You may have noticed that my blog has been quiet lately. I actually made a conscious choice to stay away from my computer and keep my consumption of digital media to a minimum. This allowed me to be out and about and enjoy the heat wave this amazing summer in Sweden has given us (while trying to ignore that it’s an obvious sign that the climate is changing).
This time also freed me up to read some really good books which I want to share with you! And no, it won’t be UX books as I, as hard as it is to admit, never read books about UX…. well, not specifically. Of course I can recommend ‘What UX is’ and ‘How you can learn UX’ for those who are curious, but I like to read on different topics that relate to what I do. The ones I enjoy are about business (specifically running a small business) or about life (discovering how to live a ‘good life’). UX and business/personal growth books may seem to have very little in common at first, but I find they share a lot.
To put it really simply, the key to success in business is doing the right thing. Do more of the stuff that makes sense and less of the stuff that doesn’t. Same goes for life in general, right? Do more of the stuff that’s of value to you and less of the stuff that’s irrelevant. The challenge, of course, is finding out what makes sense and what doesn’t; what is of value and what isn’t. This applies DIRECTLY to crafting a great user experiences! For instance, apps that have a great user experience are the apps where someone has taken the time to identify what makes sense and what doesn’t and applied it.
Anyway, here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed during my summer:
What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
“The best lesson anyone can learn from business school is an awareness of what it can’t teach you.” Mark was known as ‘the most powerful man in sport’ and offers great advice to running a successful business. Business Schools are great, but this book offers all the ins and outs of everyday business life focused on achieving.
The Million Dollar One-Person Business by Elaine Pofeldt
“Make great money. Work the way you like. Have the life you want.” That intro had me hooked, but I was a bit disappointed as many of the companies they bring up tended to scale up by eventually hiring more people. I enjoy being a one man show!
Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
“Business is business, and mistakes happen no matter how great a company you have. If someone finds a small screw in their risotto, they’re going to tell everybody they know. I can’t change that. But what I can do is make sure that when they tell that story they go on to say, ‘But do you know how the restaurant handled that?’. Same goes for any great user experience. Errors will occur - but how they are communicated and handled is what will define your user’s experience.
Personal growth books
Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
“When was the last time you were bored? When was the last time you had a brilliant idea? If the answer to both questions is ‘not since I had a smart phone’ then you are not alone.” I loved this book and have applied many of the techniques to cut down on my digital consumption. I highly recommend this book along with Manoush’s brilliant podcast, Note to Self.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
“How to feel safe and trust your life no matter what”. For someone that’s a bit anxious and always want to feel as if I have things under control, this book was an eye-opener. Gabrielle brilliantly guides the reader through different stages; to be able to express out loud what you want and trust that in someway, the universe will guide you in the right direction.
Rest - Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Pang writes about the importance of rest and how working less (and resting more) will make you do better work. Within the tech sector, there’s often a glorification of overworking and, in order to succeed, 80-100 hour weeks are a must.
“Instead of searching for life hacks to make us more efficient and creative, we can avail ourselves to the life hack that’s been around for as long as we have: rest. We have to be as deliberate about it as we are about work. If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent of stealing it.”