Graphic designers don’t make things pretty. Graphic designers solve problems. They work with research, they analyze and watch, they test and iterate, they tell stories. They’re not coloring things in. The graphic in graphic designer is not limiting or to be taken literally.

Mark Boulton – “Visual Design is Not a Thing” from The Manual vol. II.

My recent reading list

Ian Beck’s post the other day inspired me to jot down some notes here about what I recently read. Similar to Ian, I am a binge reader of sorts. There are months that go by where I hardly crack open a book. Other months I will finish a half-dozen.

Before I moved this site to WordPress.com I had a custom post type that listed out which books I recently completed in a special page template. Since that is no longer, here is what has kept me interested recently.

Shop Class as Soulcraft

A relatively easy read but superbly interesting. Matthew Crawford writes about his experiences in life as a mechanic and at a think tank. The guiding philosophy behind the book is one I agree with.

Makers

I just finished this the other day and loved it. I had heard good things from others and the book did not disappoint.

The Dark Tower

This has the benefit of being a 7-part series. I have been a Stephen King fan since 5th grade but I really think this is his finest work. I started the series a couple times before but this time I finally have consistent time to finish it. Since August I read volumes 3-5 and am about halfway through volume 6 now.

The Dark Tower is a wonderful mix of futurism and western fiction with a few dark twists thrown in. Handily the first volume is short and easy to read. I would encourage anyone to give that a read. If it hooks you the series just gets better from there.

Steve Jobs

Fairly interesting. Extremely fast read. This was decent but not great. I would recommend reading it and then listening to John Siracusa tear it apart in “The wrong guy” (pt. II).

Cloud Atlas

Michael Pick recommended this to me at our Budapest meetup. It was fascinating. If you don’t mind non-linear fiction with a bit of imaginary world construction I cannot recommend it highly enough. Possibly the best piece of fiction I read this year.

The Effective Executive

If you are interested in ideas around managing teams this is a good one. Yes it is from the 1960s, but the advice is solid. Unlike some other business books it focuses on the concrete with digestible advice that actually gives you something to take back to your work.

The Internet needs a strong, independent platform for those of us who don’t want to be at the mercy of someone else’s domain. I like to think that if we didn’t create WordPress something else that looks a lot like it would exist. I think Open Source is kind of like our Bill of Rights. It’s our Constitution. If we’re not true to that, nothing else matters.

Matt Mullenweg – Open Web FTW. (via Daniel)

This is why I say priorities can only be observed. In my book, a priority is not simply a good idea; it’s a condition of reality that, when observed, causes you to reject every other thing in the universe — real, imagined, or prospective — in order to ensure that things related to the priority stay alive.

Merlin Mann – Mud Rooms, Red Letters, and Real Priorities.