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Need book recommendations, if you've got it.

My goal for the next year is to ask all my friends, colleagues and coworkers for a book I should listen to (via audio book) or read. I'm looking for a change in perspective. If you have something that's a movie or video documentary I should watch, feel free to recommend it as well, as this list is not limited to books. Here is a list I'm currently working through.

What Would Google Do (Recommended by Justin Thorp) Done
The World Without Us (Recommended by Josh Welsh) Done
The Art of Innovation (Recommended by Jim Lane) Done

Margin of Safety Risk (Recommended by Ali Madad) 10% Complete
Botany of Desire (Recommended by Josh Welsh) watched the video
The Long Emergency (Recommended by Josh Welsh)
In Defense of Food (Recommended by Josh Welsh) 20% Complete
Godel, Escher, Bach (Recommended by Dave Schoonover and Phil Smith)
The Pixar Touch (Recommended by Justin Thorp)
Proust was a Neuroscientist (Recommended by Sarah Macey)
Kitchen Confidential (Recommended by Dylan Green and Justin Thorp) Done
Homo Ludens (Phil Smith)
Guns, Germs, and Steel (Recommended by Phil Smith and Dave Schoonover)
Blood Meridian (Recommended by Will Meyer)
Empire Falls (Recommended by Will Meyer)
Getting Things Done (Recommended by Jim Lane)
The Original Dune Series (Recommended by Jim Lane)
Everything is Miscellaneous (Recommended by Jim Lane)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Recommended by Jim Lane)
Ben Franklin: The completed Autobiography (Recommended by Jim Lane)
The Power of Unreasonable People (Recommended by Jim Lane)
Short Stories (Recommended by Jim Lane)
The Elegant Universe (Recommended by Jim Lane)
Ambient Findability (Recommended by Jim Lane)
Sketching User Experiences, Bill Buxton (Recommended by Jon Fukuda)
Don't Make Me Think (Recommended by Jon Fukuda)
Designers Don't Read, Austin Howe (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
The Shadow of the Sun, Ryszard Kapuscinski (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
Cradle to Cradle, McDonough, Braungart (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
Clock Of The Long Now, Stewart Brand (Recommended by Dan Johnston)
1491, Charles C. Mann (Recommended by Dan Johnston)

I will update this list, followed by posts with some of my notes. Thanks for sharing!

8 comments:

B. Phillip Smith said...

Great list... guess we're similar in preferring the non-fiction titles. Haven't been reading books as much as I should lately but here are a few ideas:

Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture - (fascinating examples of how play is a fundamental component of civilization.)

Guns, Germs, and Steel - (really makes you understand *why* eurasian civilizations have dominated the world - more due to coincidences of environment than anything else)

The Design of Everyday Things - (Betting you've read this already, but will list it anyway)

Godel Escher Bach is mindblowing... reminds me that I should re-read it.

Justin Thorp said...

+1 for Kitchen Confidential. The audiobook is especially awesome.

will said...

Get some modern American fiction in there! Two very different but great books: Blood Meridian (Cormack McCarthy) and Empire Falls (Richard Russo). Though the plot summary of blood meridian will likely make it not sound like your cup of tea (I rejected recommendations to read it for years because of this), and its pretty brutal, it deserves its rep as one of the best books of the century (20th). Much more significant than "the road" or "no country for old men" (two other books of his that have been made into movies), and generally just mind-blowing writing (like Faulkner that you can actually get through). Empire Falls is totally different, but also wonderfully written. Recommending them because they are pretty prolific authors so if you like either there is more to be had.

jeffwongdesign said...

Wow! Thanks for the recommendation guys! I am really looking forward to reading them. I'll be honest, I never read any of these... it's all new. I'm just trying to catch up on life and get a taste of the good stuff. Thanks for sharing guys! This is wonderful. (updating my blog with your recommendations now)

Jim Lane said...

A somewhat random list, happy reading:

Getting Things Done (I derived my email system from this book...)

The original Dune series (the first two and last two books of the series are awesome; God Emporer can be a slog but worth it)

Everything is Miscellaneous (Weinberger, it's on my desk when you want to read it)

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell; or, just reading anything by Campbell, he was a wonderful author)

Ben Franklin: The Compleated Autobiography (part 1 by Franklin and part 2 by Skousen, a distant cousin of mine; part 2 is fascinating and covers events with which most folks are more familiar)

The Power of Unreasonable People (Elkington, on your desk)

Short Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Search for the Ultimate Theory (Greene, kinda mind blowing and fun)

Ambient Findability (Morville)

Dan Johnston said...

Jeff! Check out these too, if you haven't already:

Designers Don't Read - Austin Howe
The Shadow of the Sun - Ryszard Kapuscinski
Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism - Various
Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design - Various
Cradle to Cradle - McDonough, Braungart

Clock Of The Long Now - Stewart Brand (Haven't actually read this, but the clock is so fascinating!)

If you liked Guns, Germs & Steel, def also check out:
1491 - Charles C. Mann

Here is another list like yours with links to even MORE lists! Happy reading!
http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/002879.php

Dan Johnston said...

Oops, forgot to say if you're looking for films as well, this is the best list of them I've ever seen:

http://truefilms.com/

jeffwongdesign said...

oh man! nice! thanks for the recommendations! i'm going to update my list. thanks!

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