2009

Interpersonal

1. Blink by Malcom Gladwell

Amazon.com Review: Blink is about the first two seconds of looking–the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars, and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of “thin slices” of behavior. The key is to rely on our “adaptive unconscious”–a 24/7 mental valet–that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger, or react to a new idea.

Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us “mind blind,” focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to “the Warren Harding Effect” (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president). In a provocative chapter that exposes the “dark side of blink,” he illuminates the failure of rapid cognition in the tragic stakeout and murder of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx. He underlines studies about autism, facial reading and cardio uptick to urge training that enhances high-stakes decision-making. In this brilliant, cage-rattling book, one can only wish for a thicker slice of Gladwell’s ideas about what Blink Camp might look like. –Barbara Mackoff

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Book Description: For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.  Now this previously revised and updated bestseller is available in trade paperback for the first time to help you achieve your maximum potential throughout the next century! Learn:

  • Three fundamental techniques in handling people
  • The six ways to make people like you
  • The twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
  • The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

Design

1. The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda

Amazon.com Review: Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We’re rebelling against technology that’s too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte “read me” manuals. The iPod’s clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that’s simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design—guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.

2. The Information Design Handbook by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady

Product Description: [...] The best information design often goes “unnoticed” by the viewer because it conveys information so quickly and effectively. The Information Design Handbook celebrates graphics that are exemplars of communication and esthetics, and reveals the thought processes and design skills behind them. This comprehensive guide to creating information graphics is packed with essential design principles, case studies, color palettes, trouble-shooting tips, and much more. Designers will learn to achieve graphics that are visually striking yet concise and supremely funcitional with this must-have resource.

Photography

1. Within the Frame: : The Journey of Photographic Vision by David DuChemin

Book Description: Within the Frame is a book about finding and expressing your photographic vision, specifically where people, places, and cultures are concerned. A personal book full of real-world wisdom and incredible images, author David duChemin (of pixelatedimage.com) shows you both the how and the why of finding, chasing, and expressing your vision with a camera to your eye. Vision leads to passion, and passion is a cornerstone of great photography. With it, photographs draw the eye in and create an emotional experience. Without it, a photograph is often not worth—and can’t capture—a viewer’s attention.

Both instructional and inspirational, Within the Frame helps you on your photographic journey to make better images of the places and people you love, whether they are around the world or in your own backyard. duChemin covers how to tell stories, and the technology and tools we have at our disposal in order to tell those narratives. Most importantly, he stresses the crucial theme of vision when it comes to photographing people, places, and cultures—and he helps you cultivate and find your own vision, and then fit it within the frame.

Health, Mind and Body

1. Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Book Description: Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.

2. Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Book Description: Peaks and Valleys is a story of a young man who lives unhappily in a valley until he meets an old man who lives on a peak, and it changes his work and life forever.

Initially, the young man does not realize he is talking with one of the most peaceful and successful people in the world. However, through a series of conversations and experiences that occur up on peaks and down in valleys, the young man comes to make some startling discoveries.

Eventually, he comes to understand how he can use the old man’s remarkable principles and practical tools in good and bad times and becomes more calm and successful himself.

Now you can take a similar journey through the story and use what you find to your advantage in your own work and life.

Business and Investing

1. What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010: A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changers by Richard N.Bolles

Product Description: There is no book that is more vital to job-hunting in this economy than WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? It has been honored and celebrated for nearly 40 years, but in our current global recession, the reason why it is so popular becomes painfully apparent: It works! People buy the book because it really, really works! Every year it has more timely and more helpful information than the year before, because it is updated, and often dramatically rewritten, for the current job market. But it always brings with it decades of experience and a worldwide network of contacts.

In good times, people use this book because it helps them find a new direction, change careers, and then move on with life. But it is in hard times that the book’s true value is revealed. It teaches ways to find jobs when supposedly there are no jobs, and it provides a step-by-step plan (called the Flower Exercise) that gives people the edge over other job-hunters. Yes, in hard times like these, PARACHUTE becomes a lifesaver and a survival guide.

Fiction

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Product Description: The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.

The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.