Themed Book Lists

25 Books on Business and Design

June 18, 2014

Designers mean business! Here are 25 books at the intersection of design, creativity, and business. Featured are books by Tim Brown, Steven Heller, George Lois, and John Maeda, among others, and a still relevant series of lectures on design management from 1975 that includes a contribution by architect Louis I. Kahn.

The Art of Design Management: Design in American Business Thomas F. Schutte Editor

From the series of Tiffany-Wharton Lectures on Corporate Design Management. Contents of the 1975 book include “Crisis of Design & Aesthetics in American Management” by Walter Hoving and George O’Brien; “Architecture and Human Agreement” by Louis I. Kahn; “Profitable Art” by Edgar Kaufmann Jr.; “Designer and Manager Syndrome” by Sir Misha Black; “Good Design is Good Business” by Thomas J. Watson Jr.; “Environment for Creating Good Design” by Van Day Truex; and “Design for America’s Third Century” by Nancy Hanks. Edited with an introduction by Thomas F. Schutte.

The Art of Innovation Tom Kelley
Jonathan Littman

From the Publisher. IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid's I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation.

There isn't a business in America that doesn't want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

IDEO doesn't buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO's focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed "the Deep Dive."

In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm's own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

IDEO has won more awards in the last ten years than any other firm of its kind, and a full half-hour Nightline presentation of its creative process received one of the show's highest ratings. The Art of Innovation will provide business leaders with the insights and tools they need to make their companies the leading-edge, top-rated stars of their industries.

Becoming a Digital Designer Steven Heller
David Womack

Here is a complete guide to digital design disciplines in which you will find some of the most sought-after job opportunities in digital media. Filled with interviews and advice from leading digital designers, this book covers all you need to know to launch your own career in digital design.

Becoming a Product Designer Bruce Hannah

From the Publisher. Becoming a Product Designer is the most complete and concise survey of the many opportunities available today in the field of product design. Written by a leading expert with more than thirty years of experience, this highly visual guide delivers a comprehensive overview of the field, from prerequisites and requirements for a variety of educational paths to coverage of major design specialties, such as transportation, packaging, furniture, sports equipment, and medical equipment design.

Interviews and advice from leading product designers offer an inside look at the real world of product design. No other book provides the same unique, in-depth material on educational training, portfolio preparation, and career possibilities, as well as the business aspects of product design, and much more.

Change by Design Tim Brown

From the Publisher. Shows how the techniques and strategies of design belong at every level of business, in the first book to detail IDEO’s internationally recognized Design Thinking process.The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is that most innovations come from a process of rigorous examination through which great ideas are identified and developed before being realized as new offerings and capabilities. This book introduces the idea of design thinking, the collaborative process by which the designer’s sensibilities and methods are employed to match peopleʹs needs not only with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. Design thinking is not just applicable to so-called creative industries or people who work in the design field. Itʹs a methodology that has been used by organizations such as Kaiser Permanente to increase the quality of patient care by re-examining the ways that their nurses manage shift change, or Kraft to rethink supply chain management. This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization, product, or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.

Creative Confidence Tom Kelley
David Kelley

From the Publisher. IDEO founder and Stanford creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and the author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation, have written a powerful and compelling book on unleashing the creativity that lies within each and every one of us.

Too often, companies and individuals assume that creativity and innovation are the domain of the "creative types." But two of the leading experts in innovation, design, and creativity on the planet show us that each and every one of us is creative. In an incredibly entertaining and inspiring narrative that draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO, the Stanford, and with many of the world's top companies, David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems. It is a book that will help each of us be more productive and successful in our lives and in our careers.

Creativity, Inc. Ed Catmull
With Amy Wallace

From the Publisher. From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business—sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath. Forbes raves that Creativity, Inc. “just might be the business book ever written.”

Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about how to build a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.”

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) George Lois

— Graphic designer Louise Fili comments on Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!):

“When legendary adman George Lois speaks, we all listen.”

Design Forward Hartmut Esslinger

From the Publisher. In this book Hartmut Esslinger—one of the most influential designers and thinkers internationally, as well as the founder of frog design—explains how "strategic design" in business and society can and must bring about positive change through innovative creativity. A key component is the strategically extended definition of design as a convergent and humanistic amalgamation of technology, the environment, and the economy.

For Esslinger, design has always been a key strategic discipline, which he has practiced successfully in cooperation with companies such as Wega, Louis Vuitton, Sony, SAP, and especially Apple, collaborating directly with Steve Jobs. Therefore in this book he sets out to establish a wide range of creative innovators as top executives, who are equally influential and occupy leading positions in economics, education and politics.

