Book Recap

With my recent travels, I had plenty of time to hunker down on planes and get my reading groove on. I zipped through a bunch of books.

Let the recaps begin!

1. How Pleasure Works – The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom
What a great read! In a broad sense, I saw this book as presenting a debate around essentialism – the belief that all things have an essence – this isn’t spiritual, simply an argument of what defines any particular item (is a dog still a dog if you paint it red? yes… but why?). Once the author establishes how we define objects, we can see how they can acquire value beyond their superficial nature and basic practical use. For example, why are celebrity owned knick-knacks so valuable? Because the history of that item has altered the way we perceive it. The object’s definition has changed.


I strongly recommend this book. It’s an easy non-academic read, but really encourages thought.

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
This book received great reviews from all my family and friends who read it. But I must admit, I’m not really on board the dragon train. I loved the characters. I found them exciting, quirky, and natural… but it wasn’t enough for me. The book’s start was slow. 25% of the book passed before I felt involved. The action kept me enticed for the next 50 percent of the book… but the last quarter felt forced to me. I’m not sure why – it might just be that I’m not a mystery thriller kinda guy.

3. The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams
Whoa awesome! A great book for anyone who finds themselves working with material that frequently falls under the eyes of customers or executives. This book presents a simple set of rules by which any presentation, pamphlet, or advertisement can be organized/arranged to make it easier on the eyes. My review makes the book sound horribly dry. It’s not! It’s lively and action packed with recommendations and examples.

NOTE: this book is great on a kindle, but probably better in print. There’s a chapter on color… color? not so great on the kindle. I’ve ordered a hard copy to have on hand at all times at work.

Book Review Disclaimers:
I should point out two observations my friends recently have made regarding my reading preferences and my disclaimers that accompany them.

Next up on my reading list? Hunger Games. Vivienne recommended this book to me, but she commented on how the book might not be esoteric enough to make it onto my preferred reading list.
“you think I like esoteric books?!” I exclaimed
“yeah, like House of Leaves,” Vivienne responded.

Disclaimer one: I like weird books.

HC Alicia, upon hearing my raving review for book #3, commented on how she doesn’t want to learn about typography because it’s a bit of a pretentious topic.
“you think typography is pretentious?!” I exclaimed
“uh… yes” Alicia responded

Disclaimer two: I like my books pretentious.

So as you decide to take my book recommendations, be sure to take my weirdness into consideration.

7 thoughts on “Book Recap

  • 11/10/2010 at 1:39 pm

    i can meet you halfway on pretentious.
    I have a copy of the Non-Designers Design book in a box somewhere from years and years ago!

  • 11/10/2010 at 2:35 pm

    At least if you don’t love Hunger Games it’s easy to read and short. I loved it! I haven’t put myself on the waitlist yet for the third book.

    In other news Sweater Thursday just missed getting to celebrate my car hitting 200,000 miles. (I’m at 199,999 RIGHT NOW!) I totally wanted it to be my sweater photo for tomorrow though:(

  • 11/11/2010 at 10:22 am

    Mike D!

    Have you read Freakonomics? Me and Schenk listened to it in the car on a long drive – really good!

    I wasn’t a fan of girl with the dragon tattoo – I thought it was really gratuitous with all the kinky stuff, and like you, I agree it took waaaaay too long to get anywhere exciting.

    “Design for Non-Designers” is an excellent book – and Alicia, it’s not ALL about typography, a lot of it is about layout and creating self-published works that are appealing to the eye. As a stationery designer I found this book to have all kinds of interesting information, in an easily readable format.

    I gave the Hunger Games an A+ I just read the series last week.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *