What have you been/want to/recommend reading lately?

We all feed our brains in many ways. One of those ways is by reading things that interest us. For this thread, three questions:

  1. What have you been reading lately?
  2. What do you recommend reading?
  3. What do you want to read?

Elaborate if you want to. I’m just starting the thread.

My answers:

  1. Been reading a lot of Mark Twain and William Gibson lately.
  2. I recommend Fast Company, The Atlas of Shrinking Cities, and 79 Short Essays on Design by Michael Bierut (in particular his essay on why it is better to be Peter Keating than Howard Roark), Pattern Recognition, and How We Decide.
  3. I want to read Zero History next, and Design Driven Innovation.
  1. Currently reading At Home by Bill Bryson (history of each room in the house) and rereading A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (ecology)

  2. Flatland. It’s amazing how it’s able to condense everything about human society and multi-dimensionality all through the perspective of a square. I never understood hypercubes so well. Not to mention it’s super relevant even though it was written in 1884.
    For a design book: Things I have Learned in My Life So Far by Stefan Sagmeister, because…duh.

  3. I really want to finish Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges. Super weird/cool stuff.

Went through some challenging times recently and picked up The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Highly recommended for motivation and to remind you that many things in life aren’t worth worrying about.

  1. Just finished “Human, All Too Human”

  2. Recommend: The Art of War (Ralph D Sawyer translation)

  3. Want to read The Oxford Book of Death and the Qu’ran

  1. Just finished the IDEO book “I miss my pencil”- my wife bought it for my birthday and I want their job.

  2. Recommend: “At Home” by Bill Bryson, plus any of his books (esp. “A Short History of Everything”, “Made in America” and “Mother Tongue”.

  3. Want to read: “The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”- I’ve got the “Star Wars” one, lots of detail, great Ralph McQuarrie concept art,.

Great thread! Lots of interesting book recommendations here!

Rather than books I usually read design / philosophy related articles on-line. theDieline package design site has interesting reads coming every now and then.

And Donald Trump`s books have always been a good motivation source for me when having those moments of doubt.
The positive attitude and energy really transfers from the books to the reader and gets you thinking more ambitiously.

A bit of a ‘woo-woo’ alert on this one :wink: but some might enjoy reading : Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives (by Michael Newton)

The last two books I read that I highly recommend - not really design related or anything, just good reads:

  • “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall
    -“Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon

“Born to Run” is a very interesting book on running. I don’t know that it necessarily arrives at any conclusions or even sets out to, but there is a lot of fascinating stuff covered and is a pretty easy read. If nothing else it definitely inspires one to get out there and get running!

“Blue Highways” is basically the ultimate road trip taken by the author about 30 years ago. A lot of his insights into America are sometimes clever, sometimes profound, but always entertaining. Easily one of the best books I’ve ever read!

I’ve been on a Mary Roach reading frenzy…

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - excellent read… my wife couldn’t get past the part when she visited the FBI office where they have decaying human corpses to figure out how long it takes them to decay in certain conditions ie. in the trunk of a car

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - funny and quite sad at the same time

and now I’m on Spook : Science Tackles the Afterlife - this has bee so so for me compared to her others

Before these I read Malcolm Gladwells Blink… my wife had it lying around and I picked it up (yes, I was in the little room) and ended up reading it in about a week great read.

I’m into gettting that Empire Strikes Back book too

edit: really, are we all 3 yr olds so Core77 boards protect us from the word SEX!!!, SEX SEX SEX SEX

Just finished the Bouroullec bros book. Reading another book on Infodesign. And also am going through Hegels work.

Right now I’m reading “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi, a sci-fi novel about a post petroleum world where the petroleum based economy collapses and becomes based on calories.

Also, “The Fine Line” by Hartmut Esslinger, founder of frog.

That’s awesome, I’m reading the Windup Girl too… put it down not more than 15 min before reading your post. It’s good

others on my nightstand are the Mousedriver Chronicles (haven’t touched it yet), My Life in France by Julia Child, a David Aacker book that I feel challenged every time I sit down with it, and a bunch of other branding books I bought but haven’t put the time in yet. I’d like to check out that Innovation X book as well

last book i read was quicksilver by neal stephenson, very historical but in a extremly entertaining way, i like that if a book is educative on the side too.
and the “diamond age”,also by neal stephenson is the book i would recommend, sci fi novel without the known state borders and new technology, just a great book with amazing scenario


That is too funny about Windup Girl, I’m halfway in, it’s pretty good!

I have “Innovation X” by Adam Richardson right under Hartmut’s “A Fine Line”. Adam and I have worked together on two projects here at frog, and facilitated a couple of collaborative working sessions together. He is fantastic. Very thoughtful in his approach.

Just finished Gang Leader for a Day last night: http://www.amazon.ca/Gang-Leader-Day-Sudhir-Venkatesh/dp/1594201501

Great book about mid-'90’s life in the Chicago public housing projects. Amazing how people find ways to organize themselves to take care of things, but depressing how poorly understood the problems of poverty are by the public and politicians. Well written, it reads fast like a novel rather than something academic.

Starting Enigma of Capital http://www.amazon.ca/Enigma-Capital-Crises-Capitalism/dp/0199758719/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288009410&sr=1-1

Marxist analysis of the current economic problems. I’m only at the first chapter, but I’ve been reading and listening to the author, David Harvey, quite a bit lately. Very interesting macro-economic perspective.

The Craftsman http://www.amazon.ca/Craftsman-Prof-Richard-Sennett/dp/0300151195/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288009504&sr=1-1

I finished this about 4 months ago. I’ve been trying to write up a review to post on here, because it was a very enlightening book. There is some valuable looks at how creative organizations have been organized (medieval guilds, stradivarius, etc). Brillant book, but dense. It took me months to get through.

On the shelf: Program or be Programmed, Douglas Rushkoff Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for Digital Age, by Douglas Rushkoff - OR Books

Always exciting when Rushkoff has a new book.

How is “the Craftsman” mr-914? I read “Shop work as soul craft” last year, and wanted to read that as well.

Right now I’ve just started Moshe Safdie’s “Form and Purpose”, from 1980 for fun, but have been reading selections from Berger, Paz, and others pertaining to representation and craft in design for some of my graduate coursework. Octavio Paz discusses industrial design, and contrasts it with the arts and craftsmanship in his poem “Seeing and Using: Art and Craftsmanship”.

I also read “Storytelling for user experience” a few weeks ago, that was a pretty complete manual of the use of story in the design process.

The story of Eames furniture

I can’t believe these books have not come out until just now. Worth every dime to read about the history and process.


Carton: Like I said, very insightful. The author discusses some very different environments for creation, some that I’ve never seen or heard discussed before.

The only downsides are: it is very dense and oriented towards the academic. It’s something that need to read when you have time to really think about what you are reading. Also, the author tosses some left-leaning opinions in at the end. I agreed with him, but you can skip the last chapter and won’t miss anything.

Hmmm, I’ve been called dense in the past, so maybe it’s just the type of book for me… :slight_smile:

I love the knowllege in those kinds of books, I just hate it when I read a page and realize I didn’t understand anything and have to read it all over again! Journals really do that too me too… it’s amazing how deep people go on anything you can possibly imagine. Glad to read this post and hear of new books to put on my list