Books I love

George Lakoff
Don’t Think of an Elephant

This book is an eye opener for anyone struggling to understand nowadays’ political decisions and voters‘ behaviour. By analysing the framing concept in political discourse, it creates a link between cognitive science and politics. Reading it also gave me insight on my own worldview, why it may differ from people around me and the role my family played in shaping it.

Kathy Sierra
Badass: Making Users Awesome

Developer Kathy Sierra explains why companies should care about the results users achieve by using their products and how they can help users become experts. A truly user-focused marketing and design approach. I recommend this book to people interested in psychological concepts behind product development like learning, motivation and appreciation.

Jeff Gothelf
Lean UX

Gothelf’s book appeared to me as a summary of all good blogposts about product and UX design I had read so far. This makes his book an essential piece in every designer’s library. The most useful suggestions I took away from this book: Declare your assumptions, work towards outcomes rather than outputs, and establish a “test everything” culture.

Tom & David Kelley
Creative Confidence

There is barely a book I found more practical, inspiring and encouraging for both my personal and professional life. It brings clarity to the myth around creativity and innovation and describes techniques to (re)gain creative confidence backed by stories from the authors’ times at IDEO and d.school. My main takeaway: Creativity starts with acknowledging that everyone can be creative, but it’s worthless without taking action.

Dale Carnegie
How to win friends and influence people

This is not a design book and yet it reveals so many truths about people, it would easily qualify as such. It demonstrates that thinking from other people’s point of view is key to successful relationships, that everyone just wants to feel important and that the only way to make people do something is to make them want it. Although the title might suggest that the book is about manipulation, it’s really a guide to both better design work and a happier life.

Intercom on
Jobs-to-be-Done

Pioneered by Clayton Christensen and Anthony Ulwick, Intercom took the jobs-to-be-done approach, adapted it to digital product design and wrote about their findings on their excellent blog. People who regularly read their blog won’t find something completely new in this ebook, but it does the job of putting all the knowledge in a short, comprehensive format. And it’s free!

Erika Hall
Just Enough Research

Erika Hall offered a short but complete perspective on design research and brought forgotten methods back to my mind, like SWOT analysis and brand audit I used during my marketing studies. I found the chapter ‘Analysis and Models’ particularly useful for my work: Here she explains step by step how to translate observations into insights and design actions.

Mike Monteiro
Design Is A Job

If you enjoy watching Mike Monteiro frankly speaking about how the design world really works – this is just one example – you will love his honest lessons and anecdotes he collected in this book. They gave me useful answers for my first client project as well as new perspectives on fields beyond design, such as building confidence, communicating with others and leading projects.

Steve Krug
Don’t Make Me Think

A true classic and must-read for UX beginners. In 13 chapters, Steve Krug leads through his guiding usability principles and gives hands-on advice for the most common challenges in web and mobile interface design. I found this mix especially helpful to have a list of rules to hand, but also to get an idea of how each principle might look like implemented in the real world. And finally you learn why user research doesn't need to be expensive.