Primary focus areas include design, branding, working smarter, and exploring the entrepreneurial mindset.
1. Freelance Design In Practice by Cathy Fishel
Product Description: As a designer, it’s easy to take on a freelance project here and there to expand your creativity and increase your income. But very quickly, such projects begin to have legal and financial ramifications. Freelance Design in Practice addresses these issues as well as explaining exactly what it takes to create a full-time freelance business. For both active freelancers and those who aspire to it, Freelance Design in Practice offers insight and advice from working professionals who have successfully jumped the many hurdles on the road to becoming solo practitioners.
As a designer, it’s easy to take on a freelance project here and there to expand your creativity and increase your income. But very quickly, such projects begin to have legal and financial ramifications. Freelance Design in Practice addresses these issues as well as explaining exactly what it takes to create a full-time freelance business. For both active freelancers and those who aspire to it, Freelance Design in Practice offers insight and advice from working professionals who have successfully jumped the many hurdles on the road to becoming solo practitioners.
2. 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers by Steve Gordon Jr. with Laurel Saville
Product Description: Good habits are found in every part of the design process, from promoting yourself well in order to land the client, to working with that client, to achieving the desired results on press. 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers reveals solutions from a wide range of freelance designers whose years of experience have helped them find not only the most creative solutions for their clients’ design needs, but also the most successful solutions. This book also focuses on the daily habits that inspire these designers to stay creative and business strategies to be successful when working on your own.
3. Vital Friends by Tom Rand
Product Description: (Excerpt) What’s the quickest way to ruin a friendship? Do great friendships have anything in common? Are close friendships in the workplace such a bad thing?
These are just a few of the questions that #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath asked when he embarked on a massive study about the impact of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored through the literature, conducted several experiments, and analyzed more than 8 million interviews from The Gallup Organization’s worldwide database.
His team’s discoveries produced Vital Friends, a book that challenges long-held assumptions people have about their relationships. And the team’s landmark discovery – that people who have a “best friend at work” are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job – is sure to rattle the structure of organizations around the world.
Drawing on research and case studies from topics as diverse as management, marriage, and architecture, Vital Friends reveals what’s common to all truly essential friendships: a regular focus on what each person is contributing to the friendship – rather than the all-too-common approach of expecting one person to be everything.
4. The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier
Product Description: Not since McLuhan’s THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE has a book compressed so many ideas into so few pages. Using the visual language of the boardroom, Neumeier presents the first unified theory of branding—a set of five disciplines to help companies bridge the gap between brand strategy and customer experience. Those with a grasp of branding will be inspired by the new perspectives they find here, and those who would like to understand it better will suddenly “get it.” This deceptively simple book offers everyone in the company access to “the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet.”
5. Zag – The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier
Product Description: In an age of me-too products and instant communications, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. Today you have to out-position, out-maneuver, and out-design the competition. The new rule? When everybody zigs, zag. In his first book, THE BRAND GAP, Neumeier showed companies how to bridge the distance between business strategy and design. In ZAG, he illustrates the number-one strategy of high-performance brands—radical differentiation.
6. The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier
Product Description: “The complex business problems we face today can’t be solved with the same thinking that created them,” says author Marty Neumeier in this entertaining and original read. Instead, he says, we need to start from a place outside traditional business thinking. In an era of fast-moving markets and leap-frogging innovations, we can no longer “decide” the way forward. Today we have to “design” the way forward—or risk ending up in the fossil layers of business history.
This is the third in the author’s bestselling series of “whiteboard overviews.” In his first, THE BRAND GAP, he addressed the gulf between business strategy and customer experience. In his second, ZAG, he explored the number-one strategy of high-performance brands. In the third, THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY, he shows how design thinking can build a culture of nonstop innovation. “If you wanna innovate,” he says, “you gotta design.”
7. Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Product Description: “Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.
Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.
What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.
With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of “downsizing,” and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.”
8. Change by Design by Tim Brown
Product Description: The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. In reality, most innovations are borne from rigor and discipline. Breakthrough ideas—whether for a new bicycle, an advertising campaign, a treatment plan for diabetes, or a program aimed at tackling the national obesity epidemic—emerge not by chance, but by studying and embracing the immediate challenges we encounter every day in our offices and homes, laboratories and hospitals, classrooms and conference rooms, and in all the spaces in between. We don’t simply realize solutions; we design them.
In this book Tim Brown, CEO of the celebrated innovation and design firm IDEO, introduces us to design thinking. Design is not just about creating elegant objects or beautifying the world around us. The best designers match necessity to utility, constraint to possibility, and need to demand. These design thinkers rely on rigorous observations of how we use spaces and the objects and services that occupy them; they discover patterns where others see complexity and confusion; they synthesize new ideas from seemingly disparate fragments; and they convert problems into opportunities. Design thinking is a method in which genius, in the end, is not required.
