21 Must Read Books on Design, Branding, and Business
We all want to become better designers, build our design businesses, and deliver more value to our clients. But with so much content out there, how can you ever get through it all? It’s my mission to help you filter through thousands of options and offer you my reading picks. So here’s a list of my top design, business, productivity, branding and strategy book recommendations for design and the business of design.
Note: Get 3 of these books as pdfs for FREE when you sign up for the Strategy Stories Newsletter at the end of the post.
My #1 Design Pick
Although I wasn't taught how to design using the Golden Ratio when I was in school, this book gave me a crash course in what it’s all about. It was worth the purchase for chapter 1 alone. It was all I needed to understand the basic premise of the Golden Ratio and proportional harmonies in nature that I could apply to my design work.
My #1 Business Pick
It was a hard decision to pick my favorite business book, as they all are really good. But Never Split the Difference is probably my favorite book I’ve read in the last 2 years. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s by a former FBI hostage negotiator. He teaches the negotiating skills he used in extreme hostage negotiations as well as how to apply it in business situations. If you don’t read any of the other books, read this. If you want to get a taste if it, then watch some of his interviews, like this one.
My #1 Productivity Pick
I have never been as productive in my life as I was after reading this book and implementing it’s techniques. I now know what to say “no” to and where to put my focus. Before reading this book I was really scattered and didn’t know where to put my energy and effort, but now I have clarity.
Branding and Strategy Books
My #1 Branding and Strategy Pick
I have a tendency to only use the branding and strategy books as reference books when I need them versus leisurely reading. The Brand Gap is short and sweet and to the point. So many quotes about branding come from this book like “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” and “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what THEY say it is.” I appreciate the focus, impact, and brevity of the book.
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