Things I Read and Learned in 2013
I’m writing this post for my own memory if nothing else. A year is an arbitrary marker of a person’s intellectual growth, yet it works for me. It is useful to go back over notes and recall things I read about and studied earlier in the year. Sadly, I didn’t finish many novels or creative non-fiction this past year. I was deep in transportation and information science more than broadening my attention to anything else. One overwhelming concept that summarizes most of these interests is mobility—the movement of people, things, and data.
Here’s a list of things I read and learned in the year that was. (Perhaps in 2014, I’ll learn how to make shorter and more interesting lists.)
- The Mobile Frontier: A Guide for Designing Mobile Experiences
- The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production.
An outstanding history of mass production manufacturing and how it was revolutionized by Japanese automakers and “lean production”. It is a story much bigger than one nation’s management and manufacturing processes.
- The Works – The Anatomy of a City
This is a beautifully illustrated and written book. A great book for your night stand.
- Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
A radical perspective on industrial design.
- Make it So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction
Title says it all. How can designers draw from the imagination of science fiction films and books.
- Mobile Design Pattern Gallery
This is a good survey of common mobile UI patterns, but due the nature of the subject, many of the examples are already out-of-date. A book best supplemented by Luke Wroblewski’s blog.
- A Simple Introduction to Data Science
Overall, this was a disappointing book that lack authority and completeness, but there were some worthwhile definitions and summaries of technologies like Apache Hadoop and Pig. For example, a Data Scientist = Engineer + Statistician + Analyst + Hacker.
- Introduction to Modern Vehicle Design
This is an incredibly comprehensive book about the science and engineering process that goes into the design and manufacturing of cars.
- Python for Data Analysis by Wes McKinney
This year I learned how to use Python Pandas for statistical analysis. Wes McKinney (@wesmckinn) created the library and wrote an excellent book on the topic.
- Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics
This book is light on theory and quantitative information, but the examples are timely and well illustrated.
- Facts are Sacred: The Power of Data by Simon Rogers
A short book about how the Guardian does “data journalism.”
- Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management
I read more books on IT management in 2013 than I care to remember, but this one is worth sharing.
- Ruhlman’s Twenty: A Cooking Manifesto
A book about the most basic elements used in cooking.
- How to Make Wine at Home by Mike Carraway
A brief book on how to make small-batch wine.
Articles and Findings
- Why Things Fail. (Excellent reporting on product reliability and material design.)
- How Much of a Subway Map Can One Person’s Brain Process?
- How Google Builds Its Maps
- Secrets and Lies of the Bailout
- New York Times profile on Twitter’s founders
- How Dietier Rams made Braun Look Cool and Influence of Dieter Ram’s on UI Design
- Adaptive Cruise Control Really Works (I tried it myself in downtown LA, but this article is a better summary.)
- Is Gravity Skeuomorphic?
- Obituary for Doug Engelbart, the Visionary Who Invented the Mouse
- How to Create a Enterprise UI Toolkit
- Why Enterprise Software Sucks by Jason Fried of 37signals