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Rob Walker

Journalist and author of The Art of Noticing

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  • About Rob Walker

    After years of covering the technology industry, consumer culture, and the modern workplace, Rob Walker noticed that the ability to experience and be present was lost in an “age of nonstop distraction.” Instead of thinking, seeing, and listening to the world around us, we allow others to direct our attention through media, technology, and marketing. Walker’s book, The Art of Noticing, seeks to solve this epidemic and help audiences see the world anew. Through a series of simple exercises, he maps ways to become a clearer thinker, better listener, and more creative colleague—and how to notice what everybody else missed.

    In Walker’s perceptive talks, he draws on the themes from his book to share tips, rituals, and suggestions for perfecting the art of noticing and building mindfulness. Through compelling examples of creative projects that were sparked by noticing a previously overlooked detail, he shows the payoffs of paying attention.

    Walker is a journalist and educator who writes about design, technology, business, and the arts. His column, “The Workologist,” appeared in the Sunday Business section of The New York Times from 2013 through 2018. He now writes the “Human Resource” column for Lifehacker. He has contributed to a wide range of publications, including: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, NewYorker.com, The Boston Globe, Design Observer, and Bloomberg Businessweek. His previous books include Significant Objects: 100 Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things (coauthored with Joshua Glenn), Buying In, and Letters from New Orleans. He is currently on the faculty of the Products of Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts. He lives in New Orleans.

  • Speaking Topics

    The Art of Noticing

    In this talk, Walker argues that noticing what others have taken for granted is the cornerstone of creativity. Drawing on themes and sharing tips and suggestions from his book, he shares examples from his research of creative projects that began by noticing something that everyone else overlooked or ignored.

    The Payoffs of Paying Attention

    Mindfulness has caught on in the business world, but often seems over complicated and off-putting. In this talk, Walker gives an introduction to the simple act of noticing, and teaches audiences how they can build their attention muscles through easy and fun rituals. Draws on examples from his books, he captures the mindfulness spirit in a practical way.

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  • Praise for Rob Walker

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    We loved featuring Rob Walker as part of Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art in tandem with the Dallas Festival of Books & Ideas. Rob’s talk on The Art of Noticing was insightful and inspiring, and his gallery walk through the museum encouraged opened people’s eyes to observe unusual things they normally wouldn’t in an art museum. He was truly a hit with our audiences!

    Dallas Museum of Art, Carolyn Bess, Director, Arts & Letters Live
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    Rob was fantastic and our group really enjoyed his presentation, practical advice, and approach to driving creativity. Everyone walked away inspired by his key note address.

    E. & J. Gallo Winery

    Praise for The Art of Noticing

    The Art of Noticing is a book about reading, verbal and non-verbal reading, which is how we increasingly read now, and how we have always read. Walker encourages us to make a non-literal reading of our world, which can mean non-judgmental and more enlightened.

    Leanne Shapton, author of Guestbook and Swimming Studies

    Rob Walker’s writing has always been wonderful because of his unique eye for noticing what other people miss. With this new book, he’s basically teaching you all his secrets for seeing.

    Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle Is The Way

    If you want a more interesting and creative life, the first thing to do is to start paying better attention to it. In The Art of Noticing, Rob Walker provides an essential guide to becoming an explorer of your everyday world. I found a ton to steal here and so will you.

    Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like An Artist

    In the tradition of John Berger, Susan Sontag, and George Nelson, Rob Walker offers a guide not to looking but to seeing—and why the difference is crucial. At once passionate and charming, he makes the case that noticing what’s there is the first step in creating what’s new.

    Michael Bierut, cofounder of Design Observer and author of Now You See It and Other Essays on Design

    Praise for Buying In

    A fresh and fascinating exploration of the places where material culture and identity intersect.

    Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food

    A compelling blend of cultural anthropology and business journalism.

    Time

    Few observers have plumbed the subterranean poetry of marketing as thoroughly as Walker.

    New York Times Book Review

    Superbly readable . . . a thoughtful and unhurried investigation into consumerism . . . marked by meticulous research and careful conclusions.

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

    Witty . . . Walker unravels what he calls the Desire Code, that tension between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out, wanting to be unique and yet somehow attached to something greater than ourselves.

    Times-Picayune

    Provocative . . . richly reported.

    USA Today

    Fascinating.

    Newsweek

    Terrific.

    Miami Herald

    Praise for Letters From New Orleans

    ...Walker's refusal to pronounce is generally as endearing, honest, funny and moving as the stories themselves - a clearer lens, perhaps, than any earnest literary compilation by eminent New Orleanians (proceeds to Katrina victims) that's surely about to appear. (Walker has pledged all his proceeds to relief efforts, too.)...Anyway, you won't need a memorial volume, because these stories now function as 21 silent little jazz funerals: exuberant, celebratory and tragic.

    Kate Sekules, The New York Times Book Review

    In Letters from New Orleans, Walker contemplates, almost wistfully, various notions of denial and self-invention and loss -- those masks that symbolize the city aren't lost on him. And his pointed, witty insights about the city won't be lost on readers.

    Susan Larson, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune

    This is not a travel book per se, but rather an outsider's account of America's strangest town. But since it is about New Orleans, it can't help but be a captivating tale.

    June Sawyers, The Chicago Tribune

    The quality that makes Walker's 'modest series of stories about a place that means a lot to [him]' rewarding reading is his immersion in the local.

    Publisher's Weekly
  • Books by Rob Walker

  • Media About Rob Walker

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Rob Walker travels from New Orleans, LA

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