Following on from a similar post I made a year ago, here are five books I read this year that I can highly recommend.


My favourite ones, in no particular order

Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World and What We Can Do to Fix It by Mike Montiero
I’ve been a fan of Mike Montiero and his agency Mule Design for a minute now. In his latest book, he covers dense, controversial topics around design ethics, activism, and the responsibility designers have to take ownership for what they put out into the world. He also suggests designers should adhere to a code of ethics and take a design oath similar to the Hippocratic oath.

Cadence and Slang by Nick Disabato
This very short, self-published treatise is another awesome design textbook that details general heuristics and the ethics of interaction design. Similar to Mike Montiero, Nick Disabato runs Draft, a small design optimisation and research studio in Chicago, IL.

Hunger by Knut Hamsun
Hunger is a Norwegian novel that tells the story of a hapless, starving writer as he navigates the freezing streets of Oslo, trying to make ends meet by selling articles and stories. Despite all his bad luck, the main character in this classic has a scarily optimistic inner dialogue with himself. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a few days.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
This book is exactly what the title describes – forty short stories about what could be waiting for us in the afterlife. The tales vary from super silly to profound, for example, one story suggests the Creator could be a whole species of stupid creatures that don’t know why they exist, while another story suggests our purpose in life could be to collect data to share in the afterlife.

On Living and Dying Well by Cicero
Marcus Cicero was a Roman statesman and philosopher who was later assassinated by power-hungry Mark Antony following the murder of Julius Caesar. Before his death, he wrote in detail about a broad range of subjects from politics to friendship to agriculture. This book is a collection of his writings on living a good, simple, and meaningful life.

Have you read or want to read any of these books? Let’s be friends on GoodReads.