Everyone has their “go-to books”. Well-worn and constantly referenced.
- The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, by James Gleick
We exist in a built world. To truly understand past (and future) cultures, one must understand how technology defines the context of life.
- Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber
Society is mutually-held debt. Our conceptions of morality are linked to mercantile exchange. We are socialists with our friends and capitalists with our landlords.
- The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nicholas Nassim Taleb
People are bad at statistical thinking. Low-probability events are still likely (near guaranteed over a long enough timeframe) and can be the most significant, but are frequently not planned for, as they’re unlikely to happen today.
It is critical to realize when an underlying distribution is exponential instead of normal.
- Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely, by Ian Mitroff and Abraham Silvers
How you define a problem determines how you solve it. The more complicated the problem, the more care should be taken in defining it.
Humans are first-and-foremost, tool users. We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
The most ubiquitous and powerful tools are frequently overlooked.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
95 – 99% of our daily life is automatic. We live this way because our conscious, thoughtful resources are so limited in availability.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini
Interaction is driven by social scripts that we frequently depend on to the exclusion of all sense.
Taking advantage of you depends on social awkwardness to prevent you from saying no.
- Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You, by Sam Gosling
Humans are creatures of habit, and you can learn much of them by understanding the marks these habits leave behind.
People shape their spaces for two primary reasons: 1.) to present themselves to others and 2.) to provide comfort to themselves. It is important to distinguish between the two.
Engineering & Design
- An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering, by Christoper Wickens, John Lee, Yili Liu, and Sallie Gordon-Becker
- Engineering Psychology and Human Performance, by Wickens and Hollands
- The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman
Usable designs are driven by affordances, visibility, mapping, and feedback. Good designs should clearly communicate their uses.