JZ Jeff Zych

Books I Read in 2016

In 2016, I read 22 books. Only 3 of those 22 were fiction. I had a consistent clip of 1-3 per month, and managed to finish at least one book each month.

Highlights include:

  • The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda: the first book I read this year was super interesting. In it, Maeda offers 10 laws for for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design. By the end, he simplifies the book down to one law: “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.”
  • David Whitaker Painting by Matthew Sturgis: I had never heard of the artist David Whitaker until I stumbled on this book at Half Price Books in Berkeley. He makes abstract paintings that combine lines and colors and gradients in fantastic ways. The cover sucked me in, and after flipping through a few pages I fell in love with his work and immediately bought the book. Check out his work on his portfolio.
  • Libra by Don DeLillo: a fascinating account of all the forces (including internal ones) that pushed Lee Harvey Oswald into assassinating JFK. The book is fiction and includes plenty of embellishments from the author (especially internal dialog), but is based on real facts from Oswald’s life and the assassination.
  • NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX: a thoroughly entertaining history of the SoCal pop-punk band NOFX as told through various ridiculous stories from the members of the band themselves. It was perfect poolside reading in Cabo.
  • Org Design for Design Orgs by Peter Merholz & Kristin Skinner: This is basically a handbook for what I should be doing as the Head of Design at Optimizely. I can’t overstate how useful this has been to me in my job. If you’re doing any type of design leadership, I highly recommend it.
  • The Gift, by Lewis Hyde: a very thought-provoking read about creativity and the tension between art and commerce. So thought-provoking that it provoked me into writing down my thoughts in my last blog post.

Full List of Books Read

  • The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda (1/3/16)
  • Although of Course You End up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky (1/24/16)
  • Practical Empathy by Indi Young (2/1/16)
  • Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick (2/8/16)
  • A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami (3/5/16)
  • Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results by Christina Wodtke (3/21/16)
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (3/23/16)
  • Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just 5 days by Jake Knapp, with John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz (4/8/16)
  • David Whitaker Painting by Matthew Sturgis (4/18/16)
  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (5/8/16)
  • Nicely Said by Kate Kiefer Lee and Nicole Fenton (6/5/16)
  • The Unsplash Book by Jory MacKay (6/27/16)
  • Words Without Music: A Memoir by Philip Glass (July)
  • Libra by Don DeLillo (8/21/16)
  • How To Visit an Art Museum by Johan Idema (8/23/16)
  • 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick (9/5/16)
  • Intercom on Jobs-to-be-Done by Intercom (9/17/16)
  • Org Design for Design Orgs by Peter Merholz & Kristin Skinner (9/26/16)
  • NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX with Jeff Alulis (10/23/16)
  • The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love by Donna Lichaw (11/10/16)
  • Sharpie Art Workshop Book by Timothy Goodman (11/13/16)
  • The Gift by Lewis Hyde (12/29/16)
Tags: books
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