What Are You Reading? Part I.
Oct 28, 2015
We recently started a community library at Centerline, consisting of a small bookshelf, 20ish books and a handful of magazines, with the hope that people will offer a few of their favorites (and the trust that all items will be returned to the shelf).
The Centerline bookshelf and this article about what’s on designers’ shelves got me wondering: What are Centerliners reading and what key takeaways have they applied to their jobs? So I asked.
My grandma always told me to never date someone who didn’t keep a full bookshelf; I guess that’s a little dated now and could be changed into “someone who doesn’t keep a news app on their phone.” Regardless, as a designer, I’m constantly looking for inspiration and wanting to keep up with the latest trends.
I recently finished re-reading a book from grad school entitled Networked by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman. Reading this book in school was a chore, but re-reading it brought me back to contemplating social norms created by technology and the intricate webs we weave through our online and offline lives.
I’m still a subscriber of the monthly National Geographic magazine; yes it is delivered to my mailbox, not my inbox. While this might not seem relatable to our industry, exploring different parts of the globe without leaving my apartment is one of my favorite past times… when I can’t afford the time to physically explore of course. But keeping in the back of my mind that not everyone is fortunate enough to have the technology that I’m so used to is a great way produce designs that could be explored by all levels of website familiarity.
Brenna Mickey, Interactive Designer
Pretty much anything Seth Godin – the guru of (content/digital) marketing, in my opinion.
I really enjoyed Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars (heck, I quoted a passage in a recent blog post). But my absolute … couldn’t put it down … must-read favorite by Godin is Linchpin: Are you indispensable?
This book isn’t about marketing at all. It explores in great detail why traditional ways of working don’t apply, and are flat-out ineffective in today’s world. The book encourages a new approach to working – essentially taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone to do it. (That’s a massive oversimplification, of course.)
I pulled 40 quotes from the book and keep them as a handy list. Here’s a taste, right out of the introduction:
“Indispensable linchpins are not waiting for instructions, but instead figuring out what to do next. If you have a job where someone tells you what to do next, you’ve just given up the chance to create value.”
Highly recommended read, whether it’s for a blog post or your personal interest.
If you want a third book, check out Bounce by two-time Olympian Matthew Syed. It’s an insightful look at the science of becoming the best of the best, specifically the role innate ability plays in separating the likes of Mozart, Picasso, Roger Federer, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, etc., from the rest of us.
The real mind-bender? “… it is practice, not talent, that holds the key to success.”
Marc Thaler, Writer
I am currently reading the following:
Brené Brown, Rising Strong. My love for Brené knows no bounds. I got this one (her latest) after hearing her speak at Inbound15. The book—I’m only about half-way through —is all about standing up after you get the shit kicked out of you, which is, you know, inevitable if you follow her first few books about being vulnerable and putting yourself out there. I am particularly enjoying this concept of “writing your own story” – the idea that we each construct our own version of events based on our experiences, what’s happening to us that day, etc. Even though the concept isn’t novel, it’s one that I really struggle with, so I’m making a really concerted effort to be more thoughtful, and not to jump to a conclusion (aka “create my version of the story”) without some solid self-reflection, and sitting with some occasionally painful, hurtful and ugly moments. I so want to live a meaningful life and be brave enough to speak my truth – and I’m trying to bring that into every aspect of my life, especially work.
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. Caveat – I have been reading this for TWO years. I went to South Africa in February of 2014 (not too long after Nelson Mandela’s death), and just really wanted to know more about his life and work. It’s a great, occasionally brutal, read, but I love that he’s just so human in it – he has two failed marriages, and wasn’t there for his kids, and isn’t always sure about what he’s doing…and the guy freakin’ ended apartheid. I just love the honesty, and I find his courage so inspiring.
Finally, I’m reading Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies because Paige Taylor, a Project Manager at Centerline, recommended it and it’s a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award. It’s a good counter to the above two books which are all about honesty and openness, and this one is more about NOT telling everything to spare feelings.
Erin Grohs, Executive Strategy Director
So, we want to know – what are you reading? Reach out on social media and give us a recommendation or two!