Themed Book Lists

15 Books on the Intersection of Psychology and Design

January 21, 2014

The start of a new year—a time for self-reflection—prompted this list of books, drawn from our contributors and featured publishers and booksellers, on the intersection of psychology and design, and designers.

1
The Architecture of Happiness Alain De Botton

From the Publisher. Best-selling author Alain de Botton has written about love, travel, status, and how philosophy can console us. Now he turns his attention to one of our most intense but often hidden love affairs: with our houses and their furnishings. de Botton looks at buildings across the world, from medieval wooden huts to modern skyscrapers; he examines sofas and cathedrals, tea sets and office complexes, and teases out a host of often surprising philosophical insights. The Architecture of Happiness will take you on a beguiling tour through the history and psychology of architecture and interior design, and will forever alter your relationship with buildings.

2
Art as Therapy Alain De Botton

From the Publisher. What is art's purpose? In this engaging, lively, and controversial new book, bestselling philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong propose a new way of looking at familiar masterpieces, suggesting that they can be useful, relevant, and - above all else - therapeutic for their viewers. De Botton argues that certain great works offer clues on managing the tensions and confusions of everyday life. Chapters on Love, Nature, Money, and Politics outline how art can help with these common difficulties - for example, Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter helps us focus on what we want to be loved for; Serra's Fernando Pessoa reminds us of the importance of dignity in suffering; and Manet's Bunch of Asparagus teaches us how to preserve and value our long-term partners. Art as Therapy offers an unconventional perspective, demonstrating how art can guide us, console us, and help us better understand ourselves.

3
Color Psychology and Color Therapy Faber Birren

Examines the history of color symbolism and biological responses to color, among other aspects.

On list 10 Books from the Paul Rand Library.

4
Designing for Emotion Aarron Walter

From the Publisher. Make your users fall in love with your site via the precepts packed into this brief, charming book by MailChimp user experience design lead Aarron Walter. From classic psychology to case studies, highbrow concepts to common sense, Designing for Emotion demonstrates accessible strategies and memorable methods to help you make a human connection through design.

5
Drive Daniel H. Pink

From the Publisher. Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

6
Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing Richard L. Gregory

From the Publisher (5th edition). Since the publication of the first edition in 1966, Eye and Brain has established itself worldwide as an essential introduction to the basic phenomena of visual perception. In this book, Richard L. Gregory offers clear explanations of how we see brightness, movement, color, and objects, and he explores the phenomena of visual illusions to establish principles about how perception normally works and why it sometimes fails. Although successive editions have incorporated new discoveries and ideas, Gregory completely revised and updated the book for this publication, adding more than 30 new illustrations. The phenomena of illusion continue to be a major theme in the book, in which the author makes a new attempt to provide a comprehensive classification system. There are also new sections on what babies see and how they learn to see, on motion perception, and tantalizing glimpses of the relationship between vision and consciousness and of the impact of new brain imaging techniques. In addition, the presentation of the text and illustrations has been improved by the larger format and new page design.

7
Finding Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

From the Publisher. Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement.

8
The Happiness Hypothesis Jonathan Haidt

From the Publisher. In his widely praised book, award-winning psychologist Jonathan Haidt examines the world’s philosophical wisdom through the lens of psychological science, showing how a deeper understanding of enduring maxims-like Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, or What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger-can enrich and even transform our lives.

9
The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud

— Architect and educator Michael Sorkin comments on The Interpretation of Dreams:

“The portal to vast worlds.”

10
Jung’s Psychology and Tibetan Wisdom Radmila Moacanin

From the Publisher. This book cuts to the heart of two very different yet remarkably similar traditions. The author touches on many of their major ideas: the collective unconscious and karma, archetypes and deities, the analyst and the spiritual friend, and mandalas. Within Tibetan Buddhism she focuses on tantra and relates its emphasis on spiritual transformation, also a major concern of Jung. This expanded edition includes new material on the integration of the two traditions, and the importance of these paths of the heart in today's unsteady world.

11
Mindset Carol Dweck

From the Publisher. World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset.

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

12
Psychogames Mel Gooding
Julian Rothenstein

#1 Design Seller at Beautiful Pages, Sydney, Australia (November 2013). From the Publisher. PsychoGames, by Mel Gooding and Julian Rothenstein, is a fascinating compendium of playful picture tests, questionnaires and tests that holds a revealing mirror up to your inner self. A follow-up to the hugely successful Psychobox, this new production includes five sets of testing cards, questionnaires and a frustration test, a poster……. and in the bottom of the box: a mirror.

13
The Psychopathology of Everyday Life Sigmund Freud

From the Publisher. Along with the Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis, this book remains one of Freud's most widely read. It is filled with anecdotes, many of them quite amusing, and virtually bereft of technical terminology. And Freud put himself on the line: numerous acts of willful forgetting or "inexplicable" mistakes are recounted from his personal experience. none of such actions can be called truly accidental, or uncaused: that is the real lesson of the Psychopathology.

14
The Telephone Book Avital Ronell

From the Publisher. The telephone marks the place of an absence. Affiliated with discontinuity, alarm, and silence, it raises fundamental questions about the constitution of self and other, the stability of location, systems of transfer, and the destination of speech. Profoundly changing our concept of long-distance, it is constantly transmitting effects of real and evocative power. To the extent that it always relates us to the absent other, the telephone, and the massive switchboard attending it, plugs into a hermeneutics of mourning. The Telephone Book, itself organized by a "telephonic logic," fields calls from philosophy, history, literature, and psychoanalysis. It installs a switchboard that hooks up diverse types of knowledge while rerouting and jamming the codes of the disciplines in daring ways. Avital Ronell has done nothing less than consider the impact of the telephone on modern thought. Her highly original, multifaceted inquiry into the nature of communication in a technological age will excite everyone who listens in.

The book begins by calling close attention to the importance of the telephone in Nazi organization and propaganda, with special regard to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In the Third Reich the telephone became a weapon, a means of state surveillance, "an open accomplice to lies." Heidegger, in Being and Time and elsewhere, elaborates on the significance of "the call." In a tour de force response, Ronell mobilizes the history and terminology of the telephone to explicate his difficult philosophy.

Ronell also speaks of the appearance of the telephone in the literary works of Duras, Joyce, Kafka, Rilke, and Strindberg. She examines its role in psychoanalysis—Freud said that the unconscious is structured like a telephone, and Jung and R. D. Laing saw it as a powerful new body part. She traces its historical development from Bell's famous first call: "Watson, come here!" Thomas A. Watson, his assistant, who used to communicate with spirits, was eager to get the telephone to talk, and thus to link technology with phantoms and phantasms. In many ways a meditation on the technologically constituted state, The Telephone Book opens a new field, becoming the first political deconstruction of technology, state terrorism, and schizophrenia. And it offers a fresh reading of the American and European addiction to technology in which the telephone emerges as the crucial figure of this age.

15
The Wisdom of Insecurity Alan Watts

From the Publisher. An exploration of man's quest for psychological security and spiritual certainty in religion and philosophy.

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