The embossed hardcover is just the beginning of The Objects that Power the Global Economy, the first book published by the news website Quartz in celebration of its fifth birthday. The digitally-native news organization skillfully and elegantly managed to take to print what they’ve been doing online for half a decade, crafting a complex yet digestible book that highlights the innovations pushing the global economy forward.
Through ten revolutionary objects, products and technologies, the 120-page book explores emerging technologies and promising – often unexplored – ideas that underpin life and business as we know it today. The book also traces through history the concepts that power the innovations that have shaped human society and how we can expect those concepts to change in the future. The book even includes a few words from Bill Gates pleading for a more energy-efficient world.
Objects, which involved more than 50 people on the editorial side, tackles topics like technologies for space travel – like the Turbopump, the oxygen-hydrogen propeller used by rocket engines – as well as space as a new economic frontier, the evolution of the space suit and the recipe for karavai, a traditional Russian salt bread offered to astronauts when they returned to Earth.
At the core of the book lies elegant, smart design.
Other topics tackled with ease include: how server farms are powering the internet, the freezer-containers of the global supply chain that feed the world, genetic sequencing, and drugs aimed at revitalizing the mind. In its most revealing chapter, Objects takes the reader through the secrets of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum — and how to mine them on the web. Sitting smack dab in the middle of the book, a Qualcomm-branded piece discusses the “power of milliseconds.” The telecommunications company was the sole sponsor of the book.
At the core of the book lies elegant, smart design. A bold grid, elegant infographics and colorful illustrations counter-weigh the black pages. The book is a fine piece of visual storytelling and a natural outgrowth of the digital work Quartz has done over the last five years covering business from a unique perspective.
Objects launched last month with great success — a second run has already been ordered from Italian printer Graffiche Dell’Artiere. The book can be purchased at store.qz.com for $35.