All posts tagged books

  • I’d be shunned by Schön right now

    One of the big differences between school and work for me is I have less time to reflect on my work. Instead of the teacher asking you ‘why’ and wanting to hear your answer, you get more of people asking ‘why’ as an opener for their idea. I’ve been working on this project lately and realizing how little mental space I give to let things settle. It’s like when you’re at a party and there aren’t enough flat surfaces to put down your cup. I was reading about a group of designers who wanted to try bring academia and practice closer together so that the research and inspirations from the academic world aren’t so far away from what people are doing at work. I thought it was a neat and a worthwhile project….and then it got lost in a bunch of email and other work.

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  • Take a look, it’s in a book

    In the beautiful wisdom of of the Reading Rainbow theme song, I’d like to invite you all to take a look, because it’s in a book. A reading rainbow.

    Something magical happened that will change my life for the better ever after.

    I learned that I can borrow audiobooks from the San Francisco library from an app on my phone. Everyone: This is revolutionary for an audiobook fiend like myself. Like a junky, I have spent nearly a year trying to get by on my one measly Audible audiobook a month subscription plan (that I used my adult money to finally subscribe too) and filled in the rest of my days with podcasts (not the worst, but just sayin’). When I discovered that I could borrow audiobooks from the library digitally, I was beside myself with joy. I’ve told nearly everyone I’ve met about it even though they don’t really care. I can get nearly all the books I want directly into my hearing holes! ::TEARS::. (I have already read 10 books since January 1).

    The very first book I checked out? Between the World and Me—they had it! It’s been on my to-read list for over a year now and I was so excited. This is a beautiful, beautiful book that should be on everyone’s to-read. It reads like poetry and I’m so glad I got to hear his story. If you only read one book this year (why would you do that though?), this might be it.

    When I finished, it happened to be February 1st and my app was recommending a bunch of other similar books…oh wait, it was Black History Month. As a terrible human who doesn’t do nearly enough to help others on this unforgiving planet, I thought maybe one small way I could understand someone else’s life was to read books by black authors this month (although it took a little longer to finish them). I realized that I have been reading so many non-fiction science/psychology books lately and haven’t really dove into stories in a while.

    Every bookworm will tell you, books are window into another life. It’s one of the few ways to immerse yourself in another’s experiences and feelings. It’s really incredible how powerful books can be. I haven’t read a huge diversity of authors besides White Dudes so I thought this was the perfect nudge in that direction. I have this belief that if you read and feel for another person’s experience it just has to change how you act in the world. I wonder what kind of story needs to be told in order to change someone’s mind. Statistics are great and help us make hard decisions. But the humanities keep us human.

    Here are the books I read:


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  • 5: books James Victore recommends


    Pretty diverse set, no? I want to give couple of them try. But he’s right about me not wanting to read Ralph’s again. I really agree that it’s our immersion in the world that helps make us diverse and strong designers.

    James Victore, for those of you new to the scene, is a graphic designer I admire. I’ve written about him a couple of times.

  • PHAMETRICS // 27


    School’s back. Full-swing. And it’s very swingy. Unstable, in fact.

    (Photo of a group outing of our design cohort)

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  • 10: Most influential books

    I saw someone complete this challenge on Facebook and as an English-major-for-life I was super intrigued. This is not your run-of-the-mill spam chain. This is book business!

    I started at the bottom and then I decided to list them all before I kept writing about them and now, looking over this list, it looks a little…artificial. So I want to explain my decisions and why maybe these big-name books opened the door to so many other books.

    While I was making this list I tried not to just think about “favorite books” (though of course there’s overlap) but really address the question: influential. What books changed me? Changed the way I looked at the world? At myself? Which set off a chain of reactions? Influenced my interests? In order to think about these questions, many of the books ended up being ones that I read when I was younger so that I could actually reflect on the how they changed me.

    Plus, I guess, I do read a lot of canonical works.

    I usually also forgo ranking system on Laziness Principles, but I’m actually going to try to rank them! I would love to hear your most influential books too.

    Bear with me guys, my most influential books:

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  • What I’m reading over winter break…


    So. Excited.

    1. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
      (non-fiction, neuroscience)
    2. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
      (non-fiction, social science)
    3. How to Do Things with Language by JL Austin
      (non-fiction, language philosophy)
    4. Things That Make Us Smart: Defending human attributes in the age of machines by Donald Norman
      (non-fiction, design)
    5. Crime & Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
      (fiction, Russian classic)
    6. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
      (new fiction, distopia?)
  • PHAMETRICS // 19


  • Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs

    Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs is amazing. He creates a story and leads you through Jobs’ life in a way that feels so natural at times you forget you’re reading a biography. The story is already incredible, but I think Isaacson’s control of the story was brilliant. I highly recommend it. I know that it’s been a year now and nearly everyone has already read it, but I finally got my hands on a copy and it was so worth it.

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  • Imagine: How Creativity Works (CHECK)

    I just finished the designer’s sweet heart book of the moment: Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. And if you couldn’t tell by all the sticky notes peeking out in this picture, I liked it quite a bit. Heaven knows I don’t need anything help being even more idealistic. But surprise, I read it anyway and am involuntarily inspired. ::jazz hands::

    From the point I initially heard about it on the99percent to the time I actually held the book in my hands, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it. When it was first mentioned I was like yesallofthetimeplease—a book about the neurological process and trends of imagination?! On being creative? And as it was stewing on the back burner I kept hearing it mentioned more and more and became skeptical. I was starting to get jaded by all of the talks telling people to do this or that in order to A or B. A lot of anecdotes and designers in sharp outfits shrugging and saying emphatically “…and then it all just happened, for me. All of it.” I watched a lot of videos and read scads more articles and afterwards felt like “grit” and “creativity” were just new buzz words floating around the design community.

    After a brief hiatus I watched this video.

    Jonah Lehrer: The Origins of Creative Insight & Why You Need Grit from 99% on Vimeo.

    Alright, sold. I order the book that same day.

    It’s not a self-help book. It’s not a manual. Or, at least it didn’t feel like it to me. It was just a really enjoyable collection of studies and stories about creativity. In the same way that Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophilia isn’t a manual for being a musician (or, like his other books aren’t teaching you to think your spouse is a hat….). That isn’t to say you won’t be inspired by the ideas in the book and ruminate on the things you’ve read during your next project. While reading it, I kept writing to my creative friends (helllllloooo fellow humanity majors!) being like “Hey, this is you!” and considering my own creative process.

    I ate up the beginning chapters about insight & epiphanies with a ladle. Adored reading about the dynamics of Pixar, reflecting on the co-working space my office is in and lamenting over my wall-flower nature.

    I was especially moved by Lehrer’s description of WK12, NOOCA, and High Tech High. Things that Jacklynn loves = education. As someone who has always cherished going to school, it made me re-think about what my school was like. In these schools students focus on the creativity as a vocation. “Ideas have value.” Lehrer explains the supreme important of free play for toddlers, for being allowed to be curious and creative through out our childhood and adolescence, in fact. Nurturing exploration and imagination as much as we do athletes in way the encourages thoughtfulness as a skill just as much as we celebrate physical prowess. I was fortunate enough to always see my classes as a launching pad and was always able to extract to value in learning about “when a ship sailed somewhere,” err…at the very least I was just excited to learn about it as anything else.

    Thinking about it makes me restless. I know it’s absurd, but I want everyone to read the book and collectively start appreciating artistic pursuits. Being creative will lead to innovations in any field, sciences include, people!

    But I’m not going to try to summarize the book here, I will just recommend it to you.