2008

Industrial Design

1. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley, Jonathan Littman, Tom Peters

Amazon.com Review: IDEO, the widely admired, award-winning design and development firm that brought the world the Apple mouse, Polaroid’s I-Zone instant camera, the Palm V, and hundreds of other cutting-edge products and services, reveals its secrets for fostering a culture and process of continuous innovation.

There isn’t a business in America that doesn’t want to be more creative in its thinking, products, and processes. At many companies, being first with a concept and first to market are critical just to survive. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley, general manager of the Silicon Valley based design firm IDEO, takes readers behind the scenes of this wildly imaginative and energized company to reveal the strategies and secrets it uses to turn out hit after hit.

IDEO doesn’t buy into the myth of the lone genius working away in isolation, waiting for great ideas to strike. Kelley believes everyone can be creative, and the goal at his firm is to tap into that wellspring of creativity in order to make innovation a way of life. How does it do that? IDEO fosters an atmosphere conducive to freely expressing ideas, breaking the rules, and freeing people to design their own work environments. IDEO’s focus on teamwork generates countless breakthroughs, fueled by the constant give-and-take among people ready to share ideas and reap the benefits of the group process. IDEO has created an intense, quick-turnaround, brainstorm-and-build process dubbed “the Deep Dive.”

In entertaining anecdotes, Kelley illustrates some of his firm’s own successes (and joyful failures), as well as pioneering efforts at other leading companies. The book reveals how teams research and immerse themselves in every possible aspect of a new product or service, examining it from the perspective of clients, consumers, and other critical audiences.

2. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough, Michael Braungart

Amazon.com Review: A manifesto for a radically different philosophy and practice of manufacture and environmentalism.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” urge environmentalists; in other words, do more with less in order to minimize damage. As William McDonough and Michael Braungart argue in their provocative, visionary book, however, this approach perpetuates a one-way, “cradle to grave” manufacturing model that dates to the Industrial Revolution and casts off as much as 90 percent of the materials it uses as waste, much of it toxic. Why not challenge the notion that human industry must inevitably damage the natural world, they ask.

In fact, why not take nature itself as our model? A tree produces thousands of blossoms in order to create another tree, yet we do not consider its abundance wasteful but safe, beautiful, and highly effective; hence, “waste equals food” is the first principle the book sets forth. Products might be designed so that, after their useful life, they provide nourishment for something new-either as “biological nutrients” that safely re-enter the environment or as “technical nutrients” that circulate within closed-loop industrial cycles, without being “downcycled” into low-grade uses (as most “recyclables” now are).

Elaborating their principles from experience (re)designing everything from carpeting to corporate campuses, the authors make an exciting and viable case for change.

Interpersonal

1. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden

Amazon.com Review: Nathaniel Branden’s book is the culmination of a lifetime of clinical practice and study, already hailed in its hardcover edition as a classic and the most significant work on the topic.  Immense in scope and vision and filled with insight into human motivation and behavior, The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem is essential reading for anyone with a personal or professional interest in self-esteem. The book demonstrates compellingly why self-esteem is basic to psychological health, achievement, personal happiness, and positive relationships.  Branden introduces the six pillars-six action-based practices for daily living that provide the foundation for self-esteem-and explores the central importance of self-esteem in five areas: the workplace, parenting, education, psychotherapy, and the culture at large.  The work provides concrete guidelines for teachers, parents, managers, and therapists who are responsible for developing the self-esteem of others.  And it shows why-in today’s chaotic and competitive world-self-esteem is fundamental to our personal and professional power.

2. Mistakes were Made by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Amazon.com Review: Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?

Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.

3. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Amazon.com Review: None.

4. The Power of Body Language: How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter by Tonya Reiman

Amazon.com Review: Nationally renowned body language expert Tonya Reiman illuminates what until now has been a gray area in interpersonal communication: harnessing the power of your nonverbal cues to get what you want out of every aspect of life, from professional encounters to personal relationships.

Unlike other books on this fascinating topic, The Power of Body Language is your practical, personal playbook for getting what you desire from others — and zoning in on what others are saying to you without words. Once you know the hidden meaning behind specific gestures, facial cues, stances, and body movements, you will possess a sixth sense that can be a life-changing, career-saving, trouble-shooting skill you will never leave home without!

5. The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara Pease, Allan Pease

Amazon.com Review: Available for the first time in the United States, this international bestseller reveals the secrets of nonverbal communication to give you confidence and control in any face-to-face encounter–from making a great first impression and acing a job interview to finding the right partner.

It is a scientific fact that people’s gestures give away their true intentions. Yet most of us don’t know how to read body language–and don’t realize how our own physical movements speak to others. Now the world’s foremost experts on the subject share their techniques for reading body language signals to achieve success in every area of life.

Drawing upon more than thirty years in the field, as well as cutting-edge research from evolutionary biology, psychology, and medical technologies that demonstrate what happens in the brain, the authors examine each component of body language and give you the basic vocabulary to read attitudes and emotions through behavior.

6. There Must be More Than This by Judith Wright

Amazon.com Review: There IS more than this and you can have it! What keeps us from living the rich, fulfilling lives we desire? Judith Wright has found that too often we are tripped up by our dependence on seemingly harmless habits like shopping, watching TV, gossiping, and surfing the net. These are soft addictions, and they form a powerful net that traps us, preventing us from having more love and meaning in our lives. They fill up our time, but leave us feeling empty, asking, “Is this all there is to life? There must be more than this.”

Judith Wright’s fresh perspective and proven program invite you to overcome your soft addictions and discover MORE–a full, engaging life of more intimacy, purpose, joy, satisfaction and love. She promises a life in which you advance your goals and your vision every day. You will live more purposefully and feel more intensely, stop asking the small questions and start asking the big ones. You will fill your life with meaningful activity, and your soft addictions will fall away.

Relationships

1. If Love is a Game, These are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

Amazon.com Review: “Authentic love thrives on honesty and shimmers with truth … [it] flexes and bends with the fluctuating needs and changes of each partner.” Whether you’re looking for a relationship or seeking to improve the one you’re in, If Love Is a Game, These Are the Rules packs a wallop. Author Cherie Carter-Scott has figured out what makes relationships work–and fail–and she doles out insightful advice. Carter-Scott follows the same format as her successful If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules; she presents the 10 rules and expands each in its own chapter, with plenty of anecdotes to clarify how these rules play out. The 10 rules may seem obvious at first glance (e.g., “Negotiation will be required” and “Your relationship will be challenged by change”), but Carter-Scott keeps scoping out deeper and deeper levels and teaching practical exercises for using the information. For example, rule 3 is “Creating Love Is a Process.” Sure, we know that. But she describes each step of the process–1, connection; 2, exploration; 3, evaluation; 4, building intimacy; 5, commitment–and presents an array of strategies for making the most of each one. Following Carter-Scott’s rules can’t help but improve your relationship–or the likelihood of finding the right one! –Joan Price

2. Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason, M.S. and Randi Kreger

Amazon.com Review: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Coping When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder is a self-help guide that helps the family members and friends of individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) understand this self-destructive disorder and learn what they can do to cope with it and take care of themselves. It is designed to help them understand how the disorder affects their loved ones and recognize what they can do to get off the emotional roller coasters and take care of themselves.