What are the best books about building incredible products?
Book mentions in this thread
by Ken Kocienda* WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * An insider's account of Apple's creative process during the golden years of Steve Jobs. Hundreds of millions of people use Apple products every day; several thousand work on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California; but only a handful sit at the drawing board. Creative Selection recounts the life of one of the few who worked behind the scenes, a highly-respected software engineer who worked in the final years of the Steve Jobs era—the Golden Age of Apple. Ken Kocienda offers an inside look at Apple’s creative process. For fifteen years, he was on the ground floor of the company as a specialist, directly responsible for experimenting with novel user interface concepts and writing powerful, easy-to-use software for products including the iPhone, the iPad, and the Safari web browser. His stories explain the symbiotic relationship between software and product development for those who have never dreamed of programming a computer, and reveal what it was like to work on the cutting edge of technology at one of the world's most admired companies. Kocienda shares moments of struggle and success, crisis and collaboration, illuminating each with lessons learned over his Apple career. He introduces the essential elements of innovation—inspiration, collaboration, craft, diligence, decisiveness, taste, and empathy—and uses these as a lens through which to understand productive work culture. An insider's tale of creativity and innovation at Apple, Creative Selection shows readers how a small group of people developed an evolutionary design model, and how they used this methodology to make groundbreaking and intuitive software which countless millions use every day.
Coders at Work
Made in Japan
by Akio MoritaCo-founded 40 years ago, by a young engineer named Akio Morita, Sony is now one of the most powerful and respected multinational corporations in the world, and Morita is its outspoken chairman. This autobiography charts the growth of the company, from the initial attempts to make a tape recorder to the sales of Walkman.
by Steven SquyresSteve Squyres is the face and voice of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. Squyres dreamed up the mission in 1987, saw it through from conception in 1995 to a successful landing in 2004, and serves as the principal scientist of its $400 million payload. He has gained a rare inside look at what it took for rovers Spirit and Opportunity to land on the red planet in January 2004--and knows firsthand their findings.
Failure Is Not an Option
by Gene KranzThis memoir of a veteran NASA flight director tells riveting stories from the early days of the Mercury program through Apollo 11 (the moon landing) and Apollo 13, for both of which Kranz was flight director. Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America’s manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA’s Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director’s role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the Moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers’ only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success. A fascinating firsthand account by a veteran mission controller of one of America’s greatest achievements, Failure is Not an Option reflects on what has happened to the space program and offers his own bold suggestions about what we ought to be doing in space now.
The Design of Everyday Things
by Don NormanThe 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.
The Lives of Artists
by Calvin TomkinsWhether writing about Jasper Johns or Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman or Richard Serra, Calvin Tomkins shows why it is both easier and more difficult to make art today. If art can be anything, where do you begin? For more than three decades Calvin Tomkins's incisive profiles in The New Yorker have given readers the most satisfying reports on contemporary art and artists available in any language. In Lives of the Artists ten major artists are captured in Tomkins's cool and ironic style to record the new directions art is taking during these days of limitless freedom. As formal technique and rigorous training continue to fall away, art has become an approach to living. As the author says, "the lives of contemporary artists are today so integral to what they make that the two cannot be considered in isolation." Among the artists profiled are Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, the reigning heirs of deliberately outrageous art that feeds off the allegedly corrupting influences of capitalist glut and entertainment; Matthew Barney of the pregenital obsessions; Cindy Sherman, who manages multiple transformations as she disappears into her own work; and Julian Schnabel, who has forged a second career as award-winning film director. Tomkins shows that the making of art remains among the most demanding jobs on earth.
by Marty CaganHow do today's most successful tech companies—Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla—define, design and develop the products that have earned the love of literally billions of people around the world? Perhaps surprisingly, they do it very differently than the vast majority of tech companies. In INSPIRED, technology product management thought leader Marty Cagan provides readers with a master class in how to structure and staff an empowered and effective product organization, and how to discover and deliver technology products that your customers will love—and that will work for your business. With sections on assembling the right people and skills, discovering the right product, embracing an effective yet lightweight process, scaling the product organization, and creating a strong product culture, readers can take the information they learn and immediately leverage it within their own organizations—dramatically improving their own product efforts. Whether you're an early stage startup working to get to product/market fit, or a growth-stage company working to scale your organization, or a large, long-established company trying to regain your ability to consistently deliver new value for your customers, INSPIRED will take you and your product organization to a new level of customer engagement, consistent innovation, and business success. Filled with the author's own personal stories—and profiles of some of today's most-successful product managers and technology-powered product companies, including Adobe, Apple, BBC, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix—INSPIRED will show you how to turn up the dial of your own product efforts, creating technology products your customers love. The first edition of INSPIRED, published ten years ago, established itself as the primary reference for technology product managers, and can be found on the shelves of nearly every successful technology product company worldwide. This thoroughly updated second edition shares the same objective of being the most valuable resource for technology product managers, yet it is completely new—sharing the latest practices and techniques of today's most-successful tech product companies, and the men and women behind every great product.
