8am - 5pm PST Mon-Fri
Allow me to impart the wisdom given to me by a friend who specializes in difficult clients: "Don't use what they hate; take what they like least and focus on it like a laser beam, and you'll nail it every time."
That's been proven here. Not sure about a book? Use a book. The ask.com logo is the least important thing? Use it, and make it look like an encapsulated phallus. You'll win for sure. Needs to be scaleable to a favicon? Make it so it's an unrecognizable blur when scaled down. No offense to the designers, they obviously know this sage advice, and they'll likely win, after being praised then eliminated at least two more times.
Clients don't know a thing about design. This guy has a graphic designer who's likely laughing his tail off at this whole process. I've created designs for people who asked for minimalism that would make a Chinese Xie Yi style artist drool, but keep in mind I was designing for someone who asked for minimalism who didn't know what the term meant. Just follow my buddy's advice -- look for what they least hate and run with it, then pray you get good enough you can show such people the door.
What do you want designed?