Design Book Notes

On Writing Well

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

RATING: 10/10

A simple guide to find your own voice and write like a human being. Whenever fear creeps in and I don’t write, I reference this book.


Don't Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

RATING: 9/10

Filled with numerous examples, Don’t Make Me Think guides you along the path of designing a useful “thoughtless” website.

Picture This

Picture This by Molly Bang

RATING: 9/10

Why does red feel more passionate and alive than purple? Why do diagonal lines give motion to a picture? Why does a light background feel safer than a dark background? These are some of the many questions Molly tackles in this very clear, memorable, and fun read.

Moviemakers Master Class

Moviemakers Master Class by Laurent Tirard

RATING: 9/10

My favorite book on directing. It features interviews with 20 Legendary filmmakers on their craft from Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, The Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Jean-Luc Goddard, and many others.

Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by Dan Norman

RATING: 8/10

Basic Principles of Design. Some parts are dry, but overall a great read to understand designing usability for everyday objects.


Culturematic by Grant McCracken

RATING: 8/10

An exploration of the culture change from Reality TV, Burning Man, Starbucks’ Third Space, Pie Lab, to the Old Spice Man Commercial. This book does a great job of making sense how and whey we got to our current culture combined with practical how-to advice. With a general theme urging for continual experimentation and constantly asking “what if…” Culturematic offers a sobering view culturally of where we are going and how to thrive in uncertain times.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

RATING: 7/10

The man, the myth, the legend…Steve Jobs. If you haven’t read much into the life of Job’s life, you’re in for a page turner. A solid bio by Isaacson.

Design for the Real World

Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek

RATING: 7/10

Viktor Papanek’s classic book on sustainable design. The second edition was published in 1985, so many of the concepts are dated, but nonetheless still provides a solid foundation for sustainable design.

Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become

Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become by Michael Schrage

RATING: 7/10

The title says it all: Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?–All business, marketing, and design decisions should stem from this foundational question. Includes numerous examples throughout. The book is short and to the point. How Business books should be.

Design Revolution

Design Revolution by Emily Pilloton

RATING: 7/10

Great book of sustainable design porn which inspires you to create more than just beautiful objects. The first part includes essays by Allan Cochinov ( and by Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H Design. Calls for us to think about what we are designing, not just how.