by Leander KahneyAn intimate look at the legendary British designer behind Apple's most iconic products - including the Apple Watch With the death of Steve Jobs in 2011, JONY IVE has become the most important person at Apple. Some would argue he always was. Steve Jobs discovered Ive in 1997, when he found the scruffy British designer toiling away in a studio surrounded by hundreds of sketches and prototypes. Jobs instantly realised he had found a talent who could reverse Apple's decline, and become his 'spiritual partner'. Their collaboration produced iconic products including the iMac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. Designs that overturned entire industries and created the world's most powerful brand. Little has been known about this shy, softly-spoken designer. Until now. This riveting book tells the story of a creative genius, from his early interest in industrial design to his meteoric rise, as well as the principles and practices that led Ive to become the designer of his generation. 'Sheds new light on technology's most-watched design team' Observer 'A real pleasure' GQ Leander Kahney has covered Apple for more than a dozen years and has written three popular books about Apple and the culture of its followers, including Inside Steve's Brain and Cult of Mac. The former news editor for Wired.com, he is currently the editor and publisher of CultofMac.com. He lives in San Francisco.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand
by Christina LaurenBy the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails. Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever. Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.
Start with why
by Simon SinekSuggesting that successful businesspeople and companies share a common inspiration that motivates them to perform beyond standard levels, an anecdotal reference explains how to apply the author's principles of "why" to everything from working culture to product development. A first book.
The Ten Faces of Innovation
by Tom KelleyA brilliant guide to fostering creativity and business innovation, The Ten Faces of Innovation shows how any individual can become an experienced architect, storyteller, caregiver or cross-pollinator...just four of the ten characters that can be adopted in different situations to create a broader range of solutions to business problems. At the start of the creative process you might be the 'anthropologist', going into the field to see how customers use and respond to products; later you might be the 'hurdler', who overcomes obstacles on the way to the finished product. The book explains with examples from business how adopting these characters can beat nay-sayers who stifle innovation.
The Third Wave
by Steve CaseThe #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller from Steve Case—the co-founder of AOL—presents “a compelling roadmap for the future…that can help us make sense of the technological changes reshaping our economy and the world. A fascinating read” (Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.org). Steve Case—a pioneer who made the Internet part of everyday life—was on the leading edge of a revolution in 1985 when he co-founded AOL, the first Internet company to go public and the most successful business of the 1990s. Back then Case was an entrepreneur in an industry that hadn’t really been invented yet, but he had a sense how dramatically the Internet would transform business and society. In The Third Wave, he uses his insights garnered from nearly four decades of working as an innovator, investor, and businessman to argue the importance of entrepreneurship and to chart a path for future innovators. We are entering, as Case explains, the “Third Wave” of the Internet. The first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the Internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the Internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leveraged the smartphone revolution. Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors such as health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. Part memoir, part manifesto, and part playbook for the future, The Third Wave explains the ways in which newly emerging technology companies will have to rethink their relationships with customers, with competitors, and with governments; and offers advice for how entrepreneurs can make winning business decisions and strategies—and how all of us can make sense of this ever-changing digital age.
The Man Who Solved the Market
by Gregory ZuckermanBestselling author and veteran Wall Street Journal reporter Zuckerman answers the question investors have been asking for decades: How did Jim Simons do it? Simons is the greatest money maker in modern financial history. His track record bests those of legendary investors including Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Ray Dalio, and George Soros..
