Reading makes you think

In my last post I meant to include a bit of what I’ve been reading lately. I’m not the world’s quickest reader by any means (mainly for lack of time I dedicate to it) but recently I’ve been on a bit of a geeky brain-food book kick.

  • Interaction Design – This is basically a text book and pretty dry at times, but was a great primer on Interaction Design and the concepts that go into it. Task models, concept models, metaphors, patterns, usability, research, metrics… Sounds thrilling, I know, but I needed it.
  • Founders at Work – This book was much more engrossing and inspiring than I expected. Most all of the stories from the early tech startups to some of the modern-day winners were fascinating. There were only a couple times I found myself uninterested, mainly when I couldn’t relate to a given founder. “I retired from Company A at 30 years-old and took my millions to found XYZ.com with these three other rich guys…”. But overall it was a great book and I’d highly recommend it.
  • Designing Interactions – Unlike the first book which was more instruction/reference, this book is chock full of real world examples, case-studies and interviews with pioneers in the wide world of “interaction”. I’m poking through it slowly, but the stories are a great compliment to the practical how/what that’s fresh in my mind. You can watch a number of interview video snippets on the website here. The book also came with a DVD containing them all.
  • Everything is Miscellaneous – Lasty, I’m a little over halfway through this book. I have very mixed feelings about it so far and will reserve judgement until I’m finished. At times it’s a fascinating look at the history and evolution of information organization (in the current style of “pop non-fiction” ala Gladwell, [fill-in-the-blank]-onomics, etc.), and relates it all to everyday examples of classification such as sorting the silverware in your kitchen drawer, or Staples stores. This is where the book shines. But at other times Weinberger jumps to some strange conclusions which seem under-researched and mis-understood. I’ll be finished shortly and will follow up with more in-depth thoughts.

Next on my plate are two books by Chucks. For a shift in direction from the somewhat tech/design-heavy above, I picked up the new Chuck Klosterman book, and the new new Chuck Palahniuk novel.

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