Once upon a time, when there was no Google, people used to read books to gain knowledge. All their wisdom and expertise was a result of number of books they gulped over coffee and breakfast. Everything that they read was a source of stimulation of new ideas, food for thought for the next innovation. The more they read, more indispensable subject-matter-experts they became.
In our new internet-frenzy world, the trend has moved from reading to browsing. According to a research, we spend more than 490 minutes of our day with some sort of media, consuming more words than we did in past. Blessing or a doom, but it’s true that reading enhances your analytical skills and concentration.
I often feel distracted when I am reading online. With almost eight tabs open at a time, I find it difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time. Books, on the other hand, are absorbing. Once I open a book, rest of world seems to melt away. It’s as if the book absorbs me.
Are you with me? Felt like an old folk talk? I know. This is what goes on inside my puny little mind.
But hold on. We have the mighty experienced people in Quovantis.
I was always curious to know where do designers gain their wisdom? How do they decide which typeface to use? Serif versus sans-serif? Ofcourse, a lot is available on the internet these days. So there is no dearth of information. But do they find the smell of books equally enticing? Which book rests on their reading shelf these days?
This is what they have to say-
Lakshhya Mahalwal, UI Designer
“I am an avid reader and I often pick books on recommendation or self-interest. I am currently reading The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins. The book was a recommendation from Subhash. It’s been an amazing read so far. I love reading this book because it’s a series of stories. It tells about how different creative thinking leads various people to success. If I am allowed to give a rating yet, I would give it a ⅘ already.”
“Any favorite lines from the book that you can’t stop reminiscing?”
Creativity isn’t a switch that’s flicked on or off; it’s a way of seeing, engaging and responding to the world around you.
Asif, Lead UI Designer-
“I am reading Creative Confidence written by Tom Kelley and David Kelley. I was recommended this book by Subhash. There is no particular reason why I accepted this recommendation, I just wanted to pick a good read. Everyone has a creative side but most of the times it does not come out naturally, this book helps to explore and unleash the creative potential. Everyone should read this book, no matter if you are a creative person or not. I learned that being natural and asking stupid questions like a kid is the first step in building a great project. A ⅘ for this amazing book.”
“Sounds interesting. Any favorite quotes from the book?”
“Not exactly a quote. But in the first chapter itself there is this excerpt which I remember clearly. It talks about a guy named Doug Dietz, who is a lead of design and development at General Electric (GE) Healthcare. Proud of his two and a half years of hard work on an MRI machine design, when Doug visits the hospital he sees a young frail girl absolutely petrified to enter that machine. When Doug witnessed the anxiety and fear his machine caused among the most vulnerable patients, the experience triggered a personal crisis for him that forever changed his perspective.
Pride in his design was replaced with feelings of failure for letting down the very patients he was trying to help. He had two options- to quit his job or simply resign to the situation. Instead, he resolved to make a change and took this as a challenge. He embraced it as a journey to make MRIs less frightening for those who are already fighting a war with disease.
I feel this is first quality that every designer should embrace- Empathy.”
Nilanjan Debnath, Graphic Designer-
“I picked up Design of everyday things by Donald Norman just because I was intrigued by it’s popularity. I heard about this book through many online Design Communities. In a few companies, it is considered as a must read book for all employees. So I wanted to see what the hype was about. Nevertheless, I think that it’s a must read, even for non-designers as it’s more about psychology and how people think and interact.”
“Is it worth that fame, then?”
“Absolutely. Give it a read and you will know its worth. I have developed an affinity towards this particular diagram and I hope to derive benefit from it someday.”
Mangesh Suneriya, Sr. Lead UI Designer-
“I recently started reading About Face by Alan Cooper. With Tarun’s recommendation and a lot of appreciation from many designer folks, I was sure I won’t be disappointed. I remember someone quoting it as “The Bible for Designers”. And I can not agree more.
So far the book has been an enticing read and I just can’t stop marveling at the authenticity of this line- User interfaces should be based on user mental models rather than implementation models. I have given it a 5/5 already. And just like everyone else, I would urge you to read this book.”
Subhash Kapoor, Creative Director-
“I recently picked up The Art Of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins. I read a lot of discussion about this book on various online Design Communities. Unsure if it’s worth a buy, I first read one chapter online. I absolutely loved that excerpt and decided to buy it immediately. The book is full of good thoughts and I would suggest you to read one chapter randomly, may be first thing in the morning.”
So, I am not alone in these bookish chronicles. By the way, if you ask me, I am reading Eats shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss these days. And I am loving it.
What are you reading these days? And why?