If you want to know why gadgets today so often look the way that they do, particularly the ones that spring forth from Apple's design chief Jony Ive's perfectly shaped, minimalist dome, Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams will explain it to you across 808 pages, in both English and German. It's perhaps the definitive collection of designs by Dieter Rams, the legendary industrial designer behind many of the iconic Braun products of the 1960s and '70s.
You may not know the name, but you've seen the products. Ive and his designs for Apple are perhaps the truest spiritual successors to Rams' work — Rams said as much in the documentary Objectified, even. It's a little shocking, actually, how straight the line is that runs from Rams' work through Ive's, right into the device that you probably have in your pocket. (John Gruber called the iPhone 4 "a love letter to Dieter Rams.")
I paid $80 for this book when I bought it several months ago, darting into a Brooklyn bookstore just before it closed for the night to snag the last volume on its shelves after I'd flipped through my friend's copy. Whether you're into design or gadgets or just beautiful books, it was worth $80 then, and it's certainly worth the $50 that Amazon is asking for it now. And besides, there is no better antidote to this age of the Kindle than a 5.6-pound book.