Hello New Year – hello old me! But this is not another NY resolutions post. These are the books I decided I wanted to read and so I made a reading challenge for 2021. This will also serve me as a way to keep track of the books I I’m reading. Wanna join me?
I will come back and update the status of my books for 2021 regularly. Maybe you’ll find a title that will stir up your curiosity too! If you click on it, it will take you to the Goodreads page so you can see an excerpt and check the reviews.
21 books for 2021
Tell me your favourites in the comments so I know what to read next.
I should re-read it and I’ve just finished it. Nice dip into the fashion world and the history of the luxury / biggest name brands of today. It has a special way of interlinking the history of every fashion house, so smoothly that sometimes I forgot who we were talking about. But it’s a must I should recommend to my future self XD
Here comes what used to be my “links of the month” post : Links and recommendations I found that (I think) are worth sharing along with some life updates.
YOU CAN SKIP THIS PART
The year started 8 months ago and I didn’t get to publish any post. So embarrassing and shameful. But here we are. So, let me tell you REAL quick what my intentions were when 2019 started. I decided not to focus on a list of goals for the year. Instead, I want to focus on the bigger picture and work on it slowly and steadily. That’s my only goal. To move forward. To lower my expectations over myself and all the things I should be doing and achieving and to acknowledge that I’m already working hard on balancing all the things on my plate and giving priority to building habits that will help me achieve my big dreams. And I encourage you to do the same. I can’t jump to a future life without being here right now and doing the things that need to be done right now. Taking care of oneself is not as social media lays it out to be (pink baths and cute pyjamas) but about being brutally honest with the self and starting to learn what those activities are that do you well but that you deny because, in your mind, you are not that sort of person. (I feel so mature now that I’m 26 yo LOL) Let me put better: I tend to avoid people and sports, not because I dislike them (maybe some people and some sports, but not in general), but because I don’t see them as a priority. As it happens, though, I do feel a lot more alive if I spend a good chunk of my free time engaged in both of them. And that’s hard to listen to, as I usually think I need to stay in when I most need to go out. You may understand this better if your personality type is 5 too. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check this. And you may also be interested in this (it seems I’m a logician). These are personality groups, with tests and information on every type. I’m not a fan of being put in a box like that but when it happens to be quite right and the texts become enlighting, I must admit it can be helpful. And I’m always up for some self-improvement.
NOW THE LIST
Here comes a mix of links I found on the interwebs with no connection:
– This video: ” In “Dream”—a harrowing video by Zombie Studio—critically endangered animals poignantly sing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.”
– Ever wondered about the beaches in South Africa? I did and I want to keep this article close for the day I get to go. You know, even though I’m not the cliché surfer who gets every surf break they can, I do like to travel to places where it is possible, so if I get the chance to surf the better.
– If you are a designer too, you may like this. How important do you think typography is for science fiction movies that picture the future? Well, quite a bit actually. You can see some case studies on this page.
– Here is a short guide to Instagram basics (characters related) that comes handy.
I started doing so well with my reading this year… And rapidly went back to the old habits. I love reading but I have to do it squeezing the small chunks of time I have left in my day and that means being focused on reading, while I still want to be thinking about so many other things, my projects, designs, illustrations… Anyway, here’s a list of what I’ve been reading this year (yeah, there’s a theme around here – I’m always up for a business/ marketing/ self-improvement book):
– TheSlight Edgeby Jeff Olson – This book sets the tone for the start of the year. The idea behind it is simple but that makes it just more powerful. I totally recommend it to anyone but to explain it in a sentence: there lays a great power on every small action you take every day and it will change your future.
– This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See by Seth Godin. You probably know Seth Godin as he’s a marketing guru on the internet and you have probably come across something he said already… Anyway, in this book he talks modern marketing in the era of online commerce and it’s a nice read, good to brush up on some ideas.
– Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis. I love how he talks about building and keeping a small business small and how that’s important. I totally buy into the idea that small businesses have a real future and the idea of not trying to grow bigger and bigger as a business should be pursued more broadly.