The Bed of Procrustes
by Nassim Nicholas TalebThe Bed of Procrustes is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Antifragile, and Skin in the Game. By the author of the modern classic The Black Swan, this collection of aphorisms and meditations expresses his major ideas in ways you least expect. The Bed of Procrustes takes its title from Greek mythology: the story of a man who made his visitors fit his bed to perfection by either stretching them or cutting their limbs. It represents Taleb’s view of modern civilization’s hubristic side effects—modifying humans to satisfy technology, blaming reality for not fitting economic models, inventing diseases to sell drugs, defining intelligence as what can be tested in a classroom, and convincing people that employment is not slavery. Playful and irreverent, these aphorisms will surprise you by exposing self-delusions you have been living with but never recognized. With a rare combination of pointed wit and potent wisdom, Taleb plows through human illusions, contrasting the classical values of courage, elegance, and erudition against the modern diseases of nerdiness, philistinism, and phoniness. “Taleb’s crystalline nuggets of thought stand alone like esoteric poems.”—Financial Times
Why the Bible Is So Hard to Understand
by Steve LangfordThe Bible consists of sixty-six books that differ in narrator, context and life lesson imparted by God: no wonder it can be a daunting task for people to read and learn of the Bible's value. Author Steve Langford offers readers an insightful resource to assist in comprehending the Bible's various texts in his new book, Why the Bible is So Hard to Understand...and tips to understand it. Steve dissects the Bible from spiritual, historical and literal perspectives, creating steps and viewpoints to use for interpreting the scriptures and learning of the Bible's historical context. He also encourages readers to challenge their held beliefs of the Christian faith and realize the dual nature of scripture: human and divine. The hope is for readers to grasp the foundational truths of the Bible, experiencing spiritual transformation as they follow Jesus and uncover more of the character of God in today's fallen world.
by Phil KnightIn this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different. Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.
Fast, Cheap and Viral
by Aashish ChopraViral marketing should not be a happy accident Aashish Chopra’s first viral video was shot with close to no budget and sparing equipment. Yet, today, his content has over 350 million views and industry masters universally agree that Aashish has cracked the viral code. In Fast, Cheap and Viral, the ace marketer shares the secrets behind his success – all of them learnt and honed on his journey. This one-stop super-guide to viral video marketing gives you the low-down on: HOW TO GRAB EYEBALLS in a sea of content; HOW TO DRIVE ENGAGEMENT (because views can be bought, but engagement is earned); WHY STORYTELLING BEATS PRODUCTION VALUE and behind-the-scenes tips and tricks; HOW TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND and kill job insecurity. For every student, entrepreneur, blogger, marketing manager or leader who dreams of reaching millions on a shoestring budget, this book is the definitive manual on sustainable viral success
The Black Swan
by Nassim Nicholas TalebThe Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.” For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan. Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The most prophetic voice of all.”—GQ Praise for The Black Swan “[A book] that altered modern thinking.”—The Times (London) “A masterpiece.”—Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail “Idiosyncratically brilliant.”—Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times “The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate “[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy.”—The Wall Street Journal “Hugely enjoyable—compelling . . . easy to dip into.”—Financial Times “Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
by Safi Bahcall*Wall Street Journal bestseller *Next Big Idea Club selection—chosen by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink, and Adam Grant as one of the "two most groundbreaking new nonfiction reads of the season" *Washington Post's "10 Leadership Books to Watch for in 2019" *Inc.com's "10 Business Books You Need to Read in 2019" *Business Insider's "14 Books Everyone Will Be Reading in 2019" “This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.” —Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? What can we learn about human nature and world history from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice. Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the behavior of companies and the fate of empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries everywhere. Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. If twentieth-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the twenty-first will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply these tools to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.
Insisting On the Impossible
by Victor K. McElhenyIf a single life exemplifies the inner drive that fires a great inventor, it is the life of Edwin Land. The major innovations that he was able to achieve in photography, optics, industry, and science policy carry priceless lessons for readers today.Insisting on the Impossible is the first full-scale biography of this Magellan of modern technology. Victor McElheny reveals the startling scope and dating spirit of Land's scientific and entrepreneurial genius. Second only to Edison in the number of patents he received (535), Land build a modest enterprise into a gigantic ”invention factory,” turning out not only polarizers and the first instant cameras, but also high-speed and X-ray film, identification systems, 3-D and instant movies, and military devices for night vision and aerial reconnaissance. As a scientist, Land developed a new theory of color vision; as a science advisor to Eisenhower during the Cold War he spearheaded the development of the U-2 spyplane and helped design NASA.Behind these protean achievements was a relentless curiosity, a magical public presence, and a willful optimism that drew him again and again to conquer ”the impossible.” In an era when these qualities are needed more than ever, this masterly biography will speak to anyone involved or interested in business, science, photography, educational reform of government.