Header image for book reading list

Book round up for the new year!

Start the new year off right with one of these five books! I’m starting with books to turn your thinking on its head, but ending with a light parody read.

Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Cover of The Design of Everyday Things

I first read this book when I was in college and I’ve re-read it at least once since then. I took a human factors class through the industrial design department at UC, and this was recommended reading. It’s a good read too, not too technical, and fascinating in how often designers, engineers and architects will ignore our natural behaviors when creating the things we use every day. If you’re interested in accounting for human behavior in your designs, this is a must read. My favorite part was how to design door handles for ease of use; you’ll have to get the book to read that story.

The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow

Cover for paperback edition of The Drunkard's Walk
Cover for the hardcover edition of The Drunkard's Walk

Why not start the reading with another book about cognitive behavior? It’s natural to want to apply a narrative over the randomness of our lives, but that narrative often sends us in the wrong directions. I hope this book helps someone out there with dealing with the chaos inherent in the system and our irrational ways of dealing with it. I’m posting both the paperback and hardcover, because I love the design of the hardcover so much more. I don’t know why they changed it. I think the title reads better on the first.

Networking for People Who Hate Networking by Dvora Zack

Cover for paperback version of Networking for People Who Hate Networking
Cover for hardcover version of Networking for People Who Hate Networking

I confess I’m not all the way through this, but so far, it’s been ridiculously helpful in my approach to networking. I haven’t done a lot of networking over the years, but recently am in the process of getting out and about. While I like people, the work of talking to them is a drain on my energy (sorry, folks, it’s nothing personal). Zack has honed her approach over the years, and it’s great to learn from someone else’s experience. Speaking of which, here are my five tips for networking for introverts. And again, two covers because I prefer the hardcover design.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle


Cover for A Wrinkle in Time
Current edition
Cover for the 50th Anniversary Edition of A Wrinkle in Time
50th anniversary edition
Cover of Disney's A Wrinkle in Time
For the upcoming Disney movie
Cover for 1978 edition of A Wrinkle in Time
This is the cover I knew

This one’s fiction, but still a thinker. It was also one of the delights of my childhood. I loved the weirdness of the book, and loved brainy Meg Murray and her search through time and space for her father. It was the perfect book for a young nerd in training (and still is, so if you have one: makes a great gift!). The other books in the series were great reads also, although it’s the first that sticks in my mind. I’m posting several cover versions here since the book has been in print so long. My version is the 1978 version.

Star Wreck: The Generation Gap by Leah Rewolinski

Cover for Star Wreck

I thought some of these books were pretty heady, so if you’re looking for something light, here it is! This whole series is just plain silly, but I loved all of them. Looking at the reviews, I guess other people didn’t. It’s out of print, so if you’re in Cincinnati and you really want to read this, I might let you borrow my copy. Or buy it used and keep the books circulating!

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