–The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay. This one’s a bit off-topic, but I really enjoyed it. Not in the way I would enjoy a novel, but as a book that knows how to clearly break down what it means to be a 20-something, the worries we have, the problems we face, how we feel about our lives. And it gives solutions or at least it shows us the path. How to grow up and keep going forward in the way that better suits and benefits us. I wish I had this book when I entered the twenties but at least I had it 4 years to go before entering the so cursed 30’s. Anyone else has noticed that all benefits of being “young” or “under x” end at 30? Is there something that they don’t tell us, like that we will be dead inside or something when we reach that age?
– As a man thinketh by James Allan. I had listened to/ watched videos with James Allen’s voice overs for a while and heard (actually read) about this book lots of times previously, so it was a matter of time I would read it eventually. It’s a short read and it teaches how to think, which is not a small feat.
– Rich dad, poor dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Did you miss having financial classes or some kind of guidance while growing up about money issues? Well, here you’ll find what you wanted and what you need to start progressing. I enjoyed it, was motivated by it and have to keep digging in that field (I have a full course on financial studies ready to study).
–When Coffee & Kale Compete: Become Great at Making Products People Will Buy by Alan Klement. How can you get a great idea for a business? How to prove it’s worth pursuing it? This book is full of good ideas, case studies and ideas on how to find a good idea, how we know it’s a good idea and how others have made it. Learn what you need to know to develop a good business idea – that what you can take from it. I loved the approaches taken in this.
I’ll tell you more when I’m finished. And probably the list will have grown longer, as my to-read list is endless (f***).
And here goes a video I enjoyed recently about this great surf artist and his path to it.
And lastly… A product that has saved me this year: glasses with a blue filter. I had my doubts they would actually work… But spending most of my day in front of a screen (retina screens and my Xiaomi’s) I had to try it, as I would have red eyes almost every day. And they do work. I still get red eyes from time to time and some days they even hurt, but it has now happened on occasion when it would be like this every day before. If you are thinking about taking the leap and trying them, go ahead!
Because I don’t want to feel like the drawing above, I end up looking like below. A bit too geeky for my taste.
Do you remember my last post about books? Well, it’s this one .
So maybe it’s time to update you on my reading list.
I’ll start with the books I haven’t finished reading yet.
My so-called freelance life
It’s a wonderful guide for the wannabe freelancer that has never been in that situation before, is starting now or in need of a bit of help. There’s plenty of good and practical advice. I haven’t been through it all though because I feel like I already know the theory and I don’t need to go over it (again). In my case, I should be working the path instead of informing myself. But if you’re considering going freelance, this book could be the prefect reading for you.
Design is my job
I only started it. It is nice but it’s not a great guide like the one above. It gives you the author’s advice on everything he considers necessary. And even though I appreciate the tone of it, very close to the reader, it won’t help me feel good about my job…so I said Next!
I’m 30 pages away from the end. It’s a good read to start feeling better about your life and spreading the love. A read I’d recommend. But I must add, I’ve been working on The Magic book for the last month too. And it is incredibly good. If you liked The Secret I would totally recommend it. It’s a great way to really put some gratitude into your daily life, with daily exercises. And it’s awesome how it really works.
Also, if that’s not enough and you liked everything about The Secret, I would also recommend you the book “The Science of Getting Rich”, which is the one that Rhonda received and inspired all The Secret series. It’s a very short read, you can find it free online (because it’s 100 years old!) and gets you to the point in a straightforward way. I’ll be rereading it, for sure!
Books that I did finish reading
I had a bit of trouble getting hooked by this book at first, because I couldn’t align with the author’s voice or tone at first. But as I got further I started liking it more and more. It may not become my favourite book but it is inspirational and motivational for all women in business and will empower your dreams (which I’ll always be grateful for). Let me show you some of my favourite quotes – the ones that speak the most to me.
“You must find the place inside of you where everything is possible.”
“You must envision your world through the eyes of positivity and possibility. The moment you do that, you open up a world of endless abundance.”
“Her success is not your failure.”
