Favorite 📘s July 2019: Podmajersky, Oluo, Sagarin

I’ve been reading a lot again, and I thought it good to try and summarize books that I am a fan of — and in quickly explaining why they resonated with me, I might kindle a deeper understanding of them.

A stack of my three favorite books featured in this blog post with electrical cables behind them, and the surrounding context of an airport terminal.
Before I get on a plane, I might as well blog a teense about what I’m carrying in my backpack …

The “Experience Virtuous Cycle”

Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky

I believe this is the best book on modern design out there right now. Why? Because of a diagram that appears at the start of the book that I’ve been looking for — a bit like Indiana Jones — that succinctly explains the architecture of digitally-connected experiences today:

“The organization’s view of the experience virtuous cycle. Starting at the top, the organization attracts people to the experience, converts them, onboards them, and then engages them into the experience. To complete the virtuous cycle, we must transform engaged people into fans who attract others to the experience and who are reattracted themselves.” —Torrey Podmajersky, Strategic Writing for UX

When you ask yourself, “What is intersectionality and why do I need it?”

So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo

This is the most comprehensive book I’ve found covering many of the facets around race that I’ve been unable to ask, and was delighted to be educated around by Oluo. It speaks to the topic of racism with many questions that serve as the key “answers” that I was looking for — mainly that I need to ask myself better questions, and then take action when I think I know them. And to make corrections along the way as I stumble through my actions — which are always going to be slightly (or intensely) incorrect.

Watch Ijeoma Oluo’s talk at Google to get a solid summary of its important contents. BUT I definitely recommend that you buy the book So you want to talk about race? — it’s well worth the investment.

The 🐙 octopus is smarter than the 🐬 dolphin

Learning from the Octopus by Rafe Sagarin

I bought this book in 2012 and LOVED it. And then gave it to someone else, so I decided to buy another copy and don’t regret it at all. It’s the first book to alert me about how much we can learn from nature — not just via the usual biomimicry takes on designing objects, but with respect to how organizations (i.e. “organisms”) are designed. The central thesis of the book is that the octopus is a special kind of creature because it’s head isn’t as smart as the sum of its independently sensate and semi-sentient tentacles. It speaks to how I believe that being the boss is about being as dumb as you can and enabling your tentacles to do what they do best — and to try to do the minimal coordination needed so that the tentacles don’t get stuck in each other (i.e. “clear swim lanes”).

Example of how an octopus uses coconut shells as a means to armor themselves — as an adaptive behavior learned on their own — makes you want to Learn from the Octopus.

👉 My list of 5 📘s on Simplicity, Design, Life on Design.co