Readin’ With Joe

March 2, 2015

Last week, the Fast Horse learning committee announced some new efforts to encourage continued education for our employees this year. This is an extremely cool piece of news for me, and I love that I’m surrounded by folks who are interested in expanding their brains, exploring new ideas and honing their skills. The precious free time I have — when I’m not on a bike or destroying delicious food — is spent reading.

I love to read industry-specific material, but on occasion I branch out to philosophy and speculative fiction. I’d like to provide a few recommendations that might fuel your interest in my little corner of the interwebs — design & development — or appeal to a broader sensibility. Please don’t hesitate to provide your personal reviews or recommendations in the comments.

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You’re My Favorite Client
By Mike Monteiro

Monteiro has become a singular, loud and emphatic voice in the design community. Often putting into simple terms the ideas and concepts that are always on the tips of our tongues, he makes solid arguments that designers are indispensable in any industry — and should be treated as more than just ‘creative types’ who make things pretty. Beyond that, he describes how a client relationship can go well or horribly wrong. This book may broaden your perspective of the role of designers in today’s world, or it may validate feelings you’ve had for a long time.

The publisher, A Book Apart, has a variety of other offerings on topics ranging from responsive development to content strategy. You really can’t lose with any of them.

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Making Things Special: Tech Leadership from the Trenches
By Hilliel Cooperman

I was skeptical of this book at first, because its creation was crowd-sourced. Once I reconciled, very logically, that big publishers don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and not all published books contain good ideas, it was easy to hit ‘add to cart’ on this item. It proved to be a good choice. This book makes convincing points regarding the structure of organizations in terms of decision-making, and how user experience should be at the heart of every consideration. If you work in the tech industry and care about UX, this is a must-read.

 

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo (Author)

Do you pick up a new hobby every 4 years, become completely enveloped by it, go crazy on amazon and then realize you simply filled a room full of stuff with nowhere to go? This book is for you. There is nothing as satisfying as decluttering, and even if you already feel guilty about your life then rest assured reading this book will allow you to condense 4-5 thrift store donation trips into 1 couch reading session.

 

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American Gods
By Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is one of the best writers of his generation. His list of published works includes children’s books and comic books, in addition to novels. He has pushed the boundaries of both conventional literary fiction as well as speculative fiction, and he often combines the two to achieve a greater result. “American Gods”is a great introduction to his work, and it’s going to be a TV show someday (fingers crossed) so read it now before it’s too late!