Book & Media Reviews

A Million Blue Marbles
As part of Wallace “J” Nichols Year of Blue Mind, he recently offered a reading from his seminal book of the same name. Here is Chapter 9: A Million Blue Marbles, a treatise that broadens perspectives by focusing on something simple and small. ...
Price & Profit Strategies
Although pricing and profits go hand in hand, Mike Farley points out many in the watershaping industry are woefully misguided when it comes to what they charge. That needs to change, he says, and for anyone seeking guidance in this all-important facet of doing business, there’s a terrific “no BS” resource worth reading. ...
Designing a Design Business
Becoming a pure design firm in the pool and spa industry is not easy. The reason being, notes Mike Farley, the industry is geared entirely toward selling construction projects rather than earning design commissions. For those looking to move into design, he suggests a book that defines the business of design.
The Journey Into Design
The discipline of landscape architecture is based on a single process, says Mike Farley, that can be applied to a variety of design types. Here's how you can pick up this systematic approach without having to go to college.
Comedic Chasm
The descriptive blurb on Turner Classic Movies definitely caught my eye: "A swimming pool tycoon is coerced into giving a vacationing tourist a sales position so he can chase after a girl who saved him from drowning." I was immediately intrigued: In a lifetime spent watching odd movies, I'd never seen a
The Courage to Create Art
I was recently rummaging through my local bookstore, searching for the next pearl to unveil in this space, when I came across a book that stopped me in my tracks just because of its title: Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. This slim, 122-page volume, written by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Capra Print Editions, 1993), is so provocative and insightful that
Adding the Beauty of Stonework
How do you define artistry? That’s a highly subjective question, of course, but I’ve always thought of it as a completed work that radiates impressions of insight, effort, skill and mastery — even in
Reading to Reshape My Mental Outlook
Last year was the worst I’ve endured since I was a novice in the pool and spa industry. At the time, I found myself taking comfort in the fact that I wasn’t alone, that the recession was to blame for my ebbing sales and that we were all
Overcoming Fear
I was recently rummaging through my local bookstore, searching for the next pearl to unveil in this space, when I came across a book that stopped me in my tracks just because of its title:  Art & Fear:  Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking. This slim, 122-page volume, written by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Capra Print Editions, 1993), is so provocative and insightful that I think I could fill a year’s worth of columns with my observations of how what they say ties into what we do as watershapers. Keeping it brief, however, let’s begin by assuming that what watershapers do is
Swimming in Harmony with Nature
Did you know that there's a strong trend toward creating ponds that are made for swimming in Germany and Austria? That revelation came by way of a terrific book I just finished — Natural Swimming Pools: Inspiration for Harmony with Nature by Michael Littlewood (Schiffer Publishing, 2004). Littlewood is an American landscape designer who