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Regulars / Bookshelf

Founder and creative director of ManvsMachine, Mike Alderson on his most-loved books

Mike Alderson founded London-based design and motion studio ManvsMachine in 2007. Since then it has worked with some of the biggest brands and platforms including Channel 4, Honda, ITV2 and Nike among many others. The studio has a knack for visualising ideas in engaging and innovative ways and last year at Here 2015, Mike spoke eloquently about how moving images and branding identity come together. For his bookshelf Mike covers escapism, the future and statistics, in a selection of books that continue to inspire him.

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Stanislaw Lem: The Futurological Congress

Stanislaw Lem: The Futurological Congress

Apart from the stuff they tried to make us read at school, I don’t think I read a novel until I was about 18 years old. Eventually I read Douglas Adams’ A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then somebody recommended Stanislaw Lem for his similar satirical sci-fi style, and worryingly accurate speculations (from 1971) on future society. I’d love to turn this book into a film one day.

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Vincent Gallo: Vincent Gallo

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Vincent Gallo: Vincent Gallo

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Vincent Gallo: Vincent Gallo

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Vincent Gallo: Vincent Gallo

Vincent Gallo: Vincent Gallo

Extremely self-interested people are usually annoying, but Vincent Gallo fascinates me. Maybe it’s because he takes it to a new level of self-interest and maybe its because he’s actually quite talented… or maybe I just like his weird Jesus-face.

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Zach Klein & Steven Leckhart: Cabin Porn
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Zach Klein & Steven Leckhart: Cabin Porn
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Zach Klein & Steven Leckhart: Cabin Porn
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Zach Klein & Steven Leckhart: Cabin Porn

Zach Klein & Steven Leckhart: Cabin Porn

The online project that spurned this book is great, but this is better. Escapism is a subject matter that just works better sat alone with an actual paper book, rather than on the LED screen you’re probably dreaming of escaping from.

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Arjen van Susteren: Metropolitan World Atlas

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Arjen van Susteren: Metropolitan World Atlas

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Arjen van Susteren: Metropolitan World Atlas

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Arjen van Susteren: Metropolitan World Atlas

Arjen van Susteren: Metropolitan World Atlas

As I said, I didn’t read much as a kid, but I did obsess over maps and atlases, and I particularly loved the stats and comparisons that came at the end of an atlas. This is the most stunningly minimal example of such stats I’ve ever come across. My crappy photos don’t do the design justice.

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Ernst Haeckel: Artforms in Nature

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Ernst Haeckel: Artforms in Nature

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Ernst Haeckel: Artforms in Nature

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Ernst Haeckel: Artforms in Nature

Ernst Haeckel: Artforms in Nature

One of my ambitions is to invent a colour, another is to invent a shape, or form. The occasional flick through this book is both inspiring and annoying in equal measures, because nature has beat me to it on both counts. I won’t give up though.

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Phil Knight: Shoe Dog

Phil Knight: Shoe Dog

At ManvsMachine, we have been working closely with Nike for almost five years now, so I figured I knew a fair deal about the company and the people who run it, until I recently read Shoe Dog. A brilliantly engaging memoir of building Nike from the ground up, Phil Knight taps in to the key personalities along the way.