Leave your mark
As I told you in the previous post, I skipped the first part, because it was mostly about how to get a job. Now, the social media chapters and branding are good stuff. It’s a nice read because it feels like a different way to learn about what to do and what not to do on social media, along with some stories and advice. Who knew it that it could be so entertaining and helpful!
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Have you ever read an article of books recommendations of books that the critic haven’t yet read?
Well, lucky me, I’m just a designer and not a critic!
A post on books again… just because they’re one of my loves!
Well, it is for a few reasons in fact:I enjoyed reading and learning this way since my early school years and because I need to do something to relax and avoid loosing my mind on the internet in these cosy too-cold-for-my-taste winters. Also, my boyfriend likes to watch an episode before sleeping and not of one my favourite series… so it’s perfect to have an engaging book to read at the same time.
So, one afternoon I went to dive into the deepness of the Internet to make a selection of some books. I had just finished reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amouroso so I started from there to find similar products. To do so, I usually go to goodreads or just amazon. There I look up for similar titles and themes or make a new search. If I find something that sound interesting I’ll add the book to my wishlist or want-to read list. That way, when I feel like buying a book I just have to go to those lists and shop, knowing exactly what I want.
For today’s selection, I chose mainly books written by women who happen to be entrepreneurs too.
A few pages in and I’m completely hooked up on this. The author has a clear and engaging voice with a nice sense of humour. I’m devouring it. This book is written to help any freelancer or wannabe in any industry. Even though, Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer (a fact usually present on books about x, you know, because they have to be written by someone… who usually happens to write). But it looks good, very good.
As the title says, a book for women entrepreneurs. The author started out writing a blog and from there published several books and became a coach. This book is still in the business side but with a focus on the mindset that will be useful for women in business.
“ it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection”
What else can I say? I’ve only read the introduction 😅
I don’t know if you’ve heard about #Girlboss or read it, but if you do, this one is kind of similar… To where I’ve read. In the fashion industry, very focused on techniques and advice to get a job. In Girlboss it seemed that Amouroso would teach about how to make your own empire, but she more accurately advise on how to be and apply to become part of Nasty Gal, her business. In Leave your mark, the goal is not to get into a business in particular but more about landing your job.
Though, there is more to it. The author got some amazing results from using social media and she will share her secrets with you. So I’m skipping some chapters of how to land the job of your life (because I prefer freelancing and I’ve read enough about the standard way to get a job) and jumping into social media. More I can’t tell you, I’m on it, but I promise to make a follow up post or just update this one.( So keep your eyes peeled for it! ).
I must confess, looking at the outside, this one seems kind of boring. The foreword is by Erik Spiekerman so it kind of gives me some reference and hope. From this early part of the book I would like to share the following sentences :
“Clients need to understand that they’ve hired us to do something they are not good at. And that they need to pay us for our knowledge, skills, experience and, yes: attitude. ”Erik Spiekerman
Getting to the index, I notice that it may not be a boring book about the fundamentals of design at all. In fact, is the “formal” guide to being a graphic designer in freelance mode. Will it share some new perspective on my job? I do expect it to do so, and specially, what the author tells in the introduction:
“You will have more confidence in yourself and a deeper understanding of your craft.” Mike Monteiro
I know I know… This recommendation doesn’t go much on line with the other books… But it’s always good to get some help that motivates you and not just gives you advice. So a bit of self-help to make the path to solopreneur sweeter.
I’m sure you’ve heard about The Secret. I saw the movie when it came out and have rewatched it several times. I have read the last book, Hero, which I love. But have pending the Power, which I’ll be reading right away, and The Magic, which I’ll try to get for Christmas! 😉🎄 This book comes to be an extension and progression of The Secret, adding stories and knowledge.
What are some books in your want-to-read list? Let me know in the comments!
Even if your art is your passion, it doesn’t come easy to devote yourself to it. There are those endless projects, too many ideas or the lack of them. Sometimes, working in our art feels like a battle, like a war.
We started the topic with these books over here. This is the follow-up post, with a few more recommendations.
3- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
That’s what the book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art it is about. It is a guide that tries to explain, rationalise and inspire creatives to express themselves, overcoming what he calls “resistance”. Resistance is all thhose things that stop a creative from completing her work of art. Call it procrastination, lack of inspiration, etc. Read his work and let it help you, I’m sure you’ll find the support you need to go on with your creative projects.
Some of my favourite quotes:
– “Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”
– “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”
– Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
– “The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. Not the way I see it. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time.”
4- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
The next book I want to recommend you is The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. She is a singer and part of the Dresden Dolls, but I didn’t know anything about her until I read her book. As you can guess, this book is a lot about “asking” but it is a lot about her biography too. But that is not a problem. I loved the way the book is written and how everything relates and connects, the stories and the main message of the book. It is a new perspective on how to approach the act of creating and sharing your creations that won’t leave you indifferent.
– “Have you ever noticed that this looks like this?”
– “There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”
– “Given the opportunity, some small consistent portion of the population will happily pay for art ”
– “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.”
5 – The Art Spirit
My final recommendation of creative books is The Art Spirit. I’ve just been reading this book and I can say it is great and have surprised me immensely. This is not such a book as the others, it’s been written from letters and articles too from the author and it is closely tied to the process of painting with oils. The writer, Robert Henri, was a painter and a teacher, and the book is full of advice for art students and painters – or creatives. Because you’ll find out about technique and composition but also a lot of his philosophy of life and the artist profession.
And following, my highlights:
ON HAPPINESS AND LIFESTYLE
– “Every movement in nature is orderly, one thing the outcome of an-other, a matter of constructive, growing force. We live our lives in tune with nature when we are happy, and all our misery is the result of our effort to dictate against nature. In moments of great happiness we seem to be with the uni- verse; when all is wrong we seem to be alone, disjointed.”
– “No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”
– “Find out what you really like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. Then sing your song. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing”
– “A good picture is a fruit of all your great living.”
– “The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to discover himself as a human being, with needs of his own. To look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for himself a vehicle for his self-expression.”
–“To have ideas one must have imagination. To express ideas one must have science.”
– “Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway.”
– “To be an artist is to construct, and to whatever degree one shows the genius for construction in work of any sort, he is that much an artist. The artist life is therefore the desirable life, and it is possible to all.”
– “There is a joy in the pursuit of anything.”
– “Life is finding yourself. It is a spirit development.”
– “Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing”
– “We must paint only what is important to us, must not respond to outside demands. They do not know what they want, or what we have to give.”
– “One of the great difficulties of an art student is to decide between his own natural impressions and what he thinks should be his impressions.”
– “Don’t stop to paint the material, but push on to give the spirit.”
– “To paint is to know how to put nothing on a canvas, and have it look like something when you stand back.”
– “Hold to this principle that the greatest drawing, the greatest expression, the greatest completion, the sense of all contained, lies in what can be done through the larger masses and the larger gestures”
– “The development of the power of seeing and the power to retain in the memory that which is essential and to make record and thus test out how true the seeing and the memory have been is the way to happiness.”
– “If we knew what we saw, we could paint it.”
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I’m sitting in my sofa, a blanket over my legs, the last lights of the afternoon entering smoothly through the window. A cool breeze is petting the trees outside and dark clouds are moving fast towards the town, above the mountains. I’m reading a book and I’m fully immersed in the words.
That, for good or bad, has been a recurring scene in my life. Books have always been a good companion of my, may they have been just readings for entertainment or study. Whatever I’m interested in the moment, I’ll look for new perspectives in books.
So when I had made my mind clear that I wanted to pursue a creative career, preferably as an artist and my own boss, I started looking for books that could inspire, motivate and teach me a way. Books for creatives. And, of all of them, I’m bringing you a list of the ones more relevant.
