Friday, December 31, 2010

Recommended Books of 2010

Books of 2010

Probably because of ebook without DRM from O'Reilly, there are substantial more books on this year's list that previous year. However, I don't think I finished as many this year. The range is about the same with fewer home improvement and more technical books. The highly recommended are listed below with a few other notes.

What Technology Wants gets my highest recommendation even though I'm still reading it. It is so good, I'm in no hurry. At first I was very skeptical that I could be convinced the technology ever wants anything, Kelly is persuading me. I compare it to  the books by Jared Diamond like Collapse. Those books are like Ancient History while Kelly's book is like Modern History.

Switch: How to Change When Change Is Hard really changed my perspective of my organization. I believe change is hard at any organization that is larger than 300 or so. This book provides example of how change that transformed large companies. Also, lots of economic and behavioral research. The only pdf about presentation was critical to reshaping the introduction to my major presentation last spring and the concept is now taking hold. The Heath brothers older book, Made To Stick, is also recommended.

Cognitive Surplus deserves the recognition that it has received. For the past several years, since Tipping Point, it has been easier to find so called "economic" books that read more like urban anthropology books. This is the best one along that vein this year. It will be interesting to review after I finish What Technology Wants.

High Performance JavaScript is killer. It really shows how far JavaScript has come as a serious language. In working on a team project that was 98% JavaScript, I constantly refereed to this book. Search the ebook really improved my work. If you are serious about JavaScript this book is in your library.

Start Small, Stay Small was purchased directly from the author online as an ebook just as I had purchased Getting Real from 37 Signals a few years ago. Walling talks about start-ups from the developer viewpoint. He makes an excellent case about marketing from day one and out-sourcing the developer work even though you might be a developer. Much more practical that Rework, which I found tired, but that maybe because I regularly read the 37 Signals blog.

App Savvy and Tapworthy are two excellent books about building and marketing mobile apps. While the focus is on the iphone, the advice works for nearly any mobile device. Maybe this is a factor of being ebooks, but it is hard for me to distinguish between the two. I've referred to both while working on an idea of an app. After the proof of concept, I expect to re-read both as I write up a marketing plan. Finally, O'Reilly's webinar lead me to these books and I recommend watching a few during the coming year.

The Book of Gossage is this year's McLuhan book for me. Gossage was the SanFrancisco ad man that worked with McLuhan to convince the world that McLuhan was important. Included in the book is "Understanding McLuhan" which is an excellent article.

More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home was better than the other kitchen books I either bought or borrowed from the library. Mostly old articles from the defunct Inspired House magazine, it got me unstuck on the redesign of our kitchen - which is next year's project.

Possible additions.There are a few on the list below that I cannot yet recommend. I'm behind on my reading but these look very promising from my reading so far. Where Good Ideas Come From is certain to be read soon and I expect to recommend it. Taming Text's focus on text and not media is refreshing. It may stand the test of time. Business Model Generation looks awesome, but I gave it as a gift, so it maybe a while until I read it.  Buy the print version of this one. Sometime in the future, I'll have to review all of the economic, research books like Sway and Drive.

Good reading to you.

List of 2010 Books
  •   The Investment Answer
  •   Business Model Generation
  •   Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
  •   The Food Matters Cookbook
  •   The Book of Gossage
  •   Where Good Ideas Come From
  •   What Technology Wants
  •   McLuhan: A Guide for the Perplexed
  •   The Creation of the Media
  •   More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home
  •   Cognitive Surplus
  •   Rapid Problem Solving with Post-It Notes
  •   Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  •   Kitchens That Work
  •   Rocket Surgery Made Easy
  •   Rework
  •   Unfolding the Napkin
  •   Switch: How to Change When Change Is Hard
  •   JavaScript Patterns
  •   App Savvy
  •   CSS Cookbook
  •   JavaScript Cookbook
  •   Tapworthy
  •   Regular Expressions Cookbook
  •   Apache Cookbook
  •   Search Patterns
  •   Designing Web Interfaces
  •   Designing Social Interfaces
  •   High Performance JavaScript
  •   RESTful Web Service Cookbook
  •   Start Small, Stay Small
  •  Event Processing In Action
  •  Pragmatic Version Control: Using Git
  •  Algorithms of the Intelligent Web
  •  Web Design for Developers
  •  Taming Text

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