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Books for 2020

Posted December 12, 2019

 

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

 

We’ve compiled this list of books that most influenced us as designers and as individuals. We would like to share these ideas, stories, and explorations to propel you into the new year.

Books for 2020: What are the books that have influenced you?

Be part of our Books for 2020 recommendations by entering your favorites for consideration here.

Books for 2020: Recommendations from #ESIPeople

Scroll down to see all of our recommendations, or jump to the recommendations of a particular ESI Design employee using these links:

Amanda Agulnick | Elinore Aladjem | Katie Barnard | Lisa Barrette | Victor Bekker | Layne Braunstein | Andrew Cheu | Julie DavichRobin Davis-Burke | Charles Deluga | Olivia El-Sadr Davis | Yu-Ting Feng | Jessica Fiorini | Morgen Fleisig | Stuart Fox | Mary Franck | Sarah Frankel | Zhihang Fu | Hannah Greenberg | Jonathan Grimm | Laura Gunther | Baldur Helgason | Kendall Herman | Matthew Houstle | Nick Hubbard | Albane Jerphanion | Tarley Jordan | Kristofer Kirk | Stefany Koslow | Trip Kyle | Stephanie Land | Eric Lindveit | Joan Lunoe | Udit Mahajan | Terrell McIver | Regina McMiller | Mana Mohammadkhani | Chris Niederer | Susan Okon | Robin Reid | Jesse Ricke | Caroline Rojek | Edwin Schlossberg | Catherine Somple | Yuri Sunahara | Kristen Svorka | Zinan Wang | Emily Webster | Matt Weisgerber

See community recommendations here.

 

Recommended by Amanda Agulnick

Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
Fiction: Literary. A hauntingly rich WWII novel about courage, brutality, love, survival— and the essence of what makes us human.

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.
Fiction. Marriage of Opposites is a work of historical fiction, with magical realism and romance elements.

Defending Jacob by William Landay.
Fiction: Crime. This is a haunting story that will stay with you long after you read the final chapter. It is the ultimate look at nature vs. nurture in the realm of murder and mayhem.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson.
Fiction: Literary. A compelling tale of two boys and a family who struggle to survive in war-torn Poland.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Fiction: Literary. An amazing book!!!

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Recommended by Elinore Aladjem

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.
Fiction. Comic books, 1939 in New York, Jewish mysticism, and American history in one super smart and funny book.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Fiction. Immigration, identity, race, relationships, community, politics, privilege, language, hair, intimacy, estrangement, blogging, Barack Obama and America as a symbol of hope and, ultimately, disappointment.

Kneller’s Happy Campers by Etgar Keret.
Fiction. Dark and funny tale about the afterlife in the place reserved just for people who’ve committed suicide. This other world is actually rather like ours (people still have boring jobs, girl troubles and go out drinking), but with a few surreal twists. Morbid yet delightful and oddly comforting.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.
Fiction. Family and its troubles; an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children. Beautifully describing the wonders and horrors of a family and the burden and the relief within the relationships.

In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster.
Fiction. A distant and unsettling future in an unnamed city of chaos and disaster. (As depressing as it sounds it is excellent).

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Recommended by Katie Barnard

The Revolutionary War Lives and Letters of Lucy and Henry Knox by Phillip Hamilton.
Letter Collection. It’s your typical love story: orphaned boy meets the Tory Governor’s daughter. They marry in secret, girl is disowned, and war breaks out. These heartfelt letters provide a window into how they struggle to maintain their relationship, care for their family, and adjust to a new nation. These revolutionary letters are the equivalent to today’s DMs.

The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton.
Poetry. Perhaps the last great epic poem in English, Chesterton’s ballad idealizes King Alfred the Great’s exploits against the Danes. Come for the epic battles, stay for the crazy crone. “It is the chief value of legend to mix up the centuries while preserving the sentiment; to see all ages in a sort of splendid foreshortening.”

The Witch of Blackbird Pond Elizabeth George Speare.
Fiction. A young woman, far from home, comes of age amidst intolerance, cold winters, and unjust expectations. My aunt gave me this book for my 10th birthday, and it inspired my interest and future pursuit of history— and general mischief making. Though parts have not aged well, this is a must read for any aspiring blue stocking.

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Recommended by Lisa Barrette

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Fiction. An enigmatic adventure featuring memorable characters and space travel.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
Fiction. A coming of age story about a young woman in Brooklyn at the beginning of the 20th century.

There’s a Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone.
Fiction: Children’s Book. Grover, a friendly monster-muppet, tries to warn the reader about the perils of finishing the book. There’s a twist at the end.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
Fiction: Mystery. A classic “whodunit” featuring the author’s most well known detective, Hercule Poirot, that takes place on a train stalled mid-journey in a snow storm.

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Recommended by Victor Bekker

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon.
Fiction. “Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon—private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog.”

