Libro 22 + 23/52 :: Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind + Makers by Chris Anderson

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 11.08.48 PMMaking quality things people want & need,  admire & appreciate – that’s what we all strive for.



Maybe it’s a lesson plan to share knowledge.

Maybe it’s a better way to deliver rebar just-in-time.

Maybe it’s a DIY drone kit to spy on the government spying on you.

Maybe it’s a movie.


These two books cover the last two items – and both are worth your time this summer.



Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film is a two-decade romp through the emergence of independent films. At 550+ pages, it’s hardly a breezy read, but it carries a great tempo. It doesn’t feel heavy. Despite its size, Down & Dirty is a page-turner as it follows the careers of some fantastic characters – and pure caricatures.


You don't work with the Weinstein's... you survive them.

You don’t work with the Weinsteins… you survive them.


Harvey & Bob Weinstein

Robert Redford

Steven Soderbergh

Matt Damon & Ben Affleck

Quentin Tarantino

Kevin Smith

Michael Eisner

Spike Lee

Billy Bob Thornton


Biskind profiles dozens of other industry types along the way as he saunters from the late ’80’s to 2004. The Weinstein brothers’ Miramax (named after their parents, Miriam and Max) and Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival (named after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) are the protagonists in this book, but these protags are seriously flawed.


The Weinstein stories are nothing short of incredible. Every chapter has some story about these animals that are so crazy… they just gotta be true. Harvey & Bob are ambitious and egocentric marketing geniuses, but they are also bullies who threaten, scream, intimidate, spit, throw lit cigarettes, belittle and generally harass everyone from their employees to the actors to the directors.


I cannot wait to see a movie about these two guys…. someday.


Robert Redford comes across as a passive aggressive artiste who has no business running a business. Apparently Sundance almost bit the dust numerous times. Biskind seems to enjoy sharing examples of Redford failures.



For movie aficionados who recall details from Clerks, Pulp Fiction, & Slingblade – it’s fascinating to step behind the scenes. But the business lessons in Down & Dirty are many.


Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 9.00.02 AM


These movies are product launches, complete with cut-throat negotiations, creative financing, brilliant/dubious strategy, and clearly, marketing decisions that ultimately decide their fate.


And for those of us who work with people you don’t trust or like – dozens of Weinstein stories offer various tactics regarding semi-peaceful coexistence.


While Down and Dirty Pictures is about the intangible experience of the cinema, Makers moves us from bits (digital) to atoms (physical). Makers is about “The New Industrial Revolution” and how anyone can make anything anywhere.







Chris Anderson is the guy who coined the phrase, The Long Tail, and is the editor of the magazine Wired. And if you are a monthly reader (which I highly recommend), you’ll recognize many of the featured individuals and businesses in Makers.



Tesla Motors 

Local Motors







These companies are part of the Maker ecosystem. Each is an example or enabler of the Maker Movement – the ability for each of us to make whatever we want.






In a few years, 3D printers will be commonplace. Personally I’m postponing the inevitable on my future Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer by MakerBot. It’s only a matter of time before it’s on my desktop… confusing my wife and impressing my 6-year old.


What is a 3D printer?

Don’t let the term printer confuse you – It’s a mini-fabricator.

It can make physical things right in front of you.


Whereas a normal printer has a movable head that drops ink, a 3D printer moves in three dimensions (side-to-side, front-to-back, up-&-down) and deposits plastic/resin/something in wafer thin layers to make something physical.


CAD drawings (computer-aided design) once reserved for architects and engineers are becoming easier to use as the masses begin to consider how cool it would be to make their own personal bobble head or an Lego-size M-16 machine gun for their own custom WWII Lego set. (Both examples are detailed in the book.)


Here’s when you’ll know the Maker Movement is legit:

Your standard dropdown menu on your Mac will have a Make option right below Open and Save and Export and Print. You’ll be able to make whatever you want right on your desk or you’ll be able to upload the design to a network of fabrication plants around the world that can make and ship your thing immediately with some simple credit card info.


In the words of William Gibson: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”


This stuff is happening now.

Get ready to see a lot more of it firsthand.


Makers will immediately get you thinking about the transition from bits (digital info) to atoms (physical goods) in a different way. Odds are you can apply this “Maker Movement” to your job, company and industry too.


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As for me… what will I make when I get my own MakerBot 3D printer?

I have no idea.




That’s a lie.

I have a ton of ideas.

And it’ll be a lot of fun to hit “make” over and over and over….





Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle ( He’s reading 52 books this year. He’s looking forward to crossing the 50-yard line soon…. 

Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 8.58.10 AM


LIBRO 52 Challenge YTD

1. Kennedy/Nixon by Chris Matthews

2. Poke the Box by Seth Godin

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

NA. Buy-In by John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead

4. Education of an Accidental CEO by David Novak

5. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

6. Blood, Brains and Beer by David Ogilvy

7. Lyndon Johnson :: Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

8. 1776 by David McCullough

9. To Sell Is Human by Dan Pink

NA. Profiles In Courage by JFK*

10. Write It When I’m Gone by Tom DeFrank

11. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

12. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searls, Weinberger + Levine

13. One Click by Richard Brandt

14. Persuasive Presentations by Nancy Duarte

NA. James K. Polk by Walter Borneman

15. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

16. The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty

17. The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

18. Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

19. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

20. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

21. Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel

22. Down & Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind

23. Makers by Chris Anderson

Categories: Libro 52 Challenge

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16 replies


  1. Libro 24/52: Tales From Q School by John Feinstein « the red angle
  2. Libro 25/52: The Business of Belief by Tom Asacker « the red angle
  3. Libro 26/52: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman « the red angle
  4. Libro 27/52: Drive by Dan Pink « the red angle
  5. Libro 28/52 :: Enough by John Bogle « the red angle
  6. Libro 29/52 :: Contagious by Jonah Berger « the red angle
  7. Libro 30/52 :: Lexicon by Max Barry « the red angle
  8. Libro 31 + 32/52 :: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman + A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis « the red angle
  9. Libro 33/52 :: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton « the red angle
  10. Libro 34 + 35/52 :: Choose Yourself by James Altucher + The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzwieg. « the red angle
  11. Libro 36/52 :: Inside The Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg. « the red angle
  12. Libro 37 + 38/52 :: The Power of Less by Leo Babauta + Wild by Cheryl Strayed « the red angle
  13. Libro 39/52 :: Big Data by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. « the red angle
  14. Libro 42/52 :: Black Irish by Stephan Talty « the red angle
  15. Libro 43/52 :: The Firm by Duff McDonald « the red angle
  16. Libros 44-50 :: The final chapter of the Libro 52* Challenge. « the red angle

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