10 Books

Heba asked me for 10 books that have stuck with me. Comments in Facebook is not the best way to make a list so I figured I’d put it here. There are many books that have had a lasting impact on me which are irrelevant now. For instance I was really inspired by many art history books about Magritte or Dali or others. But that was pre-internet and that was mostly because of the pictures.

It’s hard to stick to ten, but I’m going to try. I’m not sure how many of these translate to Kindle.

I’ll start with business. I don’t read many business books. Freekonomics, Blink and First Break All the Rules have both had an impact on how I think about life, but I’m going to stick to things I’ve actually taught from:

  • Understanding Comics – Scott Mcloud Anyone who tells visual stories or creates experiences should read this book. It’s about comics but applies to animation, web design, designing a trifold, walking into a room, etc.
  • Picture This: Perspective – Molly Bang Anyone who is interested in visual design should read this. Basic concepts that you probably know, but when she says them it changes how you think about things. Also good for people who “just don’t get” art. Great primer, and I’ve also been told that this book has taught people more than 4 years of art college.
  • Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug King of web usability. ANYONE who designs or builds ANYTHING should read this. Architects. Programmers. Product designers.

Now for some more “serious” books:

  • Enders Game – Orson Scott Card – Forget the movie please. If you saw it it might have ruined it… but this book has so much power. I’ve suggested it to a lot of teenagers and every one took something away from it.
  • Necromancer – William Gibson – “The sky was the color of a television tuned to a dead station.” Slams you through a futuristic world, rattling your brain every step of the way.
  • IT – Steven King – To me this is the ultimate story of the power of friendship. It also has some of the best pacing I’ve ever experience in a book. It takes 18 hours to read, and the first 10 hours move very slowly, but then it starts getting faster and faster. Time shifts between past and present slowly at first, then more and more quickly until you’re reading paragraph-long chapters which alternate between past and present to reach the conclusion. I read this in 2 days once while in high school (much of which was hidden under the desk while the teachers were talking about whatever high school teachers talk about in class).
  • Stardust – Neil Gaiman – Tristran (renamed Tristan in the movie adaption, and where my youngest’s name came from) travels to the fairy realm to bring back a fallen star for his true love. Lots of great character development by the author of the “Sandman” comics.
  • Harry Potter – I forget what this is about (not really).

Some books I read as a kid which meant a lot to me where:

  • Cheeper by the Dozen – Nothing to do with the movie, but about a family with 12 kids and a bombastic father who was always trying to make life more efficient. We read this on a family vacation with a number of my mom’s siblings when younger.
  • Dragonlance – Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman – Epic tale which twisted the fantasy realms I knew of slightly. A story of friendship and trust and heroism… my favorite themes.

And of course I have to add my own books to the ten:

  • Ghost Hunters – My first published book (well self-published). Over 20,000 downloads and 4 stars on the Apple Book store! Pretty proud of myself. If you know any 7-10 year olds reading short chapter books, please share!
  • Twelfth Sleep – Imagine every male on the planet fell asleep right now. What would the world look like when they woke up 24 hours later? I had the amazing fortune to work with Stephan Petrucha (who’s published 300 books) on Twelfth Sleep and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Not yet published, but if you want to be on my mailing list let me know.

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