New York Doubled the World's Office Space in the 50s. Really?

Also I wouldn’t be surprised if they defined “office space” as “buildings dedicated to nothing but offices (well, ok, we’ll accept a cafeteria)”. By that standard, the offices in a factory, a warehouse or a harbor aren’t “office space”.

For a single building, yes. By NYC standards, no. It’s half the size of Rockefeller Center, 3,705,793 square feet of office space.

Nava, the tables in jbaker’s link shows the breakout of office from other kinds of building space. Offices are about 1/6 the total square footage. That still gives over 10 billion sq. ft. total in the U.S.

Yes, but that’s how it’s defined by the US Census Bureau, not by the people who published the book. I’ve run into stranger definitions…

I’m fascinated that you think a publisher like Running Press has any layers of editing and copyediting and proofing. Chances are pretty good that the author sent in the manuscript and they ran it through spellcheck in InDesign. Publishing is not the arbiter of truth that it used to be, and Running Press is not Random House.

OK, I had to look them up. Running Press does a variety of non-trade books, true. (That means books that are not standard narrative nonfiction. Cookbooks and guides and reference books all fall into this category. As do children’s books and those non-books that are sold next to the cash register, both of which fall under their imprints.) Additionally, their home page is not terribly impressive.

On the flip side, they’re an imprint of Perseus Books, which maintains an impressive list of imprints. They’re the publisher for Encyclopedia Britannica books. They have a line of science, history, and technology books that’s small but respectable. They do 200 books a year, which puts them into the high end of the independents.

And this particular book is very well put together, meaning good art direction, typography, printing, even paper quality. I guarantee that it’s a better product than any random Random House book I could put my hands on.

So I’m going to assume that this book was handled according to standard editorial practice. It’s a prestige book for the line, which to me makes it far more surprising that there are lapses than would be true for a book like the one Mr Downtown implies.

I finished the book and I felt I should say something nice about it so that if people find this thread it’s not only about the couple of odd mistakes. (Yes, there are others: rate of growth is independent from inflation, so no need to specify that you’re disregarding inflation.)

Overall, it’s a good, chatty, character-driven overview of the agency scene in the 50s and 60s. I’ve read many of the books about the time that he draws on and the general commentary on the era seems right on. In fact, his explanation of what drove the creation of the Interpublic conglomerate that changed the entire business and he ranks as the most important event in advertising history is the most lucid I’ve read. He calls attention to its importance even though most of the book, like almost everything else written about the Creative Revolution, focuses on the larger-than-life characters who dominated the gossip, even though their billing were never more than 8% of the total. Making the point that they were the equivalent of independent filmmakers in a world of mainstream blockbusters that make all the money - something he never says directly but which I think is the best comparison to today - is important for understanding their proper standing in advertising history.

The references to Mad Men are fortunately few, beyond the use of quotes from the show. He doesn’t say - but heavily implies - that Mad Men is fairly terrible at representing the true advertising world. Sterling etc. is too small to get at the huge bureaucratic and conservative agencies that its advertising and culture resembles but totally unlike the creative boutique agencies that upended advertising. It’s a show about people and times that happens to take place in advertising.

I’d recommend it as a great fast read for those who want to know more about the profession and why the advertising of the 60s seemed so radical at the time. If all you want is to enjoy the show, though, it’s completely skippable.

And here is one of those commercials.