mean distraction - so I'm with you, read and learn while the market falls. Individual investors can't do much about the plummets except cry or get creative. I'm on the get creative front - and reading is a great source of inspiration.

Andrew jacob

August 28, 2007 06:32 AM

Dear Bruce,

Please come back from vacation.

your readers

Jon King

August 30, 2007 08:45 PM

A mist all the chaos of the new these days I found a great piece of literature to hide in. A book called "Truck: a Love Story" by Michael Perry. It is actually a non-fiction but he blends in so many amusing insights that have strong fiction overtones it could pass as ether. It's a great book to snag a chuckle with and wrap up the day. I first heard about it during a book review on NPR.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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