Don Norman

Don Norman

Design thinker, company advisor, professor, columnist, author, ... Latest book: Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded.

6 Book Recommendations by Don Norman

  • Garrett Eckbo (1910-1996) was one of the most highly respected and influential American modernist landscape architects. He worked assiduously to overthrow the Beaux-Arts system of landscape design and to develop an approach that would address the social and economic challenges of the modern world. Eckbo rejected the centrality of nature as a psychological and spiritual source of inspiration, criticizing the "palliative" introduction of nature into cities in parks designed by Olmsted and other nineteenth-century landscape architects and arguing instead for a scientific method that would provide a model for a new approach to landscape design entirely free of preconceptions. Deliberately experimental, Eckbo's designs were centered on the garden, which he believed was the prototype for all landscape design. His built work was influenced by modernist European architecture, modern art, and vernacular landscape traditions. Published in 1950, Landscape for Living presents a synthesis of Eckbo's thinking and professional work and sets forth his theoretical approach to achieving the "total landscape." Illustrations throughout the book feature his own designs for gardens, parks, and institutional projects, group housing from his graduate years, work for the Farm Security Administration, and projects by the firm of Eckbo, Royston and Williams. David C. Streatfield's introduction chronicles Eckbo's life to 1950, from his lonely childhood through his rebellious years at Harvard and well into his distinguished early career as a landscape designer, prolific author, and committed social activist, interpreting Eckbo's densely written text as a reflection of this history

    Someone complained that my book “Living with complexity” didn’t discuss complexity theory. I said my book was not about complexity, it was about simplicity. Complexity is in the world, simplicity is in the mind. (See next tweet .)

  • As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society—on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health—Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: will these machines help us, or will they replace us? In the past decade alone, Google introduced us to driverless cars, Apple debuted a personal assistant that we keep in our pockets, and an Internet of Things connected the smaller tasks of everyday life to the farthest reaches of the internet. There is little doubt that robots are now an integral part of society, and cheap sensors and powerful computers will ensure that, in the coming years, these robots will soon act on their own. This new era offers the promise of immense computing power, but it also reframes a question first raised more than half a century ago, at the birth of the intelligent machine: Will we control these systems, or will they control us? In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web, offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers. Over the recent years, the pace of technological change has accelerated dramatically, reintroducing this difficult ethical quandary with newer and far weightier consequences. As Markoff chronicles the history of automation, from the birth of the artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation communities in the 1950s, to the modern day brain trusts at Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, and on to the expanding tech corridor between Boston and New York, he traces the different ways developers have addressed this fundamental problem and urges them to carefully consider the consequences of their work. We are on the verge of a technological revolution, Markoff argues, and robots will profoundly transform the way our lives are organized. Developers must now draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine, or risk upsetting the delicate balance between them.

    @TomLisankie AI = Artificial Intelligence. IA = Intelligence Augmentation. See John Markoff's wonderful book "Markoff, J. (2015). Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins.

  • The ultimate guide to human-centered design Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious -- even liberating -- book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how -- and why -- some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

    @aim2run What book? Ah, come on. The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and expanded. http://t.co/BiBNotwQs2

  • Living with Complexity

    Donald A. Norman

    If only today's technology were simpler! It's the universal lament, but it's wrong. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It's not complexity that's the problem, it's bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.Norman gives us a crash course in the virtues of complexity. Designers have to produce things that tame complexity. But we too have to do our part: we have to take the time to learn the structure and practice the skills. This is how we mastered reading and writing, driving a car, and playing sports, and this is how we can master our complex tools. Complexity is good. Simplicity is misleading. The good life is complex, rich, and rewarding -- but only if it is understandable, sensible, and meaningful.

    GA Tech to ask all 2,700 entering freshmen to read "Living with Complexity." Wow. http://t.co/VAeFT6AyZQ That's neat -- and very rewarding.

  • The ultimate guide to human-centered design Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious -- even liberating -- book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how -- and why -- some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

    @aim2run Design of Everyday Things, revised.

  • "Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review" was founded in 1979 to provide comprehensive coverage of all the major and minor books being released in the genre at that time. This was the golden era of SF publishing, with a thousand titles (old and new) hitting the stands and the bookshelves each and every year. From the older classics to the newest speculative fiction, this was the period when the best and the brightest shined forth their talents. SF&FBR included reviews by writers in the field, by amateur critics, and by litterateurs and University professors. Over a thousand books were covered during the single year of publication, many of them having been reviewed no where else, before or since. The January 1980 issue includes a comprehensive index of all the works featured during the preceding year. This reprint will be a welcome addition to the literature of science fiction and fantasy criticism. Neil Barron is a retired bibliographer and literary critic, editor of the acclaimed "Anatomy of Wonder" series. Robert Reginald was the publisher for twenty-five years of Borgo Press, and has authored over 110 books of his own."

    Book Review: Living with Complexity http://t.co/zKUdy6K1