It’s summertime, which means it’s time to kick back and relax with a good book. This summer the Doejo crew reads for entertainment and education. Here are our top picks.
Gain some odd facts or inspiration from these books:
Jay Hoppie, Project Manager
“The Drunken Botanist” and “The World Until Yesterday”
The Drunken Botanist explores the ingredients and histories that make up the world’s most famous drinks. It’s a interesting read that I like to pick up and flip to a random section when I just a have a few minutes. Jared Diamond wrote one of my favorite books, “Guns, Germs and Steel,” a book that explores cultural anthropology and the natural factors that shaped the modern world. I hope that “The World Until Yesterday” is as insightful.
Rachel Vorm, Designer
“Bossypants” and “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta”
I am finishing up “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. Although it’s not about design specifically, she does touch a lot on her experiences in the show business world and struggles with creativity and being a woman in the comedy world, etc. and when to lead and when to follow. I liked her honesty about not always being confident or sure of herself. [I am] also starting [“Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta”]. It’s pretty cool in that it’s personal diary entries. I think it will be an enlightening and interesting read, but also very humbling. Even Mother Teresa, who a lot of people think of as this angel that people couldn’t possibly live like — people see her like an anomaly etc. — she still had doubts and tribulations like any human. I think she is a good role model and it is possible for people to live like her, many just choose not to.
John Lendman, Copywriter
“Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors”
You’ll never think of your favorite authors the same way again, but you may be inspired to take a few more trips to the bookstore. This lit history book succinctly profiles seditious writers like the sexual-deviant de Sade and Lord Byron; the opium-crazed Coleridge and Quincey; hedonistic English Decadents like Wilde and Dowson; Lost Generation American stalwarts like the Fitzgeralds and Hemingway; Beat Generation agitators Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs; and even current controversial writers like Bret Easton Ellis and James Frey, among others. Literary Rogues is a combination of history, wit, analysis and just great storytelling of mad men and impassioned women struggling through alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addiction, depression and other plights. Before there were rock stars caught in possession of pot, there were novelists jailed for indoctrinating youth in poetry and prose — and that’s pretty bad ass, I think.
Adam Kois, Motion Graphics
“This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It
It was the followup to the book “John Dies at the End.” I liked the first one better. Pretty funny read; made me LOL many a times. Basically two friends are at a party in bumble-fuck, Illinois. One takes a dose of this black drug called “soy sauce,” which when taken allows the user to escape reality. Time is no longer relevant (skip forwards and backwards, travel the universe, freeze time) and it also allows them to see “dark things” from another dimension. These dark figures / spiders start to leak into this world and they have to save human kind… lol. Pretty cool thing is that this guy started the first book just on a blog and eventually everyone really liked the story so he put it together into a full book.
Darren Marshall, Co-founder and COO
Written over 20 years ago, but still an incredibly relevant cyber thriller. [Neal Stephenson] masterfully weaves in virtual reality [and] a massively privatized military industrial complex that has gone almost completely digital. While reading you recognize so many modern applications, some say have inspired services like Twitter, Second Life, BitTorrent, BitCoin, etc. Stephenson also crafted in incredible references to ancient Sumerian culture, and how their “nam shubs” (recipes written on clay tablets) were the earliest examples of programming; humans the CPUl. That by sharing and reading these “scripts” you were actually programming the body to output real things … bake bread, brew beer, grow crops, irrigation, etc. [“Snow Crash” is] almost a DaVinci Code-style weaving of real history with sci-fi; fun stuff.
Gain some knowledge with these picks:
Noah Rothschild, VP Sales & Darren Marshall, Co-founder and COO
Noah: [“Outliers” takes a] fascinating look at how society misattributes the causes of individual success. [It] debunks many notions of how business tycoons and geniuses aren’t “self made men”—not that hard work isn’t a key ingredient, but rather, wildly successful people the beneficiaries of tremendous opportunities. Context is key. As my uncle once told me, “good luck is the result of hard work and timing.”
Darren: An incredibly insightful look, through countless examples, into the patterns and commonalities of the success case, which at first glance might come off as pure coincidence.
Keanan Koppenhaver, Intern Developer
“Freakonomics” and “Nudge”
I really liked [“Freakonomics”] because it favors looking at data over just making blind assumptions and really does turn many things I previously thought on their heads. At its core, it’s a book about how everyone operates according to incentives and how sometimes those incentives are obscured, but you can get at them through data. The things they link together are always interesting too. You find that real estate agents and pimps, as well as sumo wrestlers and teachers, have more in common than you think. Along that line, “Nudge” looks at all the interesting ways people make decisions. A lot of the book is spent talking about ways to design things to make them more intuitive, making default options more common sense and the like. I think it really relates to the interface design and stuff that we do. Basically how to improve the decision-making process and help people make better choices.
Sam Bohne, Intern Copywriter
The Associated Press Stylebook and “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income”
For all of you word nerds, summer is the perfect time to brush up on AP Style. It’s easy to forget the rules, but with this journalists’ bible almost all of your word questions can be answered. When I was in J-school I spent hours editing articles with this trusty guide by my side. Another one of my favorite books from college was “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income.” I had to read it for a blogging class and learned a lot about the proper blogging terms and how to make money through advertisements.
Timur Zaynullin, UI/UX
“Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception”
Imagine how different your life would be if you could tell whether someone was lying or telling you the truth. Be it hiring a new employee, investing in a financial interest, speaking with your child about drugs, confronting your significant other about suspected infidelity, or even dating someone new, having the ability to unmask a lie can have far-reaching and even life-altering consequences.
Bryan Paronto, Developer
*Images from Amazon.com*