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Matching Minds With Sondheim: The Puzzles and Games of the Broadway Master (2024)

Matching Mind with Sondheim is a journey into the rich but largely uncharted realms of the great Broadway songwriter’s prodigious output of word puzzles, board games, parlor games, and treasure hunts, written by game designer and Sondheim-enthusiast Barry Joseph based on scores of original interviews with the friends and colleagues who played them.

From his teenage years sending puzzles to the New York Times and board games to Milton Bradley until his final years designing treasure hunts and visiting escape rooms, Sondheim spent a long life pursuing his fascination with puzzle invention and game design.

For the first time, Matching Minds will introduce readers to what Sondheim described as his “puzzler’s mind” – through his cryptic crosswords, murder mysteries, treasure hunts, parlor games, and more – to better understand the man, his work, and (if they accept the challenge) themselves.

The book draws from over eighty years of Sondheim’s activities, collecting his extremely rare and never-publicly-seen puzzles and game designs, scores of original interviews with the celebrity friends who played them, deep dives into Sondheim-related archives from around the country (such as over 100 hours of interviews at Yale University that only became available this year), and analysis from both puzzle designers and theater professionals from around the world.

Matching Minds will do more than describe Sondheim’s work – it will allow readers to match minds with the master by attempting to solve some of Sondheim’s best puzzles and provide the materials and instructions for bringing his games into their own homes.

It will be a must for all theater fans, a delight to puzzle and game lovers, and a fascination for general interest readers. After Matching Minds, Sondheim and his musical creations will never be thought of the same way again.

Learn more about the upcoming, its Instagram account, and more here.

Making Dinosaurs Dance: A Toolkit for Digital Design in Museums (2023)


Book title - Making Dinosaurs Dance - with lots of images

“A wonderful guide to the kind of agile, experimental, responsive operational strategies needed in the museum of the future.” — Elizabeth Merritt, Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums, American Alliance of Museums    

Making Dinosaurs Dance takes the reader behind the scenes to learn how the American Museum of Natural History innovates visitor digital engagement, highlighting design techniques used both there and at museums around the world. Based on my six years at the landmark institution that inspired the Night at the Museum franchise, the book introduces The Six Tools of Digital Design – user research, rapid prototyping, public piloting, iterative design, youth collaboration, and teaming up – then applies them through case studies across a range of topics.

Read more here.

Friday is Tomorrow, or The Dayenu Year (2022)
Chronicles from the NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive

Cover text: Friday is Tomorrow

“Stories like Joseph’s suggest we are a lot better than we think we are.”Micki McElya, author of The Politics of Mourning

Compulsively readable”James Loney, columnist

Friday is Tomorrow, or The Dayenu Year is a true story of learning to grieve and thrive during the first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Within the first month of the lock-down, the author loses his father to the disease and then, soon after, his job. Through the support of his family, friends, and community, Friday is Tomorrow tells the uplifting story of how one man learns to maintain traditions in a time of uncertainty while reaching for his dreams.

At times moving, at times humorous, the ups and downs of this New Yorker were originally penned (quite literally, with a physical pen) for Columbia University’s NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive. Edited together for the first time, Friday is Tomorrow is more than just an opportunity to read one person’s struggle with the world wrought by the recent pandemic.

It is an invitation to take the time and space you need to consider and better understand your own story.

Learn how to get your own copy, download a free sample, and more at FridayisTomorrow.com.

Seltzertopia: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary Drink (2018)

Book cover reading Seltzertopia

“Of the thousands of books written about seltzer water, this is by far my favorite–especially the part that’s about me.” –Mel Brooks

Based on more than fourteen years of original research and interviews, the extraordinary story of this ordinary drink can finally be told.

Learn where to get your own copy, watch videos of presentations, follow the book tour and more at Seltzertopia.com.

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© Copyright 2023 – Barry Joseph

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