Part memoir, part management book, part history lesson, Creativity Inc is a somewhat meandering account of how Ed Catmull, the founder and President of Pixar turned a love for storytelling and a fascination with Disney into a career in computer science, became the leader one of the most notably creative and productive companies in the world, and eventually became the President of Disney Animation, where he helped the company he once idolized return to its former glory.
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.
Buy-ology is summary of a series of fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) tests designed to test the effectiveness of modern marketing techniques, as well as some traditional marketing axioms. He also tackles some interesting topics like the similarities between brands and religion, subliminal advertising, and why scents may become the logos of the future.
Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide is a dissection of the unconscious systems we use to make decisions. He takes us through the impossibly complex system of rewards that form our emotional decision making system and ultimately make us supremely efficient decision makers, even if it seems like we make bad decisions all the time. Awareness (I won’t say understanding) of these systems is incredibly enlightening for designers.