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Publisher's Summary

A beautifully designed guidebook to the unnoticed yet essential elements of our cities, from the creators of the wildly popular 99% Invisible podcast 

Have you ever wondered what those bright, squiggly graffiti marks on the sidewalk mean?

Or stopped to consider why you don't see metal fire escapes on new buildings?

Or pondered the story behind those dancing inflatable figures in car dealerships?

99% Invisible is a big-ideas podcast about small-seeming things, revealing stories baked into the buildings we inhabit, the streets we drive, and the sidewalks we traverse. The show celebrates design and architecture in all of its functional glory and accidental absurdity, with intriguing tales of both designers and the people impacted by their designs.

Now, in The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to Hidden World of Everyday Design, host Roman Mars and coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt zoom in on the various elements that make our cities work, exploring the origins and other fascinating stories behind everything from power grids and fire escapes to drinking fountains and street signs. With deeply researched entries and beautiful line drawings throughout, The 99% Invisible City will captivate devoted fans of the show and anyone curious about design, urban environments, and the unsung marvels of the world around them.

©2020 Roman Mars (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The 99% Invisible City

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Enjoyable and Informative!

This book, based on a podcast, discusses urban phenomena that completely pass under the radar. The first chapter, for instance, examines the coloured lines that appear at times on sidewalks and asphalt. A full discussion is provided, including what colour refers to what specific infrastructure.

Overall, the contents prove very original and professionally researched. Some may wish however that the book were more structured, as topics currently appear in what many may consider rather haphazard fashion.

In the audio version, two bonuses are generously provided:
• a substantial and enlightening conversation between the two authors, Roman Mars, who also warmly acts as narrator for the whole book, and Kurt Kohlstedt, who self-describes as a “design nerd”;
• a full episode of the podcast, dealing with Sears Roebuck’s kit houses of the turn of the 20th century, that is just fascinating.

Globally, this offering is warmly recommended to all interested in city life and design.

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Deeply needed a PDF

The concept of the book was stunning, wonderfully narrated as well, but without any visual reference to lean on, the listener is left to search these topics themselves which defeats one the main appeals of audiobooks. Had they provided a PDF to accompany the book, this would have been a memorable book.

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interesting

You are not missing the illustrations by getting this book in audio. This California centric urban planning book has the most irritatingly vague diagrams and drawings.

Other than that, if you listen to 99% invisible a lot of the information has already been covered. It has one of the podcasts at the end just in case you are not familiar with the work.

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Highley recomend for fans of the podcast

You know that feeling you get when your listening to a 99% invisible podcast and you start to feel it winding down and you get real sad because you know its going to end soon and your going to have to wait a whole nother week for a new episode? This is like a never ending episode of 99 pi featuring only Roman Mars. While it understandabley lacks some of the production value of the actual podcast because you know.... Its an audio book... its a content rich experience with both familiar and new knlowledge nuggets for all you fellow nerds out there. 12 out of 10 highly recomended

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  • Louise Schraa
  • 2021-01-09

The 99% Invisible City

This is a really interesting book, very well presented and read. I have no complaints except that it really requires pictures! These exist in the hard copy of the book. Listening without visual reference can be confusing.

58 people found this helpful

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  • jaga
  • 2021-01-12

Things will never look the same!

So many questions about “ why is that thing the way it is?” or “I always wondered about that” are answered in this book, which is based on a popular podcast. I’ve never listened to the podcast, but the book is an expansive collection of snippets about urban planning, architecture, geography, transportation, technology, wildlife, history and many other aspects of design and planning in, and relating to, our physical environment. From the inverted stoplight in Syracuse, NY to the development of municipal seating concepts, this book has an amazing collection of the weird and wonderful. The audio version includes an interview at the end where the authors describe how they curated the many many potential essays they have for the book. I truly hope they will produce a volume 2!

23 people found this helpful

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  • Athinatl
  • 2020-11-30

Disappointed

Could not finish evening with Roman Mars' voice.
He sounded bored...
Likely better in written format!

23 people found this helpful

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  • Jeanne
  • 2020-10-17

gonna but the physical book!

bought the audiobook because I enjoy the podcast. now I'm gonna go buy a bunch of the physical book to give as gifts because I kept thinking "this is fascinating! so-and-so would love this"!

15 people found this helpful

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  • ariel stanley
  • 2020-10-08

Absolutely amazing

I love 99pi and this audio book is just amazing I’m so glad Roman Mars narrates it.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Josh
  • 2021-01-05

I loved every bit of this book!

Every few minutes I found myself saying, "Wow! That is neat!" The book is full of all sorts of facts and stories you never knew you needed to know.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher Aparicio
  • 2020-10-06

CMONEYWET APPROVES

Thank you. Incredible listen. I Would definitely recommend to anyone that loves to learn! YEE

7 people found this helpful

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  • TruthInAdvertising
  • 2021-02-15

A Fantastic Compendium of Civic Items

This is an excellent suite of bite-sized entries covering just about every conceivable city subject.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ethan Geiszler
  • 2021-03-16

Excellent

Would highly suggest a listen! Super interesting and we done! Adam Savage suggested this as a read and I definitely wasn't let down.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-02-22

the ins and outs of cities

I enjoyed the book thoroughly and wood recommended to anyone with a curious mind and such

4 people found this helpful