Coffee-Table University
October 20, 2013 5:37 PM   Subscribe

I adore The Philosophy Book from DK Publishing - it collects a bunch of concise, plainly-written overviews of the work of many major philosophers, and has a cool design with interesting sidebars and diagrams and tidbits of info all over the place. (The style is a lot like Jon Stewart's America: The Book, but I'm not looking for humor stuff). I'm going to check out DK's equivalent books on Religion/Psychology/Economics, but does anyone have recommendations for coffee-table books like this? Specifically: cool overviews of academic subjects/disciplines with a great visual design, easy to pick up and read for a few minutes at a time. (I know the ...For Dummies books are out there, but their design is nowhere near as nice as these/not what I'm looking for.)
posted by UncleBoomee to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
You might like The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone, which is a kind of history of mass media. The layout isn't really like the DK books because a lot of it is in graphic novel format, but it is a cool overview of a subject, it's nicely designed, and it doesn't demand sustained reading.

The Influencing Machine
posted by pocketfullofrye at 7:19 PM on October 20, 2013

Best answer: You might enjoy Understanding Comics, or Universal Principles of Design.
posted by oulipian at 8:16 PM on October 20, 2013

Best answer: This book, Our Universe, was one of my favorite books as a kid, and when I think of "coffee table book with great design and packed with info," this is what I think of.
posted by jayder at 8:17 PM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ideas that Changed History has been my bathroom reading for a while.
posted by neutralmojo at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2013

Everyone should have a copy of the Timetables of History.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2013

Oh yeah, that's a great book! The Penguin Historical Atlas books are also really cool, as is the Macmillan Atlas of the Future.
posted by karbonokapi at 3:07 PM on October 21, 2013

Edward Tufte's Envisioning Information has interesting information and great design. It's not really an overview, though, so maybe it isn't quite what you're looking for.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:36 PM on October 21, 2013

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