"Dust or Magic" coverCover by Alex Mayhew.
"DUST OR MAGIC

CREATIVE WORK IN THE DIGITAL AGE."

by Bob Hughes.

Published by Addison-Wesley in October 1999 with the subtitle "Secrets of successful multimedia design", reprinted January 2000 and now available in a new, cheaper edition by Bosko Books, with the less-embarassing subtitle and a new preface.

Get it from Amazon for just 15.95, or 16.95 , or even $19.95.

Some copies of the original AWL edition may still be available from Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk

"An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it." -Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
(Or to put it another way "... depending on the amount of management crap you have to put up with.")
DUST OR MAGIC is not a typical computer book. It is mainly for people who want to do "great stuff" for the World Wide Web, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Interactive TV etc. But it is also for those who simply want to know how human creativity fares in the digital age.

I think it tells a hopeful story: success depends absolutely on the human touch - more so (I argue) than in any previous medium. In a corporate age, the computer has brought the question of the "human touch" right to the top of the agenda.

The introductory chapter (4,500 words) outlines the basic argument.

"Dust or Magic" includes history, stories, very new information from psychology, case-studies, and tons of good tried-and-tested guidelines for doing great stuff yourself, culled from many quarters.

Here's what Amazon UK's reviewer, Penny Jannifer, said about it:

    This is a book that raises questions about basic,
    crucial concepts that matter everywhere in life--not
    just on screen. [...] If you have even the slightest
    interest in creating content on computers you'll find
    it impossible to put down.


And some more comments:

"There are many books explaining why software projects go sour; this one breaks the mould by showing how they come good." - Malcolm Cook (Human Factors, Abertay Dundee.)

"What you are doing is stripping away the corporate bullshit from this 'revolution' - its ours not theirs. Reclaim the pixels!" - Chris McEvoy (First Circle Consulting)

"It was incredibly engrossing. I expected to skim through it, and found myself reading it avidly, putting aside all the other work I should have been doing, in favor of consuming it. .... It rang so true about so many things about the process of creating the virtual world we spend so much time in that I'm dying to share it with others who also create for it, or want to." - Aleen Stein.