Conceptual Models: Core to Good Design ★Best
This is an excellent, short, powerful reminder of an often skipped stage of the design process. It should be required reading to all designers. I just wish it had more examples.
Breaking the social media prism
Chris makes important claims about polarization in social media and points to important solution spaces (some of which we're actively exploring at Birdwatch).
Notes on the Synthesis of Form
This book is fascinating. It's an attempt to look at the design process (analysis & synthesis) from a “mathematical”, or “first-principles” point of view, in order to find solutions outside of the preconceptions a designer might have when solving problems “intuitively”. It's a remarkable idea, but at times the language went over my head and there was a lot of repetition.
Living in information
Jorge Arango's call to change the framing we use to design, from “products” or “services” to “information environments” is very compelling, and has helped broaden my view of my own work and responsibility.
Yu-Kai offers a powerful, elegant, and easy to learn model for those who design for behavior change. I see myself referring to and using his Octalysis regularly in my work. The book, unfortunately, is poorly edited, too long, and Yu-Kai uses it too much as a selling vessel for his other services.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Scientists like Feynman are excellent reminders of how rarely we think clearly about a problem before jumping at solutions. Feynmann's life is a masterclass on being curious and asking questions until you understand how the world really works. And his writing style is light, funny and entertaining.
The happiness hypothesis ★Best
I love Haidt's ability to go both wide and deep to connect centuries-old wisdom with current science. A highly rewarding, always interesting book.
This is a good, foundational book on how Behavioral Insights evolved in the academic and business circles. It has examples from fields outside of technology so it helps expand our critical view.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead ★Best
This is my second book from Olga Tokarczuk, and even though very different from “Flights”, it didn't dissapoint me. I was hooked from the beginning. Her ability to see poetry in nature is very inspiring.
Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
I love these tiny books from Oxford University Press. This one gave me an amazing first look at the world of Buddhism.
Designing for Behavior Change
This book is the foundation of the Behavior Design course I teach. The frameworks introduced are a good way to remember the process, even though I feel like there's still room to make them less repetitive and more elegant.
The Beauty of Everyday Things
This book made me pause and think about craftsmanship in ways I hadn't before. Beautiful.
On Writing Well ★Best
I can't believe we go through so many years of design school without reading something like this. We have a lot to learn from writers on achieving clarity dealing with the struggles that are part of doing creative work.
How to Change Your Mind
There's a lot to question and to learn about the way we see and exist in the world. This book gave me great insight into the scaffolding we build in our minds to construct reality, and how psychedelics will open the way to new, more humane forms of consciousness.
It is so scary to think that this book was written before the pandemic. A lot of it feels like a prediction of how living in New York would be during 2020 and 2021.
A New Program for Graphic Design
This book was a very unexpected, positive surprise. I was expecting a method book that would help improve my skills, and it is instead more of a design history book. Still, the principles behind it are so good, it gave me a renewed energy about all things design.
This is one of the most fascinating fiction books I have ever read. It is hard, and infinitely enjoyable. Olga is a genius, and the complexity of her mind will leave an impact on me for years to come. I can't wait to read this book again.
At the Existentialist Café
This is a long, but highly entertaining, funny, and informative book about existentialism. It helped me lighten my approach to moments of crisis and hard life decisions.
The Order of Time ★Best
This book is a transformative experience. Rovelli breaks all our assumptions about how the world works one by one, explaining contemporary physics in an approachable, poetic, and funny style. Mind-blowing!
The Making of a Manager
An excellent read for every designer growing into senior or managerial roles and wondering where to take their careers. It gives a lot of clarity about the IC/Management tracks and why management is a completely different job than being a senior design specialist.
Articulating design decisions ★Best
This is one of the books that most transformed my design process and thinking, and the one I recommend the most to coleagues and friends. It helps bring a lot of clarity and intention to how we design and communicate with stakeholders.
Org Design for Design Orgs
This book was an essential resource when we were growing the team of designers at Nubank from 6 to the first 100. It brings clarity to different team structure types, career ladders, leveling, but also how to get the best results of your team while building a great culture.
This book should be required reading for anyone in business. If everybody cared more about helping each other improve, and used some of these tools to do so effectively, we would all be better off as professionals and as people.
I really enjoyed getting to know Satya's story and his remarkable process of turning Microsoft around. There are great insights here about bringing humanity to corporate culture.
The Secret History
The Goldfinch is one of my favorite books of all time, and I was very pleased to like The Secret History just as much. I love Donna Tartt's style and was hooked on this book from beginning to end.
The Field Study Handbook
Jan Chipchase has such an inspiring commitment to research and an infinite curiosity about how humans interact with technology and each other. His method is so adventurous, and at the same time so organized, it makes me feel bad for the cheap approach most companies use to learn from their customers. This is the real deal, and I wish more teams were willing to pack their bags and hit the road to learn.
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
I couldn't love this book more. The process of writing dictionaries is incredible. We can all learn from the passion and dedication of the people who work to document the meaning of the language we use.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Such a beautiful book. Carlo Rovelli has ways of explaining our universe with unparalleled poetry and passion.
Validating Product Ideas
A great book for small teams with little or no research budget. Tomer Sharon's strategies helped me go straight to the point and achieve clarity on what we needed to learn and what tools to use in order to learn it.
I don't think I need to say much about this one, given its immense popularity. Such a great book for anyone.
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