About A Brief Compendium of Cool

A Brief Compendium of Cool  is a coffee table/reference book featuring a well-edited assortment of the coolest people, places, and things the world has seen over the last few centuries. Between entries, readers will enjoy interviews and essays in which subject matter experts, and the subjects themselves, share their definitions of cool and discuss their personal influences:

  • William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, et al, and creator of the term “cyberspace” is writing an essay on what cool is and means in 2019
  • Jim Sclavunos, of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, talked with me about what cool means and has meant to him
  • Elizabeth Hand, award-winning author, is writing an essay on the appeal of crime fiction
  • Derek Brown, mixologist, bar owner, cocktail expert and author, is writing an essay on cocktails
  • Cindy Gallop, entrepreneur and professional badass, spoke with me about what she considers cool
  • Jack Womack, award-winning author, is writing an essay on the ascent of science fiction in pop culture
People I wish I could query, but who shall be featured nonetheless, include Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and Anthony Bourdain. Non-human subjects include leather jackets, Danger Diabolik, and red lipstick. The book will include infographics and a cross-reference section for each entry, providing a trail of breadcrumbs for anyone who wants to discover new worlds for themselves — illustrating the iterative nature of cool while underscoring how very small our world is, after all. This collection of roughly 50 entries on the artists, thought leaders, agents provocateurs, and artifacts will form a birds-eye geography of cool, appealing to pop-culture enthusiasts and newbies alike.

Culturally-curious people ages 12 and up who want to expand their knowledge base, and established cultural mavens of all ages who will love having so many favorites in one beautiful volume.

Sample Text
Singer. Songwriter. Multi-instrumentalist. Composer. Voiceover artist. Producer. Business owner.

patton, mike

Why so cool?

Patton does whatever interests him, and he never stops. Having narrowly avoided a degree in English by dropping out of college to join Faith No More in 1988, he then helped rewrite the sounds of  rock and metal music. He’s constantly trying new sounds, new genres, new collaborators. Nearly impossible to track, his projects include mainstream-ish alt-metal, 1960s Italian pop, hip-hop, electronica, noise, soundtrack composition, free-form poetry/jazz/orchestral recordings, and narration for video games, among others. He speaks Italian (which he learned the hard way: by moving to Italy with his wife and refusing to speak English) and Spanish. He’s performed in both those languages as well as Portuguese. He’s got rabid cult followings across multiple segments of society, perhaps most notably in Chile, where he’s considered an honorary Chilean, despite having no familial ties there. He signed one of his heroes, composer Ennio Morricone (known primarily for his soundtracks to Clint Eastwood’s 1960s spaghetti Westerns), to Ipecac Recordings, the label he co-founded in 1999. He’s irreverent, intelligent, and funny. And he uses every single note in his six-octave vocal range.

Check Out

Bands: Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Lovage, Peeping Tom, Fantomas, Mondo Cane, General Patton vs The X-ecutioners, Nevermen
Soundtracks: A Place Beyond the Pines, The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Albums: Mondo Cane (Mondo Cane), Angel Dust (Faith No More), Disco Volante (Mr. Bungle), Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By (Lovage), Sol Invictus (Faith No More)
Tracks: Pit Stop (Lovage), 101 North (Tomahawk), Chemical Marriage (Mr. Bungle), Tough Towns (Nevermen), Sucker (Peeping Tom, with Norah Jones, swearing like a sailor), Il Cielo In Una Stanza (Mondo Cane), Falling To Pieces (Faith No More), Motherfucker (Faith No More)
Plus: Check out the YouTube videos of him singing Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and the Nestle Winter White Chocolate song from the commercial that aired in the early 1990s. Comedy gold.

See Also

TV on the Radio, Doseone, Dan the Automator, Jennifer Charles, Elysian Fields, Mark Lanegan, Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age, Sleaford Mods, John Zorn, Melt Banana, the Melvins, Kaada, Imani Coppola, The Kids of Widney High, Le Butcherettes, Ennio Morricone.


Trends This Book Speaks To

Cultural curation (as seen via Pinterest, Etsy, BuzzFeed, Top 10 and Editor’s Picks lists), “how things work” books, cross-platform participation (book, website, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.), mind-map infographics showing, for example, how various bands and musical movements connect to one another.

Market Analysis

Each of the following five books focuses on the concept of cool, whether overtly or as a natural byproduct of its study.

However, none of them are, at their heart, a collection of the iconic people, places, and things that contain the enigmatic “it.”

The Book of Cool: What is It? Who Decides It? And Why Do We Care So Much? Marianne Taylor Running Press 6/30/2009 This is an examination of cool as a sociological phenomenon. A Brief Compendium of Cool, by contrast, gets straight to the good stuff. It’s more hands-on, more fun.
American Cool Peter N. Stearns NYU Press 4/1/1994 This book looks at a specific brand of cool in a specific place. A Brief Compendium of Cool is far-reaching in its curation of cool.
Ready, Steady, Go!: Swinging London and the Invention of Cool Shawn Levy Fourth Estate Ltd. 7/7/2003 This is a history of cool in a specific place and time; A Brief Compendium of Cool embraces and celebrates cool across the ages, post-geographically.
Street Knowledge King Adz The Overlook Press 3/31/2011 A look at one aspect of cool in a microcosm of modern urban life; again, my book embraces and celebrates cool across the ages, post-geographically.
Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities* Kevin Kelly Cool Tools Lab 12/17/2013 Similar in concept; however, where this book deals in tools, A Brief Compendium of Cool deals in all things cool, across the spectrum of human experience.

*This title was extremely well-received, earning rave reviews on its selections and its straightforward style from software engineers, thought leaders, and avant-garde musicians (Brian Eno!) alike. I believe A Brief Compendium of Cool will impact its target audience in a similar way, making it a profitable title with ongoing staying power.