Best Reads: March 2016

My five star reads of last month:

The Design of Everyday ThingsThe Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think there is really only one gif to sum this book up properly:

This book, although the examples are dated (as listed in nearly every review), is quite fabulous. The original title was actually “The Psychology of Everyday Things” which was less friendly to the average person, but quite accurate.

Like I said in a previous update, I feel like this book should be required reading for any type of designer, but somehow I had missed it until now. Great detail about design methodologies, constraints, and psychology – but not too much to be overwhelming (in my opinion). The examples, while dated, were still quite excellent (assuming you were born pre-2000s but hey you can google things). Since I listened to the audiobook (on Hoopla) I missed out on the diagrams which is disappointing, so I think I recommend reading the actual book. (However, I quite enjoyed the narrator, Peter Berkrot.)

I think that the younger generations (like myself or maybe this is just applicable no matter the period in history) assume that older people or even people their own age who don’t understand technology are dumb. I know I’ve felt that. While working in a game dev company, we often expressed how stupid our users were, because things seemed obvious to us. It was great to hear his thoughts on how it’s not your fault you can’t figure something out, it’s the designer’s. I think anyone who has ever made something needs to hear that. You made it, you have a mental model of how it works, of course it seems intuitive to you. He also goes into the difficulties designers face in getting to a good design and the struggle to keep a good design from being changed along the way.

I do think there were a few times he oversimplified things as far as challenges designers face, but overall he seemed to take a fair stance. It was especially fascinating to hear his “theories” on what computers would become (this was written in ’88) and compare them to what HAS happened so far. He’s often quite spot on, though I’m not sure how many of those things he helped MAKE happen. 😉

BLAH BLAH BLAH, IT’S GOOD. If you’re a designer, a must read. If you aren’t, it may be a little dense but still worth it if you’re interested. Definitely will at least help you figure out how to look out for good design in the products you buy.



The 7 Habits of Highly Effective FamiliesThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Getting through this book was very difficult for me. Not because the content was bad, just because it was very…dense. (Also because I’m bad at reading.) If I was reading very meticulously as I am wont to do, I could only manage a couple pages before my brain was saturated. I think, honestly, it could’ve done with quite a few less stories and examples, and there were definitely times I felt like though something was quite interesting, it wasn’t really necessary. You can tell the guy is very well-learned and…maybe wants to show it. Nevertheless it was all quite fascinating.

The content was really quite good in my opinion, though I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It isn’t exactly a 7 step system as one would assume, as those are pretty straightforward. It’s more like… 7 methodologies for living? Almost like, psychological principles.

It is definitely very wholesome which I appreciate. He covers the importance of spiritual, social-emotional, physical/economic, and mental aspects of life and their importance. He covers modeling and mentoring. Empathetic LISTENING. Creating a win-win situation instead of the win-lose our culture seems to follow. Making the important (not urgent) a priority in our life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is a part of a family, wants to have a family, or interacts with people. So basically, everyone. My only hesitation is just the length and density. I know there are abridged versions and cliff notes, those might be able to capture the essential methodologies so if you can’t make it through the book, try those. Definitely worth having in your tool bag.
(P.S. I like how for our premarital counseling we were required to read several books that were no where near the quality of this. UGH GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE. I would HIGHLY recommend this for anyone getting married or especially recently married. THE END.)



Memory (Vorkosigan Saga, #10)Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So good! It was nice to take a break from the action/adventure for a more character focused book. It was both heart wrenching and uplifting – and disturbingly familiar watching careers crumble and people having to find their true self and proceed on with their lives.



Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11)Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars




Honorable Mention:

The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild WestThe Adventures of Rabbi Harvey: A Graphic Novel of Jewish Wisdom and Wit in the Wild West by Steve Sheinkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was really fun way of presenting some of the Jewish tales and parables. (The sequels are equally fun!)




One thought on “Best Reads: March 2016

  1. *Matt Radar Technician thumbs up*

    I read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens when I was a teenager and it was really good but also really intimidating and I don’t think I developed any of the 7 habits. I would be a better stronger person if I had, probably.
    Tangent aside I will keep the family one in mind.


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