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King.
Memoir. Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Fiction. Ignatius J. Reilly, is “‘huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.”

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen.
Fiction. A lovable con woman and a disgraced detective team up to find a redneck reality TV star.

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks.
Non-Fiction. A deeply moving testimony and celebration of how to embrace life. In January 2015, Oliver Sacks was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, and he shared this news in a New York Times essay that inspired readers all over the world: “I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.”

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Recommended by Layne Braunstein

The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks.
Fiction: Fantasy. One of the best fantasy series I have read in recent years—really creative world building, and the magic is very clever.

The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson.
Fiction: Fantasy. Hands down, one of the best fantasy series of our time. It’s broken into two trilogies set in different times, and that works very well.

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman.
Non-Fiction. A stunning and timely creative call-to-arms combining four extraordinary written pieces by Neil Gaiman illustrated with the striking four-color artwork of Chris Riddell. I loved it.

The Stormlight Archive Series by Brandon Sanderson.
Fiction: Fantasy. Beautifully written fantasy series, with smart and epic storyline. It was a real treasure reading this series.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Fiction. Reading Neil Gaiman is like reading poetry—every sentence is a beautiful metaphor of our existence.

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Recommended by Andrew Cheu

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee.
Fiction. A very easy sci-fi read that transports readers into a futuristic New York centered around the World-Building. The plot focuses much on the drama within the lives of 5 teenagers living on the highest floors of this skyscraper, but the descriptions of the technologies give it a loose and casual sci-fi experience.

Atlas of Novel Tectonics by Jesse Resier and Nanako Umemoto.
Non-Fiction. Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, founders of Reiser + Umemoto, do a great job of describing and diagramming the forces that contribute to our formal designs in architecture. Well illustrated diagrams, breakdown components that come together to form some of these larger metaphors and intentions with architectural form-making and serves as a great reference for all scales of physical design thinking.

Kissing Architecture by Sylvia Lavin.
Non-Fiction. In a world where architecture has seen an increased overlap into alternative design practices, Sylvia Lavin focuses in on this growing intimacy between architecture and new forms of art. She steers readers away from the purely functional aspect of architecture and uses arguments by architectural historians, theorists, and designers to spark debate over a more visual and sensory atmosphere that this intimacy between practices can offer.

Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami.
Fiction. As the first of Murakami’s novels, this introduces readers to a lot of the characters and recurring themes in his later stories. The first read through was not as exciting as his recent novels, but nonetheless you can appreciate his style, and how it sets up characters for his development of magical realism in later short stories.

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Recommended by Julie Davich

Just Kids by Patti Smith.
Autobiography. At face value this is the story of musician Patti Smith’s relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, but it’s so much more than that – it is an homage to the creative process and the artist community who lived and collaborated at the Hotel Chelsea in the 1960s.

About Alice by Calvin Trillin.
Memoir. New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin’s wife passed at age 63 from complications related to cancer treatment. This book is his love letter to her and to their marriage. It will not only inspire you to seek the kind of love they had (if you don’t already have it), but it will remind you that everyone deserves it.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.
Memoir. Paul Kalanithi was a unique brand of physician who was equal parts poet and scientist. He wrote this memoir of his losing battle against lung cancer from the unique viewpoint of both doctor and patient, but it’s also a universal story of love, family, and career with poignant insights and perspectives on humanity and mortality.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.
Autobiographical essays. This book of short autobiographical stories tells the remarkable life of Trevor Noah, who ascended from the shantytowns of apartheid Johannesburg to become a successful comedian and talk show host in the United States. His stories are laugh-out-loud hysterical but also very moving, using his unique perspective to shed light on difficult truths about class and race.

The Power by Naomi Alderman.
Fiction. A science fiction reimagining of the world if women had physical power over men and thus came to rule society and wage wars.

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Recommended by Robin Davis-Burke

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.
Fiction. This tangled plot about an unsuccessful writer and an unstable businessman plays with narration and storytelling structure.

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi.
Non-Fiction: Cookbook. A collection of recipes from the diverse communities (Muslim, Jewish, and Christian) living in the home city of the book’s authors.

Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle.
Non-Fiction: Graphic Novel. This story chronicles the author’s experience working for a French animation company in North Korea. The author uses the graphic novel format to really highlight the difficulties of working and living within a totalitarian closed state.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.
Fiction. A murder mystery in an Italian monastery in the 14th century.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Fiction. A sci-fi novel that plays with narrative perspective.

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Recommended by Charles Deluga

High Weirdness by Erik Davis.
Non-Fiction. Go on a journey of (counter)cultural loops, lattices, and perturbations in the reality field, following three 1970s sci-fi authors in their encounters with the strange.

