Six ‘Non-Design’ Books For Industrial Designers
Today is World Book Day and I want to share with you six of my favourite ‘non-design’ books for Industrial Designers. I’m an avid reader in the areas of design, business, marketing, sales and communication – and I think the six listed in this post are worthy of a read. Like most designers, my shelves are filled with the usual suspects; Dick Powell’s Presentation Techniques, Sketching:Product Design Presentation by Koos Eissen, Cosmic Motors by Daniel Simon and less visual stuff like Tim Brown, Donald Norman and Robert Brunner. However, I enjoy reading about unique approaches to many different areas and believe this has shaped my approach to design. This list looks at books that don’t sit in the typical industrial design reading pile – and so in no particular order..
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh (pronounced ‘Shay’) is CEO of online shoe store Zappos. They’re not well known in the UK, but Zappos have attracted raving fans over the years for their commitment to customer satisfaction – or as Tony would put it, happiness. In Delivering Happiness, Tony tells his story, and explains the unique personality of Zappos and how customer service is the absolute backbone of their business.
Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath
Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point had a chapter titled ‘The Stickiness Factor’. He argues that innovations are more likely to spread rapidly, or ‘tip’, when they are ‘sticky’. Chip & Dan are huge fans of Gladwell, and wrote Made To Stick to ‘help your ideas be understood, remembered and have lasting impact – to change your audience’s opinion or behaviour’. It’s a fun and informative read, and I love the sleeve art.
Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono is a highly original thinker who coined the term ‘lateral thinking’. His book Six Thinking Hats is a system for group discussion that engages unnatural modes of thinking to allow teams to ‘think together more effectively’. It’s often used in brainstorm sessions and I’ve been asked my thoughts on it in more than one design interview. If you see yourself as more of a front-end Industrial Designer, get it ordered now.
The Jelly Effect by Andy Bounds
This is one of the first books I read when I first got into reading about marketing, sales and communication nearly 10 years ago. I instantly loved The Jelly Effect for how practical it was. There’s no bullshit fillers. No reading 8 pages and wondering what you were meant to get from it. No repetition. Just an expert communicator talking complete sense with actionable content. I often recommend this book, and the premise is that most people believe that the more jelly they throw at the wall – the more will stick. Andy Bounds believes that this approach creates a lot of irrelevant information, and argues that the best communicators throw far less jelly – but EVERYTHING they throw sticks.
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Arguably the world’s greatest mind on marketing. He pioneered email marketing in the 90s and has written 18 international bestsellers on the subject. Purple Cow set me off on reading a shit load of Seth Godin books, watching every interview I could online and just devouring whatever he had to say, wherever he said it. Next time you see a book on business or marketing, chances are the testimonial on the front cover is by Seth . If it’s not, the author wanted it! In Purple Cow, he argues that the only real way to market your business is by being REMARKABLE. As in, worth ‘remarking’ about. Why does someone encounter your business (or product) and want to tell somebody else about the experience? Being remarkable is the fuel for word-of-mouth marketing, and in a world of Comments, Shares and Retweets – it’s more relevant than ever. I’d call this essential reading for anyone remotely interested in design and business.
ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
Ever used Basecamp, the project management software? Well, Jason Fried is CEO of 37Signals, the software company behind it. In ReWork, he talks about ideas they’ve implemented in their own business that have contributed to their success – many of which seem counter-intuitive. He states that ‘meetings are toxic’ and urges businesses to under-do the competition, let customers outgrow you and ignore the details. He advocates building an audience through teaching others (not spending money) and not being afraid to share what you believe are your secret methods. It’s an enjoyable read with logical advice that has come directly from the real experience of building a successful business. There’s nothing theoretical about it. It’s concise and punchy. I love it. You can also check out Jason’s TED Talk HERE, on ‘Why work doesn’t happen at work’.
Any to recommend?
Have a non-design book that you think would add value to an Industrial Designer? Drop it in the comments section below. When I say ‘non-design’, I do believe that these subjects of business, marketing, presentation, productivity, etc are heavily integrated with design – I just mean not your typical design books on marker rendering or books written by designers. Anyway, have fun reading these if you decide to order them, and let me know what you think. I’ll suggest another six in a year’s time.