I love to read books that put you behind the scenes where you get a sense of the lifestyle and flavor of the time. So I'd say, Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capoteand His Black and White Ball by Deborah Davis; Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis; and Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke. One I've just completed and I have to include is The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn Nicholas.
I love biographies. I like the context they offer. Knowing details about someone like photographer Lee Miller gives you an insight into how people cope with life. I like learning about the process of how people become who they are — as opposed to fiction, which is just … fiction.
Last book given as a gift:
I gave my own book: Crossing Boundaries: A Global Vision of Design. I like to share my travels and experiences with people.
In his bag:
I'm usually carrying design plans. But if I had anything else, it would be catalogs. Auction catalogs from Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury from London, Paris and New York.
Elle Decor, House Beautiful and Metropolitan Home are my first choices in trade publication reading, but I try to read all the others, as well. In addition, I get a lot of travel inspiration from National Geographic and Travel & Leisure magazines.
Books that influenced his career:
Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia by Christopher Byron and Front Row: Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief by Jerry Oppenheimer.
They showed me how these people have dealt with adversity. The sense of focus and purpose expressed is inspiring.