Recently I have been taking notes on my favorite design books and I found out that several books have helped me to become who I am today.
Our industry seems to only teach about the technical aspect of the design whether it is UI or UX design. Previously, on this blog, I shared with you guys the book list that helped me become a better designer. Yet, I found myself using some new books that help me learn faster.
Learning about Learning
Perhaps the most difficult thing about the UX design field is that it is new. Thus, it is always changing with new trends. While the fundamentals help you stay on top, it is important to have the ability to learn fast but also to retain new knowledge.
Thus, I found it helpful to study books who offered practical tips on how to improve my workflow but also reading about world-class performers in many different fields inspired me sometimes I lack when I stare at the color of a button in a simple design.
That is why today I will share with you the top 3 books that I like to go back to improve my learning methods but also get inspired along the way:
If anybody knows how to become a master of a craft it is Josh Waitzkin. A world champion in chess at an early age was not enough for him to master other topics. He became world champ also in
“Growth comes at the point of resistance. We learn by pushing ourselves and finding what really lies at the outer reaches of our abilities.”
“It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set.”
When you should read it
I think one should read Josh Waitzkin's book each time we want to feel comfortable about where we are or when we just don't want to study something basic. Throughout Josh's book, you get to see how strong fundamentals in basic with a combination of boldness creates the people who raise and manage to stay at the top of their fields.
The inspiration that comes from Josh cannot be overstated because when you are reading the book you do realize he is not the smartest person in the room. He is not the most athletic one either but he might well be the wisest by the way he reacted to failures and setbacks.
Maybe that makes all the difference.
Now, Peter C.Brown's work compared to Josh's is a bit different. Hers is research-based but also comes with her past of teaching young students. She offers amazing practical insights on how to retain information for any subject you practice.
This book actually teaches you what not to do better than what to do in my experience. After reading this book, I stopped passively rereading the same books all over again.
“Rereading has three strikes against it. It is time consuming. It doesn’t result in durable memory. And it often involves a kind of unwitting self-deception, as growing familiarity with the text comes to feel like mastery of the content. The hours immersed in rereading can seem like due diligence, but the amount of study time is no measure of mastery.”
“We are poor judges of when we are learning well and when we’re not. When the going is harder and slower and it doesn’t feel productive, we are drawn to strategies that feel more fruitful, unaware that the gains from these strategies are often temporary.”
When you should read it
If you have been putting in a lot of effort to get better at UX design but your process is minimal maybe it is time for you to read this book to change how you learn new material.
This book is a weird one. Robert Greene studied the most successful people of various crafts such as Thomas Edison or Charles Darwin and he writes about the patterns he found on how to achieve exceptional mastery in a field.
Now, while Robert Greene's books are not statistically sound, they are full of advice on people who already left a legacy to our societies. Thus, it is a worthy book to have on your bookshelf when you are confused and you find yourself asking:
"What would Leonardo Da Vinci would do?"
Then you will like this book.
"Those qualities that separate us are often ridiculed by others or criticized by teachers. Because of these judgments, we might see our strengths as disabilities and try to work around them to fit in. But anything peculiar to our makeup is precisely what we must pay the deepest attention to and lean on in our rise to mastery.”
“Most people don't have the patience to absorb their minds in the fine points and minutiae that are intrinsically part of their work. They are in a hurry to create effects and make a splash; they think in large brush strokes. Their work inevitably reveals their lack of attention to detail - it doesn't connect deeply with the public, and it feels flimsy.”
When you should read it
You should read this book when you want to know what it takes to become a legend in a field and not just a master. Robert Greene did not study exceptional painters or exceptional innovators. He studied the peak of the peak. The cream.
Call to Action
Hey guys, that is it. Those are the 3 books I usually go back to. What are the books you read in your life that made you become faster learners? Write in comments below ;)