Blink is a book about “thinking without thinking” but really, it’s about how the vast majority of thinking works. The insight in this book is especially useful when dealing with people who aren’t particularly well equipped to discuss their subconscious reactions to something relatively subjective…like design.
Linchpin is the book that pulls together a lot of threads that Seth Godin has laid out there in the past, in books like Purple Cow, Tribes, and The Dip. Linchpin tells you, in no uncertain terms, that these things aren’t about brands or leadership or challenges, but about love. Really, this book is a love letter to loving your work.
This book is an golden oldie. It’s important to remember that this book was written not only a long time ago (Published March, 1997…so you know it was written sometime in 1996) but also very early into the history of the World Wide Web. It’s important to remember the context in which this book was written so that you can take some of the particular pieces of information with a grain of salt. And, since you can routinely find it on the shelves of Half Price Books for a couple of bucks, I hardily endorse it.
This hour-ish episode of Critical Path is basically listening in semi-real-time as a market and technology analyst has a revelation about the nature and meaning of the word Brand. It’s always interesting to hear an outsider’s perspective on the thing that we do, and this particular outsider is particularly insightful and relentlessly analytical.
Merlin Mann is a productivity guru that wants you to stop worrying about rearranging deck chairs and start finding the time and focus to do your best creative work. He’s funny, zany, and prone to a really obtuse but ultimately insightful analogy. He’s internet-famous for things like Inbox Zero and The Hipster PDA; but he’s also way awesomer than that.
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People is a list of all the bits of psychology that they should be teaching in design school. It’s neatly organized, easy to refer to, and easily the best $30 I’ve spent on books in the last few years. If you’re even remotely interested in improving the effectiveness of your designs through an understanding of cognition, this is a great place to start.
A Smile in the Mind is an in-depth examination of the use of wit in graphic design. It’s also a cogent argument for wit as a technique for building mnemonic value. “The Gag” as I used to call it (before I learned fancy words like “mnemonic”) is a valuable tool in the job box in any good designer’s brain, and with good reason. A Smile in the Mind puts concrete names and concepts behind the hunches we all have about the most popular way to make things memorable.
American Trademarks: A Compendium is just that, a compendium of trademarks from Blik and Tyler’s previous books, Trademarks of the 20’s and 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and 60’s and 70’s. This book collects them all in one place, but also includes a series of fantastic essays by a dozen or so trademark design luminaries.