Posted by Jason Diamond

I am by no means an expert on architecture.  But since I grew up in Chicago, I’ve learned to appreciate the works of Mies van der Rohe, Louis Sullivan, and especially Frank Lloyd Wright.

Today being the 144th birthday of the man who designed the Guggenheim in New York, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, his own home in Wisconsin, and plenty of beautiful structures in the Chicagoland area, I decided to once again try and read his his 1932 autobiography that I’ve had sitting  on my shelf for a year or two now.  

I know this probably makes me sound like a schmuck, but I have tried and failed so many times to read it. Old Frank wasn’t much of a writer, and whoever was his editor probably realized this, and said, “Go Ahead Mr. Lloyd Wright.  You can write anything you want.  Philosophy on architecture, musings on life, anything you’d like.”

This got me to thinking: what are some other examples of books being written by people who maybe had no buisness writing them?  Sure, Frank Lloyd Wright writing strictly about buildings is something you can’t begin to question (and I probably can’t begin to understand what is being talked about), but his autobiography is a tough one to defend.

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  • Steve

    Louis Sullivan’s autobiography (Autobiography of an Idea) is worth reading. It only covers his childhood and early career, which is probably why it’s a good bit shorter than FLW’s autobio. His style is a little old-fashioned or stilted or something, but not so much that it’s unreadable.

  • Jason Diamond

    I actually might seek that out. I’ve got a few Sullivan books. My favorite is the “Louis Sullivan: Prophet of Modern Architecture.”

    Thanks!