As every future projection is always also based on history, Design Forward also shows relevant and richly illustrated case studies taken from Esslinger’s career with frog design, as well as selected works by his students at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he teaches as a professor of Industrial Design.

The content of Design Forward supplements Esslinger’s previous publication A Fine Line, which has been published in six languages, both conceptually and as a source of professional inspiration.

With contributions by the students from the Master Class ID2 at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and by other academic partners.

Hartmut Esslinger's credo: “Things aren't just objects, but made for us.”

Design Is a Job Mike Monteiro

From the Publisher. Co-founder of Mule Design and raconteur Mike Monteiro wants to help you do your job better. From contracts to selling design, from working with clients to working with each other, this brief book is packed with knowledge you can’t afford not to know. Mike Monteiro is the co-founder and design director of Mule Design, an interactive design studio whose work has been called “delightfully hostile” by The New Yorker. He prefers elegant, simple sites with clear language that serve a real need. He prefers that designers have strong spines.

Mike blogs frequently about the craft and business of design. In early 2011, he gave a Creative Mornings talk entitled “F— You, Pay Me” that uplifted the downtrodden the world over, and he can be heard weekly as the co-host of Let’s Make Mistakes with Katie Gillum.

Flying Without a Net Thomas J. DeLong

Debbie Millman comments on Flying Without a Net:

“Harvard Business School Professor Tom DeLong has written an insightful motivational primer based on extensive research and consulting work with high corporate achievers. He analyzes the forces that escalate anxiety in “need-for-achievement” personalities and presents new models for professionals who want to live a life based on courage as opposed to fear.”

The Fundamentals of Fashion Management Susan Dillon

From the Publisher. The Fundamentals of Fashion Management by Susan Dillon is the first in the new Fashion Management series, which takes an in-depth look at the varied and competitive fashion trade.

Giving readers a behind-the-scenes insight into the roles and processes of the industry, this title combines creative and business approaches for those who want to gain an understanding of what it means to work in the fashion sector.

Clearly organized chapters explore fashion forecasting, merchandising and communication, as well as the events incorporated in the fashion calendar. Overall, the book forms an informative and beautifully illustrated introduction to the subject.

Good to Great James Collins

Answers to commonly asked questions about how good-to-great principles can help social sector organizations make the leap to greatness, using interviews with over 100 social-sector leaders.

Indie Publishing: How to Design and Produce Your Own Book Ellen Lupton

—Written by graphic designer, educator, and curator Ellen Lupton:

Self-published books are finally taking their place alongside more accepted indie categories such as music, film, and theater. Indie Publishing is a practical guide to creating and distributing printed books regardless of your background, skill set, or ambition.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Peter Drucker

This book presents innovation and entrepreneurship as a purposeful and systematic discipline that explains and analyzes the challenges and opportunities of America's new entrepreneurial economy. The author explains what established businesses, public service institutions, and new ventures need to know and do to succeed in today's economy.

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be Paul Arden

From the Publisher. It's Not How Good You Are... is a concise guide to making the most of yourself—a pocket “bible” for the talented and timid to make the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible. After decades at the top of one of the world's most competitive industries, Paul Arden offers insights into such diverse subjects as the value of being fired and why it's often better to be wrong than to be right. He gives original and logical answers to everyday questions. Much of it appears obvious when you read it, but aren't all questions easy when you know the answers? Whether you are a school-leaver, self-employed, or a managing director, this book is invaluable for everyone who aspires to succeed.

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution Chris Anderson

—Architect Hugh Hardy comments on Makers:

“New forms of manufacturing in the digital age.”

A More Beautiful Question Warren Berger

From the Publisher. In this groundbreaking book, journalist and innovation expert Warren Berger shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool—one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

Berger’s surprising findings reveal that even though children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning “falls off a cliff” as kids enter school. In an education and business culture devised to reward rote answers over challenging inquiry, questioning isn’t encouraged—and, in fact, is sometimes barely tolerated.

And yet, as Berger shows, the most creative, successful people tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking—and finding powerful answers. The author takes us inside red-hot businesses like Google, Netflix, IDEO, and Airbnb to show how questioning is baked into their organizational DNA. He also shares inspiring stories of artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, basement tinkerers, and social activists who changed their lives and the world around them—by starting with a “beautiful question.”

