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Books I recommend to everyone

My friend Evan asked about design books and I spouted off a few – including The Systems Bible, which I now feel guilty about, because it’s not strictly a design book.

I included it because it talks about how system design fails, and it’s humorous and I think teaches some larger truths. It was originally published as “the general theory of systemantics” — a portmanteau of system and semantics — but also a pun, since the first law is that “a system displays antics”.

Here are some more book recommendations, broadly disorganized.

In politics and philosophy:

  • Karl Popper, The open society and its enemies (2 volumes)
  • The Road to Serfdom, FA Hayek
  • In general systems design, work, and sociology:

  • The Systems Bible
  • The Peter Principle
  • In small business

  • Growing a Business
  • Under The Radar
  • In schooling

  • How Children Fail
  • How Children Learn
  • Instead of Education
  • Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
  • In government

  • unchecked and unbalanced
  • In drama and human behavior

  • Impro by Keith Jonstone
  • In parenting

  • Playful Parenting
  • Raising your Spirited Child
  • In homeschooling

  • Teach Your Own
  • The Well-Trained Mind
  • In literary analysis (and a little sociology)

  • The Outsider by Colin Wilson
  • In design

  • A Pattern Language
  • The Non-Designers Design Book
  • The Design of Everyday Things
  • In self-improvement

  • Getting Things Done
  • The Procrastination Puzzle by Tim Pychyl
  • Good Mood by Julian Simon – an unusual approach to CBT
  • How To Win Friends etc. – Dale Carnegie, still the classic
  • the happiness hypothesis – Jon Haidt
  • In Military History

  • A History of Warfare
  • The a face of Battle
  • Carnage and Culture
  • The rise and fall of the Third Reich
  • in General history

  • The Story Of The World – 4 volumes ; aimed at children aged 7-11
  • In Cognitive Psych

  • Metaphors We Live By
  • applied psych/relationships

  • The five Love Languages
  • Men are From Mars – included because a dear friend recommended it to me after his divorce and said “if only I had read this before, I might have been able to save my marriage”
  • the Good Marriage
  • Divorce & new Beginnings
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