But this is more than a list. Because as I’m getting used to highlighting I though it would be great to share some of my favourite quotes with you. (If you like what you read, maybe you could ask for some of these books this xmas… 😉 )
My selection of books for creatives
1- (a combo) Show your work /&/ Steal like an artist by Austin Kleon
Austin Kleon is an artist and writer. In his first book, Steal like an artist, he talks about having references while working and how it is ok to “copy” to learn or get inspired to develop your own work. As this one is interesting, I found much more useful the Show your work book. Basically it talks about what the title says : how and why you should share more of what you’re doing like an artist and how that can help you, your process and your success building an audience. These books are like the business side of the creative life.
Want to have a look inside? Here are some of my favourite quotes of Kleon’s books. You can also visit his site and blog to find out more.
– “Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what that piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned. If you have lots of projects out into the world, you can report on how they’re doing—you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.”
– “Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”
– “If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.”
– “What do you do? What are your ‘recipes’? What’s your ‘cookbook’? What can you tell the world about how you operate that’s informative, educational, and promotional?”
– “If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector. The writer Blake Butler calls this being an open node. If you want to get, you have to give. If you want to be noticed, you have to notice.”
– “Work is never finished, only abandoned.” —Paul Valéry”
– “My interest in making music has been to create something that does not exist that I would like to listen to. I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.” —Brian Eno”
– “We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.”—Francis Ford Coppola”
– “ The writer Wilson Mizner said if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.”
– “First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.”
– “You start out as a phony and become real.” —Glenn O’Brien”
– “Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell youthe truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.”– “It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.” —Mark Twain”
– “Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems. Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.”
– “Whether I went to school or not, I would always study.” —RZA”
– “The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.”
– “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustave Flaubert”
– “If you ask yourself ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about. If you ask yourself ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it—you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said “something mean to you—that’s what you’re going to remember. But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad.” —Nicholson Baker”
2- My second recommendation is Big magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
The author of Eat, Pray, Love wrote a book about her creative process, how she sees inspiration and how she treats every step of it.
Even I don’t resonate with every chapter, there is much to it that I do like, find inspiring and empowering.So that’s what my selected quotes are about.
– “ Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
– “I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”
– “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them”
– “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”
– “ I felt like I was falling in love, or had just heard alarming news, or was looking over a precipice at something beautiful and mesmerizing but dangerous. […] I believe I can confidently call it by its name: inspiration”
– “ Whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work”
– “ You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
– “ You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognize that this is not really the point.”
– “ I don’t know what I think until I write about it” Joan Didion
– “ Romans didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius.”
– “… in the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience”
– “ I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all. Because either way, it’s all kind of amazing – what we get to do, what we get to attempt, what we sometimes get to commune with.”
– “ You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life”
– “ Most things have already been done – but they haven’t been done by you.”
– “Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart. Share whatever you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original.”
– “ You are not required to save the world with your creativity”
– “ At the end of the day, I do what I do because I like doing it”
– “Your own reasons to create are reason enough”
– “ Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolutions in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.”
– “ If you’re working on your craft every day on your own, with steady discipline and love, then you are already for real as a creator.”
– “ When we look at your work […] we will want to feel your youth”
– “We need your work in order to enrich and inform our own lives”
– “ It’s difficult to create things; if it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it, and it wouldn’t be special or interesting”
– “ Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy”
– “ Let people be in love with their opinions […] and just keep doing your thing […] The reaction doesn’t belong to you”
– “ Make absolutely whatever you want to make. It’s nobody’s business but your own”
– “Everybody imitates before they can innovate”
– “ Holding yourself together through all the phases of creation is where the real work lies.”
– “ It’s far more honourable to stay in the game – even if you’re objectively failing at the game – than to excuse yourself from participation because of your delicate sensibilities. But in order to stay in the game you must let go of your fantasy of perfection”
– “ Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.”
– “ At the end of your creative adventure, you have a souvenir”
– “ You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry that much about you”
– “ A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week” General George Patton
– “ The work wants be made, and it wants to be made through you”
– “ The lightly you can pass the time, the brighter your existence becomes.”
I have selected three more creative books… but I’m worried you could get an overdose of creative advice so ‘m going to share the rest next week, with the second part of this post.
In the meanwhile…
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