November 2017 Recommended Reading List – This month’s topic: Design can change the world


November 2017 Recommended Reading List – This month’s topic: Design can change the world

The news are filled with devestating horror stories, people dying, people killing each other, people making bad decisions — we believe it's time to take action, learn from the past and shape the future we wanna live in.  November days in Germany can be very grey, therefor an uplift, colorful, opportunistic reading list on how intentional design can change the world seemed like a perfect fit. Have fun! 


1. Good is the New Cool by Afdhel Aziz & Booby Jones

Marketing has an image problem. Media-savvy millennials, and their younger Gen Z counterparts, no longer trust advertising, and they demand increased social responsibility from their brands—while still insisting on cutting-edge products with on-trend design. As always, brands need to be cool—but now they need to be good, too. It’s a tall order, and with new technology empowering consumers to bypass advertisements altogether, it won’t be long before the old, advertising-based marketing model goes the way of the major label.

We say: A book you'll easily digest in an evening and be fueled with inspiration for weeks.


2. Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy by Dev Patnaik

When people inside a company develop a shared sense of what’s going on in the world, they see new opportunities faster than their competitors. They have the courage to take a risk on something new. 

In pursuit of this idea, Patnaik takes readers inside big companies like IBM, Target, and Intel to see widespread empathy in action. But he also goes to farmers' markets and a conference on world religions. He dives deep into the catacombs of the human brain to find the biological sources of empathy. And he spends time on both sides of the political aisle, with James Carville, the Ragin’ Cajun, and John McCain, a national hero, to show how empathy can give you the acuity to cut through a morass of contradictory information.

We say: Must read for anyone working with people. 


3.Looks good feels good is good: How social design changes our world by Anne van der Zwaag 

Anne van der Zwaag created very well designed reference book for everything social design. Social design encompasses all design movements that support a sustainable lifestyle and present alternatives for current social and economic systems. It's a catalyst for a creative movement with enormous potential and unprecedented impact.

We say: F@*ing cool. Designers will love it and non designers will fall in love with design. 


4. Massive Change: A Manifesto for the Future Global Design Culture by Bruce Mau

You'll find this book in most designer's shelves. Although it was written in 2004 and we believe even more relevant today than ever before. 

Massive Change explores the changing forces of design in the contemporary world and, from this angle, expands the definition of design to include the built environment, transportation technologies, revolutionary materials, energy and information systems, and living organisms. The book is divided into 11 heavily illustrated sections, covering major areas of change in contemporary society - urbanism and architecture, health and living, wealth and politics and the military.  In its totality, this volume embodies a graphic timeline of significant inventions and world events from 10,000 BC to the present, in a sweeping and scintillating intellectual tour de force.

We say: You cannot talk contemporary design without knowing the mighty Bruce Mau.


4. Design is the Problem: The Future of Design Must be Sustainable by Nathan Shedroff

After studying communication design and working as an art director, this book opened my eyes and made me re-define my own understanding of design. 

"Our generation is paying for the mistakes—the design mistakes—of the past 100 years. Rather than trying to recycle materials and processes not designed to be so, we must redesign nearly everything to create a truly sustainable society. This is not only the challenge for our current generation of designers, but the opportunity for future designers. Nathan Shedroff shows us the path to this inevitable future."

Eric Corey Freed, author Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies

We say: Secret gold nugget in our bookshelf. 


5. Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You mean by Kim Scott 

Our mentor Lisa Kay Solomon recommended this book to us lately. 

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Drawing on years of first-hand experience, and distilled clearly to give actionable lessons to the reader, Radical Candor shows how to be successful while retaining your integrity and humanity.

We say: Perfect Christmas gift for your boss! :)

Do you have any books you would recommend on this topic?

Franzi Sessler