2x2x2: Six Books You Deserve As a Designer

Do designers still read books? Despite the proliferation of short-form web content, books are still a thing. The former is very good at keeping us well informed, while the latter still best at delivering elaborated, accumulated, and well-organized collection of knowledge. Here are six books that helped and are still helping me. I hope they…

Bookview: An Intelligent Career

Our average “career books” are usually emotionally inspiring, pragmatically instructive, but, unfortunately, profoundly lacking in helping us reflect and elaborate deeply in a holistic, self-defining way. Many of them give us what we want, but not what we need. No book can tell us what “I” need, because the true career- or life-defining ideas and…

Bookview: The Dance of the Possible by Scott Berkun

Summary A Satisfying, Convincing, and Actionable Initiator on Creativity Noah’s Notes It’s not uncommon that when we finish a book, we feel something lacking. Sometimes it’s because it starts strong and wears out at the end (like most bestsellers); sometimes because it facilitates thoughts beyond the scope (philosophy or mathematics); other times because it’s inspiring enough…

Bookview: Elements of Mathematics

Elements of Mathematics fills a gap somewhere in between. It’s dense, for sure. It demands your full attention. While the insights scattered on those 393 pages are invaluable.

Bookview: Experience Required by Robert Hoekman Jr

Experience Required: How to become a UX leader regardless of your role by Robert Hoekman Jr The Bottom Line Your first book towards a designer career and constant reminder of any career, because, seriously, you don’t get such sobering insights and decent advice very often in life or career. Official Summary For all the resources…

Bookview: Make It New

Make It New: The History of Silicon Valley Design by Barry M. Katz The Bottom Line A book-of-record-ish, design side of the Silicon Valley story that many are not familiar with. Anecdotes guaranteed. Official Summary California’s Silicon Valley is home to the greatest concentration of designers in the world: corporate design offices at flagship technology companies and volunteers at nonprofit NGOs; global design…

Bookview: Design for Hackers

Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy The Bottom Line A mixed bag of anecdotes, best practices, principles and insights related to design. You can start reading it from any page. Official Summary Discover the techniques behind beautiful design – by deconstructing designs to understand them. The term ‘hacker’ has been redefined to consist of anyone who has an…

Book Review: Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work

Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work by Nigel Cross The Bottom Line Written by one of the leading figures in design research, the book is supposed to “help anyone interested in design to develop their understanding of how designers think and work.” And it’s only 150 pages. Official Summary Design thinking is the core creative process for any designer; this…

Book Review: Beyond Measure

Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes by Margaret Heffernan The Bottom Line Read the invigorating and highly quotable introduction as well as chapter 1 and stop there if you’re in a hurry. Official Summary A powerful manifesto for CEOs and employees alike: Influential and award-winning business leader Margaret Heffernan reveals how organizations can build ideal workplace cultures and create seismic…

Book Review: Why We Work

Why We Work by Barry Schwartz The Bottom Line Chapter 4, The Technology of Ideas, is worth the full price for re-introducing so many essential ideas you MUST understand in order to truly understand the dynamics of work culture. Official Summary An eye-opening, groundbreaking tour of the purpose of work in our lives, showing how work operates…

Book Preview: Strategic Design Thinking

Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond by Natalie W. Nixon The Bottom Line Perspectives matter a lot. If you think you know what design thinking is about, read it and think again. Official Summary Who can design? For too long, that question has highlighted the supposed division between right-brain dominant “creative types” and left-brain dominant “analytical types.” Such a division…

Book Review: Design Thinking

Design Thinking: Integrating Innovation, Customer Experience, and Brand Value by Thomas Lockwood The Bottom Line Since design thinking is so many things that experts and practioners can’t even agree with each other on a definition, at least you get to know what Design Thinking is likely NOT. And that’s extremely beneficial. Official Summary Design Thinking confirms that design, as a process and as…

Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport Amazon | Author Site The official summary is worth quoting in full: “Follow Your Passion” is Bad Advice. Here is What You Should Do Instead… In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliche flawed-preexisting passions are rare and have…

Book Review: The Myths of Innovation

The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun Amazon | Official Site Official Summary: the classic bestseller, takes you on a hilarious, fast-paced ride through the history of ideas. You’ll learn to transcend the false stories that deceive many business experts, scientists, and much of pop culture, with history based lessons on how to invent, create and…

Book Review: Frame Innovation

Frame Innovation: Create New Thinking by Design By Kees Dorst Amazon | MIT Press | GoodReads Overview: When organizations apply old methods of problem-solving to new kinds of problems, they may accomplish only temporary fixes or some ineffectual tinkering around the edges. Today’s problems are a new breed-open, complex, dynamic, and networked-and require a radically different response. In…

Book Review: Data Science for Business

Data Science for Business: What you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking By Foster Provost, Tom Fawcett Amazon | O’Reilly Official intro: Written by renowned data science experts Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett, Data Science for Business introduces the fundamental principles of data science, and walks you through the “data-analytic thinking” necessary…

Book Review: Design-Driven Innovation

Design Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean by Roberto Verganti Amazon | Goodreads | Official Site Here’s the official synopsis: Until now, the literature on innovation has focused either on radical innovation pushed by technology or incremental innovation pulled by the market. In “Design-Driven Innovation: How to Compete by Radically…

Book Preview: The Design Way

The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World by Harold G. Nelson, Erik Stolterman Amazon | MIT Press The book turns out to be one of the best books on design I’ve ever read. It’s not a “designer” book – the authors don’t teach you how to design. Instead, the authors discuss the concept of…

Book Review: Message Not Received

Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It by Phil Simon Amazon | Official Site The Bottom Line Get to know your enemy of communication: jargon and email abuse. Noah’s Review The Importance of Communication Well Explained with Funny, Thought-Provoking Stories I doubt it’s possible for anyone to underestimate the importance…

Book Review: Frame Innovation

Bear with cons for pros. Finished the book Frame Innovation recently and despite its boring bits and pieces (with not-so-engaging writing), I’d still recommend it to anyone who has any interest (if at all) in how “design thinking” or “innovation” works. The author is in the (padegogic?) field of Design Research, but he’s also a…

My Interactive Storytelling Book

So finally my Simplified Chinese translation of Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling 2nd Edition will soon be published by Posts & Telecom Press, one of the big-four information industry oriented publishing houses in China. I wouldn’t call the cover design aesthetically satisfying, but I’m not going to kill the cover designer either. I tried to…

The Myth of Telling Stories About Innovators

Just finished reading The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson. The author is surely a very good storyteller, and when stories are told brilliantly well, they become more than stories. The primary premise, it seems, is that no single person instantiates a series of happenings…

Grouped by What? A Review of Paul Adams’ Grouped [Book]

ABSTRACT Paul Adams’ book Grouped offers some interesting quantitative data/results about human behavior, debunks the “tipping point” myth about influentials, and introduces (or should I say, emphasizes) a model of our social web. It has its pros and cons, while the bottom line is that it makes people think. In this post I’ll first try…