Design thinking is valuable not just in so-called creative industries or for people tasked with designing products. Rather, it is often most powerful when applied to abstract, multifaceted problems: improving a guest experience at a hotel, encouraging bank customers to save more, or developing a compelling narrative for a public-service campaign. It has been used by organizations such as Nokia to rethink global gaming and by the Department of Energy to encourage conservation. Design thinking is now being applied to address a wide range of issues and concerns, from the delivery of clean drinking water in the developing world to improving the efficacy of airport security and microfinancing.
This is not a book by designers for designers; this is a blueprint for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking—an approach for creative problem solving—into all facets of their organizations, products, or services to discover new alternatives for business and society as a whole.
Written with imagination, humor, and vision, this vital and inspiring guide is essential reading for anyone confronting the challenges of today in order to create the opportunities of tomorrow.
9. Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
Product Description: A fascinating journey into the hidden psychological influences that derail our decision-making, Sway will change the way you think about the way you think.
Why is it so difficult to sell a plummeting stock or end a doomed relationship? Why do we listen to advice just because it came from someone “important”? Why are we more likely to fall in love when there’s danger involved? In Sway, renowned organizational thinker Ori Brafman and his brother, psychologist Rom Brafman, answer all these questions and more.
Drawing on cutting-edge research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior, Sway reveals dynamic forces that influence every aspect of our personal and business lives, including loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses), the diagnosis bias (our inability to reevaluate our initial diagnosis of a person or situation), and the “chameleon effect” (our tendency to take on characteristics that have been arbitrarily assigned to us).
Every once in a while, a book comes along that not only challenges our views of the world but changes the way we think. In Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman not only uncover rational explanations for a wide variety of irrational behaviors but also point readers toward ways to avoid succumbing to their pull.
10. Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
Product Description: How the world’s leading innovators push their ideas to fruition, time and time again.
Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Ideas for new businesses, solutions to the world’s problems, and artistic breakthroughs are common, but great execution is rare.
According to Scott Belsky, the capacity to make ideas happen can be strengthened by anyone willing to build their organizational habits and harness the forces of community. That’s why he founded Behance, a company that helps creative people and teams across industries develop these skills.
Belsky has spent six years studying the habits of especially productive creative people and teams-the ones who make their ideas happen time and time again. After interviewing hundreds of successful creatives, he has compiled their most powerful-and often counterintuitive-practices, such as:
In an increasingly flexible and entrepreneurial environment, creative minds have the opportunity (and responsibility) to solve and change industries-but they can only do that if they overcome the obstacles. While many of us obsess about discovering great new ideas, Belsky shows why it’s better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.
11. You’re Better than Your Job Search by Marc Cenedella and Matthew Rothenberg
Product Description: You’ve made the decision that it’s time to move on. Or, the decision may have been made for you. The basic goals remain the same, but parts of the process may have changed since your last real job search – and you’ve likely changed, too. You need the latest directions for advanced career management. You’re Better Than Your Job Search is an informative guidebook that provides easy-to-understand best practices and tools to help you keep your job search on track. * Crafting an Advertisement (Resume) * What’s your 30-Second Elevator Pitch? * Selling vs. Telling During Interviews * What You Can Learn From Politicians * Negotiating the Right Salary – You First! * The First 90 Days – Now What? You’re Better Than Your Job Search takes you on a journey through the chasm that too often separates the people who are looking to hire and those looking to be hired. Shining a light into that void, you will discover that it’s not nearly as baffling as it may look. You’re Better Than You’re Job Search takes the mystery out of the job search process and removes the confusion, frustration and fear from one of the important decisions of your life.
12. Linchpin by Seth Godin
Product Description (Excerpt): “The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organizations and people care deeply about.”
In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is different. It’s about you – your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.
There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.
13. Prelude to Foundation by Issac Asimov
Book Description: For the first time Asimov chronicles the life of Hari Seldon, the man who laid the framework for the universe that came to be known as the Foundation. The long-awaited overture to the greatest science fiction series of all time. “Asimov’s storytelling skills have never been keener.”–Denver Post. HC: Doubleday.
14. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Product Description: In his first book, Tony Hsieh – the hip, iconoclastic, and widely-admired CEO of Zappos, the online shoe retailer – - explains how he created a corporate culture with a commitment to service that aims to improve the lives of its employees, customers, vendors, and backers. Using anecdotes and stories from his own life experiences, and from other companies, Hsieh provides concrete ways that companies can achieve unprecedented success. He details many of the unique practices at Zappos, such as their philosophy of allocating marketing money into the customer experience, the importance of Zappos’s Core Values (“Deliver WOW through Service”), and the reason why Zappos’s number one priority is company culture and his belief that once you get the culture right, everything else – great customer service, long-term branding – will happen on its own. Finally, Delivering Happiness explains how Zappos employees actually apply the Core Values to improving their lives outside of work, proving that creating happiness and record results go hand-in-hand.