Tom Kelley

Writer; Lecturer; Executive / Product Design / United States / IDEO

Tom Kelley’s Book List

I have always been in love with books, and currently have more than a thousand at home, with bookshelves in nearly every room of the house (including the kitchen). It was fun—but very challenging—to narrow the field to a manageable list of the most relevant or influential. All the books on my “favorites” list are about inspiring creative work, but only one actually has the word “design” in the title.

2 books
Emily Pilloton

Emily Pilloton is my design hero. Thirty years from now, people will be calling her a national treasure, and they will point to this book as an early milestone in her journey. The book’s collection of 100 social-innovation/design projects was just the jumping off point for Emily’s subsequent ventures: a cross-country Design Revolution Road Show, a hands-on design thinking curriculum for high school kids, a design-and-build summer camp for tween girls, and a documentary film on the power of design thinking. It’s not just a book. It’s the harbinger of a bright future.

Steven Pressfield

Pressfield never suggests that creative work will be easy. In fact, he explains why it is hard. And then he declares war on the inertia, procrastination, self-doubt, and what he calls “Resistance” that stands between us and our creative best. I know from first-hand experience that recognizing Resistance can help you beat it—at least some of the time.

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