The books we learn from
We might have mentioned it, but we like to stress it one more time: We. Love. To. Read. The past year we had more time to read than ever which normally would lead to countless heated discussions around the coffee machine. Not being able to do that, we decided to select our favorite reads from 2020 and share them with you.
Robert Stöhr (Tribe Lead) - Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
This book caught my attention through a lively Twitter discussion. The author Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician had made it his life mission to educate the educated ones about basic misconceptions we all have about the world. Our world is secretly, but steadily, becoming a better place. Hans calls this ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’.
Did you know for example that we cut the number of people living in extreme poverty by more than half in the last decade?! In these strange times, where it sometimes seems that everything is just going to waste, this book helped me realise that positivism, hope and progress can be found everywhere if you overcome your natural biases. I’d strongly recommend it to everybody who’s tired of day-to-day news and is open to a more fact-based approach in judging our world state.
Hannes Van de Velde (CPO) - Org Design for Design Orgs by Peter Merholz & Kristin Skinner
This is the one book that has been lying on my desk for the last two years. Not because it’s just collecting dust and waiting to be read, but because I keep reading parts of it over and over again. By now, it’s covered with notes, markups and dog ears.
Written by industry veterans Peter Merholz & Kristin Skinner, the book provides a very hands-on and accessible overview of digital experience design and how you can stimulate the role and value of design throughout an organization.
While there are plenty of great books about digital and user experience design, this is one of the few books that deeply covers the crucial, complex and often overlooked aspect of how to organize design throughout a company.
Whether you’re a designer looking to better understand your place in the universe, a design leader looking to grow your team and its impact on the overall organization or a business leader looking to understand how design adds strategic value, this book will be your go-to guide.
Inge Van den Bussche (Tribe Lead) - Corporate Rebels (Make Work More Fun) by Pim de Morree
In Corporate Rebels, you’ll read stories and interviews with inspiring pioneers who did their part in changing their work environment. Some of the stories you might already know (Patagonia or Netflix for example), but others will definitely surprise you. The book shows us that we can all be a corporate rebel and start changing things around us. Topics like transparency, decision-making, supportive leadership, distributed authority… It’s all covered. The authors offer a number of pioneering best practices from around the globe. Very insightful.
Another must-read I would like to mention is “Moose Heads On the Table” by Lisa Gill & Karin Tenelius. This book tells similar stories, all in the region of Sweden. It focuses on how to become an effective self-managing team or organization. The key ingredient? Creating a culture of mandate and involvement. The rest, I’ll leave for you to discover.
Greet Bontinck (Digital Business Strategist) - Creative Confidence by Tom & David Kelley
Last summer, I really enjoyed reading the book ‘Creative Confidence’. As co-founders of design firm IDEO and Stanford University’s hub for design thinking, the authors can definitely be considered design gurus. Whether you’re already familiar with design thinking or not, it’s absolutely well worth the read!
The book demystifies the aura around creativity and starts from the premise that anyone can learn how to be creative. The book contains a lot of specific but simple stories that prove the power of tapping into your creativity, especially in a traditional business environment. It also contains various exercises to train our creative muscles. For those that practice design thinking every day, this book is a good reminder to come back to think about creativity on a rudimentary level.
Ben Jansen (Senior Product Designer) - The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
In every human endeavor there are two arenas of engagement: the outer and the inner. The outer game is played on an external arena to overcome external obstacles in order to reach an external goal. The inner game takes place within the mind of the player and is played against obstacles such as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus and limiting concepts or assumptions. The inner game is played to overcome the self-imposed constraints that prevent an individual or team from accessing their full potential.
A must-read for everyone that wants to improve themselves, no matter in which area. The book focuses on tennis, but can be extrapolated to a lot more. It discusses topics such as how to teach yourself new skills, while providing you with a ‘spiritual framework’ that gives a kind of peace and maturity while developing that skill. The author cites topics such as meditation, concentration, flow and goes deeper into the mental aspect that is necessary to teach yourself something in a natural way.
If you don’t want to be the worst ping pong player in the office after lockdown, you should read this book.