Books Read December 2013

Lord of Chaos: Book Six of ‘The Wheel of Time’ – I finished up book six of the Wheel of Time series and am ready for a break. This book felt like a slog, but ended really well. Some friends advised I skip the middle, so I think I’ll read summaries before jumping to book 12 to start the finale.

The Non-Designer’s Design Book – I thought this book had great bang for the buck. Robin Williams shows how to transform boring, bad designs using CRAP—that’s contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. The second edition is a bit dated; perhaps the third edition is closer to today’s flat UI trend.

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (A Touchstone book) – This text asserts that there are four levels of reading: elementary (the basics), inspectional (quickly understanding the big idea), analytical (deep reading), and syntopical (thinking critically and comparing the words against all your related knowledge). I wish I would have read this earlier, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten much out of it because I didn’t think I needed it. I found that the deep dives into new subjects that I frequently did during my PhD is called syntopical reading.

The Effective Executive (Harper business Essentials) – Management guru, Peter Drucker, provides a great guide to working on the right things. As with many business books, you could summarize it in one blog post, but then you lose the nuance. I’m curious how Drucker would argue that a busy executive should read his entire book instead of a concise summary.

Are Your Lights On?: How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is – Another book from my productivity queue. This was a quick read with some interesting points. I was intrigued by thinking about whose problem something is and how decision makers’ interests rarely align with he people experiencing the problem.