The Opposable Mind Roger Martin

From the Publisher. If you want to be as successful as Jack Welch, Larry Bossidy, or Michael Dell, read their autobiographical advice books, right? Wrong, says Roger Martin in The Opposable Mind. Though following “best practice” can help in some ways, it also poses a danger: By emulating what a great leader did in a particular situation, you’ll likely be terribly disappointed with your own results. Why? Your situation is different. Instead of focusing on what exceptional leaders do, we need to understand and emulate how they think. Successful businesspeople engage in what Martin calls integrative thinking, —creatively resolving the tension in opposing models by forming entirely new and superior ones. Drawing on stories of leaders as diverse as AG Lafley of Procter & Gamble, Meg Whitman of eBay, Victoria Hale of the Institute for One World Health, and Nandan Nilekani of Infosys, Martin shows how integrative thinkers are relentlessly diagnosing and synthesizing by asking probing questions—including “What are the causal relationships at work here?” and “What are the implied trade-offs?” Martin also presents a model for strengthening your integrative thinking skills by drawing on different kinds of knowledge, —including conceptual and experiential knowledge. Integrative thinking can be learned, and The Opposable Mind helps you master this vital skill.

The Publishing Business Kelvin Smith

From the Publisher. Publishing is undergoing a sea change. Technology has transformed the relationship between writers and readers and many people suspect that publishing as we know it can’t survive. And yet, publishing remains a popular career choice for many creative graduates. The Publishing Business by Kelvin Smith is a modern guide to the publishing process. It explores how publishing is adapting to the digital culture, describes current roles and practices, and provides much food for thought on how publishers can ensure their skills remain relevant in the digital age.

Using popular and current examples, Kelvin Smith demonstrates that to succeed, publishers must prove their commitment to producing accurate, attractive and well edited content, their ability to innovate pioneering digital technologies and their dedication to promoting their titles to new audiences.

If your ambition is to succeed in the world of publishing, owning a copy of The Publishing Business is a must. It is an invaluable guide to understanding what book publishing is and what it might become. Ideal for students wanting to discover which part of the publishing process is for them, and all those who wish to fully grasp the debates and industry developments revolutionising publishing today. Beautifully designed, thoroughly illustrated and packed with examples of publishing practice, this book launches AVA’s Creative Careers series, the first stop for creative graduates looking to bridge the gap between academia and their first job in the creative industries.

Redesigning Leadership John Maeda
With Becky Bermont

President of Rhode Island School of Design since 2008, John Maeda shares his leadership experiences as a designer-and-computer-scientist turned college president. Maeda reveals why his work as an artist has served as an advantage for his new role in a different field and discusses teamwork, meetings, conversations, social media, and other topics.

Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson

— Gizmodo editor Alissa Walker comments on Steve Jobs:

“There’s plenty to mine when it comes to innovation and branding and product development, yes. But it’s more than that. Jobs spent a lifetime building technology for artists. And designers, as those who have benefited from this process the most, should know the fascinating story behind their tools.”

— Jewelry designer Temple St. Clair comments:

“I found the story of Jobs completely inspiring, especially his defiant refusal to compromise on design and quality.”

The Ten Faces of Innovation Tom Kelley
Jonathan Littman

From the Publisher. The author of the bestselling The Art of Innovation reveals the strategies IDEO, the world-famous design firm, uses to foster innovative thinking throughout an organization and overcome the naysayers who stifle creativity.

The role of the devil's advocate is nearly universal in business today. It allows individuals to step outside themselves and raise questions and concerns that effectively kill new projects and ideas, while claiming no personal responsibility. Nothing is more potent in stifling innovation.

Drawing on nearly 20 years of experience managing IDEO, Kelley identifies ten roles people can play in an organization to foster innovation and new ideas while offering an effective counter to naysayers. Among these approaches are the Anthropologist—the person who goes into the field to see how customers use and respond to products, to come up with new innovations; the Cross-pollinator who mixes and matches ideas, people, and technology to create new ideas that can drive growth; and the Hurdler, who instantly looks for ways to overcome the limits and challenges to any situation.

Filled with engaging stories of how companies like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, Cargill and Samsung have incorporated IDEO's thinking to transform the customer experience, The Ten Faces of Innovation is an extraordinary guide to nurturing and sustaining a culture of continuous innovation and renewal.

Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman

From the Publisher. In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.

A Whole New Mind Daniel H. Pink

Uses the two sides of the human brain as a metaphor for understanding how the information age came about throughout the course of the past generation, counseling readers on how to survive and find a place in the information society.

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