Rob Walker speaks at the 2010 PSFK New York conference.
|Notable works||Buying In
Letters from New Orleans
Rob Walker is an American author and freelance journalist. He writes "The Workologist" column for the New York Times Sunday Business section and blogs for Design Observer. He is also the former "Consumed" columnist for the New York Times Magazine, where he was a contributing writer from 2004-2012, and coined the word "murketing."
Walker's 2005 book, Letters From New Orleans, was compiled from essays emailed "to interested parties" about life in New Orleans, where he lived in the early 2000s. Subjects covered in the book include celebratory gunfire, rich people, religion, the riddle of race relations in our time, robots, fine dining, drunkenness, urban decay, debutantes, the nature of identity, Gennifer Flowers, and mortality. All author proceeds from Letters from New Orleans went to relief organizations such as the Red Cross and others working with victims of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2008, Walker published book exploring themes similar to those in his "Consumed" columns called Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are It was reviewed favorably and received much attention for its discussion of the term ''murketing'' which Walker had coined.
Walker has written a number of comic book stories published under the name R. Walker. A collection of his satirical stories of the business world was published in 2001 as Titans of Finance: True Tales of Money & Business. Collaborating with artist Josh Neufeld, Walker tells the tales of Wall Street's most well-known Icaruses. The stories are entirely based on press accounts, with practically no embellishment. Among those profiled are Ronald O. Perelman, Al Dunlap, Mike Vranos, and Victor Niederhoffer. Titans of Finance received a good deal of attention from the mainstream business press, including Fortune Small Business,U.S. News & World Report,Kiplinger's Personal Finance,Money and The New York Times.
Walker has participated in or led a number of artistic projects including the Hypothetical Development Organization which explored renderings of purely hypothetical possibilities for blighted buildings in New Orleans, the Unconsumption Project, which tracks mindful consumption and creative reuse. He also started the MLK BLVD open source journalism project housed on Flickr.com which looks at the streets by that name all over the word.
The Significant Objects project, where writers are paired with an interesting object curated by Walker and co-founder Joshua Glenn, about which he or she writes a fictional story, later to be sold on Ebay, has been extensively covered in the press, including on NPR's "All Things Considered," the "Paper Cuts" blog of the New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, and The Economist online and employed the talents of such writers as Kurt Andersen, Nicholson Baker, William Gibson, Myla Goldberg, Ann Nocenti, Luc Sante, and Colson Whitehead. A book compiling 100 of these stories was published by Fantagraphics Books in 2012; all the stories are maintained online at http://significantobjects.com.
The "Consumed" column, which appeared weekly in The New York Times Magazine, examined consumer behavior from a hybrid business-and-anthropology standpoint. Each column discussed a new product or consumer trend. The column began in 2004, and ended in 2011.
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