What We’re Reading To Get ‘Back to School’ Ready

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!

In the spirit of “Back to School” season, Work Design Magazine editor, Elise Shapiro reached out to some of her favorite industry experts to find out what they recommend as a good read. Coming soon – our recommended list of Podcasts!

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Recommendations from Sven Govaars:

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

“As Austin points out “I wrote this book because I needed to read it”. For all of us aspiring artists and creatives in design we often reach times when we slow down, think about doing something else, or just need a nudge to move forward. This is a delightful and thought-provoking book full of truisms, musings and interesting stories.”


Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon

Sven also recommends another read from author, Austin Kleon where he offers ten simple rules for how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself—for life.


Recommendations from Cheryl Durst:

Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace by Rom Zemke

Written for all who are struggling to manage a workforce with often incompatible ethics, values, and working styles, Generations at Work looks afresh at the root causes of professional conflict and offers practical guidelines for navigating multigenerational differences.


Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things by Ellen and Julia Lupton

Design Your Life is a series of irreverent and realistic snapshots about objects and how we interact with them. By leading design thinker Ellen Lupton and her twin sister Julia, it shows how design is about much more than what’s bought at high-end stores or the modern look at IKEA. Design is critical thinking: a way to look at the world and wonder why things work, and why they don’t.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter) by Susan Weinschenk

Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This book combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play.

Recommendation from Bob Fox:

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt

“This is a story about an amazing person who had a natural ability to connect and communicate with people. It’s about all the people issues that are required to build an organization. It shares the stories behind Google and Apple that were at the core of the organization to drive performance and achieve high levels of success. It’s all about the team. Every leader needs to read this book.”

Recommendation from Ayse Birsel:

On Writing by Steven King

“I am interested in how creative people explain their creative process. It’s like explaining a magic trick. It’s magic but it’s also a skill that we can learn and get better at with practice. Stephen King is brilliant at this and On Writing is a great, inspirational read. One of the things that really stuck with me is the way he explains the importance of showing up and working at the same place, same time, every day, just in case the muse shows up. Oh, and the way he explains his mental toolbox for writing. Fascinating. Made me think of my toolbox for designing.”

Recommendations from the WDM team:

Studio O+A: Twelve True Tales of Workplace Design by Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander

An inspiring monograph that takes an in-depth look at the work of Studio O+A. The company has created an inspiring range of office environments that have changed how work and workplace are defined. The firm has a long roster of internationally-recognized clients – from Facebook to Nike, Cisco to Uber – which attests to the studio’s ability to translate that culture into physical space.


Future Office: Next-Generation Workplace Design by Nicola Gillen

Despite decades of predictions that the office is on the verge of extinction, it is surviving and thriving. Of course, things are changing. And changing fast. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this book discusses the impacts of these changes on the future of work and workplace.


Work Transformed: People, Place and Purpose by architecture + design, BDG

The importance of workplace design on productivity and health is as strong as ever. Great spaces encourage improved employee satisfaction, engagement and morale. This book is a collection of short stories surrounding the design and construction of 22 different BDG projects from all over Europe.

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