Watchlist: Books

Suggestions for a well-rounded library: 10 books to check out and dive into.

Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow's Customers

by Jan Chipchase with Simon Steinhardt

Hidden in Plain Sight by global innovation consultant Jan Chipchase with Simon Steinhardt is a fascinating look at how consumers think and behave. Chipchase, named by Fortune as “one of the 50 smartest people in tech,” has traveled the world, studying people of all nations and their habits, paying attention to the ordinary things that we do every day and how they effect our buying decisions. Future-focused and provocative, Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow's Customers illuminates exactly what drives consumers to make the choices they do, and demonstrates how all types of businesses can learn to see—and capitalize upon—what is hidden in plain sight today to create businesses tomorrow.”

Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

by Ethan Zuckerman

“In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider technology’s role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world. For those who seek a wider picture—a picture now critical for survival in an age of global economic crises and pandemics—Zuckerman highlights the challenges, and the headway already made, in truly connecting people across cultures. [...]Rich with Zuckerman’s personal experience and wisdom, Rewire offers a map of the social, technical and policy innovations needed to more tightly connect the world.”

Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

by Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn

Unbored is the guide and activity book every modern kid needs. Vibrantly designed, lavishly illustrated, brilliantly walking the line between cool and constructive, it's crammed with activities that are not only fun and doable but also designed to get kids engaged with the wider world. [...] Just as kids begin to disappear into their screens, here is a book that encourages them to use those tech skills to be creative, try new things, and change the world. And it encourages parents to participate. Contributors include Mark Frauenfelder of MAKE magazine; author Kio Stark; Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man; Douglas Rushkoff, renowned media theorist; Geoff Manaugh, author of BLDGBLOG; John Edgar Park, a CG supervisor at DisneyToon Studios; and Jean Railla, founder of and Etsy consultant.”

It Will Be Exhilarating: Indie Capitalism and Design Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

by Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt

“There is no recipe for passion, no 5-step guide to making your idea real, but there is good, solid advice, and this book is filled with it.” says Clay Shirky in the book’s foreword. “It Will Be Exhilarating presents the story of two designers, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost, who started a small design company through two successful product launches on Kickstarter, the Glif and the Cosmonaut, and in turn paved the way for a new era of independent hardware manufacturing. This book was written to offer guidance and inspiration for those charting a similar path, and covers topics such as running a small business, creating hardware products independently, launching a Kickstarter project and tips for promoting your products._ Studio Neat _have learned a lot in the short time they’ve been in business, and everything is told through the lens of their own experience. It Will Be Exhilarating is a short read that will provide the needed kick to start making stuff. There isn't a better time than now.”

Shareable Futures: The Future Reclaimed as a Commons

by Shareable Magazine

A sci-fi anthology featuring contributions from Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, Douglas Rushkoff, Paolo Bacigalupi, Benjamin Rosenbaum and more, _Shareable Futures _is the first in a series of stories that reclaim our future from the hands of over-consumption and global debts of all kinds. “The future belongs to everyone, or it should—and, indeed, the future is much more difficult to enclose than other commons.” Shareable defines ‘the commons’ as “anything that no one owns but everyone can access and use, [that] requires intention and cooperation to maintain, lest we use them up. In other words, all the commons need people to care about them. They need cultivation. [...] We cultivate the commons of the future through stories. The future is, in fact, just a collection of stories that we tell each other. The more and the better stories we tell—and the more people we tell them to—the more we strengthen the commons of the future.”

A History of Future Cities

by Daniel Brook

“Every month, five million people move from the past to the future. Pouring into developing-world ‘instant cities’ like Dubai and Shenzhen, these urban newcomers confront a modern world cobbled together from fragments of a West they have never seen. In a captivating blend of history and reportage, Daniel Brook travels to a series of major metropolitan hubs that were once themselves instant cities—St. Petersburg, Shanghai and Mumbai—to watch their ‘dress rehearsals for the 21st century.’ Understanding today’s emerging global order, he argues, requires comprehending the West’s profound and conflicted influence on developing-world cities over the centuries.[...] A fascinating, vivid look from the past out toward the horizon, _A History of Future Cities _is both a crucial reminder of globalization’s long march and an inspiring look into the possibilities of our Asian Century.”

Firm Commitment: Why the Corporation is Failing Us and How to Restore Trust in it

by Colin Mayer

Firm Commitment provides a lucid and insightful account of the role of the corporation in modern society and explains why its problems are growing. It gives a fresh perspective on the crises in financial markets, developing countries and the environment. Based on decades of analysis and research, it describes a new approach to thinking about the firm which not only stops it destroying us but turns it into the means of protecting our environment, addressing social problems and creating new sources of entrepreneurship and innovation. It sets out an agenda for converting the corporation into a 21st century organization that we will value and trust. It takes you on a journey that starts in the Galapagos, ends in Ancient Egypt and in the process brings you to a new level of appreciation of the economic world we inhabit.”

Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity

by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn

“The next big idea in business is ‘simple.’ For decades, Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn have championed simplicity as a competitive advantage and a consumer right. In Simple, the culmination of their work together, Siegel and Etzkorn show how having empathy, striving for clarity and distilling your message can reduce the distance between company and customer, hospital and patient, government and citizen—and increase your bottom line. Examining the best and worst practices of an array of organizations big and small-including the IRS, Google, Philips, Trader Joe's, Chubb Insurance, ING Direct and many more—Siegel and Etzkorn recast simplicity as a mindset, a design aesthetic and a writing technique. By exposing the overly complex things we encounter every day, Simple reveals the reasons we allow confusion to persist, inspires us to seek clarity and explores how social media is empowering consumers to demand simplicity.”

Future Practice

by Rory Hyde

In his new book, Future Practice, architect Rory Hyde explores the emergent roles for his fellow architects in the 21st century. “Designers around the world are eagerly carving out opportunities for new kinds of engagement, new kinds of collaboration, new kinds of design outcomes and new kinds of practice; overturning the inherited assumptions of the design professions. This book presents 17 conversations with practitioners from the fields of architecture, policy, activism, design, education, research, history, community engagement and more, each representing an emergent role for designers to occupy. Whether the ‘civic entrepreneur,’ the ‘double agent,’ or the ‘strategic designer,’ this book offers a diverse spectrum of approaches to design, each offering a potential future for architectural practice.”

Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking

by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander

“Analogy is the core of all thinking.” This is the simple but unorthodox premise that Pulitzer Prize–winning author Douglas Hofstadter and French psychologist Emmanuel Sander defend in their new work, Surfaces and Essences. Constantly faced with a “swirling and intermingling multitude of ill-defined situations,” how does our brain make sense of the chaos? Hofstadter and Sander propose the answer is ‘analogy-making,’ which they posit is “the lifeblood and the wellsprings of thought. Analogy-making, far from happening at rare intervals, occurs at all moments, defining thinking from top to toe, from the tiniest and most fleeting thoughts to the most creative scientific insights.[...] By revealing bit by bit the constantly churning cognitive mechanisms normally completely hidden from view, and by discovering in them one central, invariant core—the incessant, unconscious quest for strong analogical links to past experiences—this book puts forth a radical and deeply surprising new vision of the act of thinking.”

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