I've settled on the conclusion that the world is some exact percentage better (exactly how much is hard to say, but it's substantial) for having Ellen Lupton in it. Her approach to design - treating it as a way of thinking that is accessible and beneficial across lifestyles and disciplines - is precisely what the doctor ordered in these troubled times. Honestly, I just can't say enough about her and her work.
I'm talking specifically now about her latest endeavor, as editor of DIY: Design it Yourself (also check out the companion site). I haven't picked this up yet, but I can tell I'm going to love it. Putting the idea in people's minds that they should create first and consume second, then helping them discover how? Awesome. And inspiring.
Speaking of Ellen, she's one of the guests this year on Debbie Millman's radio show/podcast, Design Matters. The whole schedule is actually pretty amazing: Lupton, Chip Kidd, Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones, Hillman Curtis, Carin Goldberg...the list goes on. I don't know if the show itself is good or not, but I'm betting yes and making it a point to find out for sure.
The thing about stuff like this is that I don't believe you necessarily need to have interest in design to find it interesting. People who are this creative and accomplished tend to have a lot to offer regardless of whether or not you share their particular passion. You heard it here.