- The Visual Display of Quantitative Information - Edward Tufte
Essential for information designers and UI designers.
- Hot Text: Web Writing that Works - Lisa and Jonathan Price
Good for the before/after examples.
- Integrating Around the Job to be Done - Clayton Christensen
- Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software - Eric Evans
Essential if you work on complex software projects. Which is basically all of them.
- The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution - Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor
Christensen is famous for 'disruption' -- but he has a lot of other key ideas you should learn too. Especially targeting non-consumption, integrated vs. modular design, and thinking of a business as resources, priorities and processes.
- Notes on the Synthesis of Form - Christopher Alexander
The first half beautifully explains the design process. Don't bother with the formalism in the second half.
- Test-Driven Development by Example - Kent Beck
Good whether or not you actually want to do TDD. It's useful for insight on how to scope and structure work.
- Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns - Kent Beck
An exposure to the small-method / declarative style you see good Ruby programmers use.
- Scientific Advertising - Claude Hopkins
The most essential book you can read on advertising.
- The Process of Creating Life - Christopher Alexander
A bit far out, but inspiring and an effective antidote against the tendency we all have to make "master plans." Also interesting thoughts on the pitfalls of modularity and high-level components.
- Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction - David Lee
If writing makes you wonder about language and perception, cognitive linguistics offers useful models. This book is a short and readable introduction. To go deeper check out Ronald Langacker's Introduction to Cognitive Grammar.
- Ecological Approach to Visual Perception - J.J. Gibson
This guy invented the UI term "affordance." Digesting this book will give you new intuitions about perception and what it means to be a "user."
- The Way Things Are - Lama Ole Nydahl
A modern primer on the mind, happiness and human potential according to the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
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