Resources

A few books I love about design, creativity, and productivity.

The Design of Everyday Things

Don Norman

“Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious — even liberating — book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. … The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible.”

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Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things

Don Norman

“Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? … Emotional Design articulates the profound influence of the feelings that objects evoke, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow.”

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Living with Complexity

Don Norman

“If only today’s technology were simpler! It’s the universal lament, but it’s wrong. We don’t want simplicity. Simple tools are not up to the task. The world is complex; our tools need to match that complexity. Simplicity turns out to be more complex than we thought. … It’s not complexity that’s the problem, it’s bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.”

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The Design of Future Things

Don Norman

“A fascinating look at the perils and promise of the intelligent objects of the future, The Design of Future Things is a must-read for anyone interested in the dawn of a new era in technology.”

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Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web (and Mobile) Usability

Steve Krug

A fun introduction to User experience (UX), Don’t Make Me Think is a joy to read. It’s short, illustrated, and there’s useful insight on almost every page.

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Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

Steve Krug

“Anyone who’s done them—or even just watched one—knows that usability tests work. … they’re the single best way to improve the user experience of a product. Rocket Surgery is a how-to book for doing your own usability tests… quickly and easily.”

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Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness

Ingrid Fetell Lee

“In Joyful, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how the mundane spaces and objects we interact with every day have surprising and powerful effects on our mood. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, she explains why one place makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters delight and sharing — and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.”

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On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

William Zinsser

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Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Austin Kleon

“A New York Times best-selling manifesto for creativity in the digital age.”

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Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Austin Kleon

“If Steal was a book about stealing influence from others, Show is about influencing others by letting them steal from you.”

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Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

Austin Kleon

“The world is crazy. Creative work is hard. How do you keep going?” In Keep Going, Austin shows you how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself.

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Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Cal Newport

“One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results. … Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep—spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.”

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Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Cal Newport

“Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital Minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It’s the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.”

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A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload

Cal Newport

“There was a time when tools like email felt cutting edge, but a thorough review of current evidence reveals that the “hyperactive hive mind” workflow they helped create has become a productivity disaster, reducing profitability and perhaps even slowing overall economic growth. Equally worrisome, it makes us miserable. Humans are simply not wired for constant digital communication.”

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The Time-Block Planner: A Daily Method for Deep Work in a Distracted World

Cal Newport

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Feck Perfuction

James Victore

Feck Perfuction is about living and creating freely, without the stress of others’ expectations or even your own thoughts about being perfect.”