One-Eyed Look at ‘The Monocle Guide to Good Business’

This Monday, despite the pressing need to procrastinate, I decided to wear some discipline and hunker down on The Monocle Guide to Good Business.

The sheer dimensions of The Monocle Guide to Good Business as a hardcover magazine speaks volume about the appeal of print media. With its 22.9 by 18 cm scale, the photos deliver exactly what they are meant to deliver without the obstruction of having to scroll left, right, down, or up. In any case, reading a magazine in PDF format is never quite the same experience.

Print vis-a-vis to its electronic counterpart holds supremacy in certain areas – with magazine being one of them.


Lifestyle and fashion magazines have glossy printed pages that are no doubt a tactile pleasure. It’s safe to assume this is the very intrinsic reason print as a medium is still prominent today. You can demonstrate it to yourself why this is a big deal.

Here’s a well-established, independent zine where they wield the knowledge of “print is power”. Go to ‘Download Past Issues’ and experience what it’s like to read a magazine in PDF, in contrast to reading it on something LCD or LED-free.

Tyler Brûlé, the man behind Monocle, has a firm understanding of print media that he is able to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with print media today. It’s the notion that print media is an isolated, individual experience as opposed to the digital media whereby network is emphasized. In the video below, Brûlé offers an immaculate proposition of how this issue with print media can be amended, if not liquidated.

From where I stood (that is before I began reading the magazine), Monocle at first glance seemed, perhaps slightly pretentious. Sure it’s a billet-doux for individuals with good taste or those seeking to become culturally astute. But the terminologies of Mr. Brûlé’s – particularly his assertion that Monocle is a ‘global magazine’ and it’s tailored for the ‘Lufthansa audience’ – is to say the least, trite. The prevalent vision of beautifying travel is both Monocle’s vitality and vulnerability.

I initially questioned its perspective, but later recognized the magazine itself as a riveting creation. Targeting its readership with the tag-line ‘for individuals who should know better’ may be what outsiders see but really it is closer to ‘for individuals intent on living a more enjoyable life’.

Apart from its published products, Monocle also hosts its own twenty-four hour live broadcast radio, equipped with a comprehensive arsenal of considerably unique and diverting programs – ranging from guides to cities, food and businesses all the way to digests of music, design, and architecture. You can get ahold of these wonderful audio segments on Podcast, or directly from the Monocle 24 app on iTunes.

Oh, how wrong I was. I realised straightaway Monocle had scarcely anything to do about flaunting how cultured you were (although there is the shadow of doubt from the outsiders). The brand identity is embedded on scrutinizing the finer things in life that are at times considered trifling or insignificant. The magazine perfects the transcription of the mundanity of everyday life into something more meaningful. Magazines are usually guilty pleasures but flipping through Monocle’s published contents will have you grasp how some leisures are actually productive.

Monocle, in its entirety, is a definite guide of how to make things around you, wherever you are, interesting and relevant. It’s the philosophy of invigorating day-to-day life that is at the epicentre of all things Monocle.

Monocle’s standard of good life is stamped in the architecture of a page – an ideal amount of text, merged with selections of remarkably sensible photography that sets the entrepreneurial mood of bona fide innovation and pragmatism, distinctly well.

The Monocle Guide to Good Business is also a bold visualization of the contemporary curatorship and a successful one at allowing its reader to discern what is a product of good curatorial activity. The coalescence of exquisite insights from a plethora of connoisseurs is a fulfilling definition of what modern curatorship stands for in the modern context. Monocle’s guide series, in this manner, attracts both loyal readers and new audiences, staying true to its ‘global magazine’ mantra.

Likewise, the images have a fine-art allure, playing on its underlying ideas about ease of travelling and working within different countries.

The Monocle guide series, undoubtedly exudes a literary air that offers a smorgasbord of practical insights and galvanizing case studies, offering toasty salutations to ingenious innovators and business wannabes alike. It’s not just a zine served to a specific niche of hipsters and yuppies. Go on, order it, put it on the coffee table and begin reducing everything in your life down to the essentials.

You’ll like the surfeit of easy style and good thematic substance.


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