The Design of Things to Come by Cagan and Vogel

Craig Vogel was one of my professors, and his Creating Breakthrough Products is a must read for anyone serious about design and innovation. So it pains me to say that the follow up, The Design of Things to Come, is absolutely god awful. From the promotional ego-stroking puff pieces that are passed off as insightful bios of innovators to the cheesey mindless cheerleading, to the same tired old iPod and Oxo good grips examples, this book is nearly unreadable

About some guy from Ford they say “[h]e can manage the duality inherent in complex corporate decision making. He intuitively understands the concept of moving from one level of viewing the problem to another… his ability to see the value of different major players in the process enables him to manage and motivate others and to unify them toward common goals.” Yeah yeah yeah. And he can cook Minute Rice ™ in only seconds with his laser heat vision.

And because China invented the compass, that country really knows where its going—up! up! UP! “China invented the compass, paper, printing and gunpowder. This is a country that was ‘built to last,’ and won’t have any problems going from ‘good to great’ again.” Those little Jim Collins references are pure velveeta.

Most of the pages read like a PR press release: “The marketing challenge for Pierpoint is probably harder, because his marketing efforts must live up to the true greatness of this very new product.” Yes folks, nothing less than true greatness.

Scholars don’t write like this, sleazy advertisers, snakes oil salesmen and con artists do. I got to page 99 before I could stomach no more of this hard-cover business journalism.

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