The Monocle Guide To Better Living
By Morten Wilhelm Scholz
The editorial team behind the Monocle-magazine helmed by founder Tyler Brûlé hits the streets with their first-ever book. It is big, clad in a bright yellow fabric that feels nice to the touch, global to the bone and filled with stuff of superb quality. It is destined to end up a favorite Christmas present for any globalized senior hipster with money to go around.
As any guidebook The Monocle Guide to Better Living is filled with tips and tricks to get around, but instead of zooming in on a specific destination Monocle has set their aim high and asks one of life’s bigger questions: how to live a good life? Don’t be fooled though – this is not a work on ethics or religious doctrine.
Mr. Brûlé is a true connoisseur of the finer things here in life and he is on a quest to find quality. He puts it very well in the short foreword:
|Above all our guide is a global chronicle of the people, places and products that aim high, deliver value, challenge convention and force us all to up our game.|
Stuff of superb quality is the subject matter of this book. But lets face it, quality is one of the more subjective measurements we have at our hands, and a lot depends on the eyes that sees. In the case of Monocle we have to admit that the whole editorial bunch seem to have exceptionally good eyesight. They never overindulge in that nouveau riche kind of way where stuff gets vulgar, but keep it good and simple, feet on the ground-ish even though they are global.
The overall aesthetics of Monocle runs on a kind of wabi-sabi fuel loving everything super simple and beat up to perfection – Monocle’s own term is “easy style” which does the trick as well.
Ten Chapters and a Few Too Many Spas
The book is structured into ten chapters on cities, business, education, culture, style, happiness, health, home, service and travel. The Monocle Guide to Better Living works as a global guide suggesting places to visit, eat, get a shave and so on, but the book also includes essays that explore what makes a great city, how to make a home and why culture is good for you. The many different formats makes for a original, informative, and entertaining collection of writing, reports, and recommendations.
Content-wise the volume is a bit schizophrenic. Some parts are pure pleasure and this reader for one couldn’t seem to keep his concentration through endless recommendations on spas (what is it with spas anyway? – unless of course they are build by Peter Zumthor) and whole chapters on pet grooming! On the other side we have a solid hype of e.g. the bicycle as the perfect means of transportation – sustainable, good for the health and beautiful in their own right.
After touring the world with the Monocle editorial team this last bit seems of importance.
The book claims you have the choice to do good to yourself, your neighbors and the planet. And you can do so in style. I for one am willing to embrace that as a better way to live.
Monocle is one of the most successful magazines to be developed in the past decade. Armed with an unmistakable sense of aesthetics and journalistic tenacity, its team-led by editor in chief Tyler Brûlé-has created an publication that continually inspires a global readership who are interested in everything from diplomacy to design. For its first-ever book, the editorial team looks at one of their core themes: how to live well.
Monocle-founder Tyler Brûlé is a former war correspondent, founding editor-in-chief of Wallpaper*, and columnist for the Financial Times. Based in London and acclaimed the world over, Monocle delivers a unique global briefing on global affairs, business, culture, and design. Alongside the magazine, Monocle has created a 24-hour radio station, a film-rich website, retail ventures around the globe, and cafés in Tokyo and London.