The Passionate Mind: A Manual for Living Creatively with One’s Self by Joel Kramer.
Non-Fiction. Belief, pleasure, freedom, fear, death, and time. That’s the table of contents. The author leaves nothing to hide behind.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.
Non-Fiction. Conversational guide to mindfulness that’s a meditation in itself to read.

Structure in Nature Is a Strategy for Design by Peter Pearce.
Non-Fiction. All the geometry you could ever ask for and how to use it.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson.
Fiction. Like Harry Potter but with spaceships and quantum mechanics.

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Recommended by Olivia El-Sadr Davis

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Mirra Ginsburg.
Fiction. A surrealistic satire of the 1930s Stalinist Soviet Union, involving Satan taking a trip to Moscow, a vodka-swilling black cat, and Pontius Pilate in ancient Jerusalem. It’s impossible to encapsulate in a few sentences, but incredibly funny and truly one of my favorite reads ever.

Normal People by Sally Rooney. 
Fiction. An honest modern love story, exploring the subtleties of friendship, family and class. Relatable and heartbreaking. Great vacation read, if you like crying on the beach. (I do.)

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado.
Fiction. A series of short stories exploring the realities of being a woman, without being depressing, in a compellingly fresh narrative style. One of my favorites, called “Especially Heinous,” is a series of short, increasingly absurd summaries of fake Law & Order: SVU episodes.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty.
Fiction. Brilliant, satirical writing that addresses race and class in the US, going far beyond black and white. 2016 Man Booker Prize winner.

Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham.
Non-Fiction. The definitive, dramatic untold story of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, based on original reporting and new archival research. Even if you watched the HBO Chernobyl miniseries, this is worth reading!

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Recommended by Yu-Ting Feng

Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder.
Non-Fiction. This scriptwriting book talks about how to build a character’s personality through a series of events. If you save the cat, you might be a good person.

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Recommended by Jessica Fiorini

Gunslinger by Edward Dorn.
Poetry. A demigod cowboy, saloon madam and talking horse travel the southwest in search of Howard Hughes. This long form poem is funny, dramatic, wild and exciting.

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera.
Fiction: Experimental. A slim yet rich novel that explores the code-switching and cultural impact of crossing the US-Mexico border.

Selected Poems by Guiseppe Ungaretti, translated by Andrew Frisardi.
Poetry. Modernist Italian poetry that is lyrical, gorgeous and unflinching in the face of both love and war.

Happy Birthday, Turk!: A Kayankaya Thriller by Jakob Arjouni, translated by Anselm Hollo. 
Fiction: Crime. On the way to solve the murder of a Turkish immigrant, Kayankaya (a Turkish immigrant himself) has run-ins with prostitutes and drug addicts, gets beaten up by anonymous thugs, survives a gas attack, and suffers several close encounters with a Fiat.

Hawk Parable by Tyler Mills.
Poetry. Hawk Parable begins with a family mystery and engages with the limits of historical knowledge—particularly of the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped at the end of the Second World War and the repercussions of atomic tests the U.S. conducted throughout the 20th century.

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Recommended by Morgen Fleisig

The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 by Max Farrand.
Non-Fiction. The debates that resulted in our Constitution continue to resonate: it is a working document and we need to understand the arguments made before us to move forward.

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
Non-Fiction. Observations about our Republic that endure in relevance, especially with regard to the use and influence of mass media on our political organization.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
Fiction. As an encyclopedic vision of the history of whaling, this could be considered a non-fiction study of the relationship between technology and the natural world, or a critique of the brutal exploitation of our natural resources.

The Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx. 
Non-Fiction. America as an experiment of the Enlightenment: a study of man’s intervention into nature and the development of the ideal of the balance between technology and landscape.

Factfulness by Hans Rosling.
Non-Fiction. Defining “possibleness” as a middle ground between optimism and pessimism through the study of facts about the improvement of the human condition.

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Recommended by Stuart Fox

Six Easy Pieces and Six Not So Easy Pieces by Richard P. Feynman.
Non-Fiction: Science. It says a lot about Richard Feynman’s expansive personality that his Nobel Prize is rarely one of the first things people mention about him. Adapted from lectures he gave as a professor, Feynman deploys his singular style and energy to simplify fundamental physics without ever pandering.

The Street by Ann Petry.
Fiction: Literary. In 1940s Harlem, a young mother watches her life slowly unravel as she is unable to protect herself and her son from predatory men, institutional racism, and pervasive poverty. Ann Petry creates a world so detailed, and so well populated with textured characters, that it hardly even reads as fiction.

Congo: The Epic History of a People by David Van Reybrouck.
Non-Fiction: History & Reportage. The size of Western Europe, home to incalculable riches, and host to the most devastating conflict since WWII; the Congo may be the most important country you know almost nothing about. This book combines history, research, and reportage to cover every dimension of the giant at the heart of Africa.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins.
Fiction: Crime. Crackling crime fiction prose filled with two-fisted dialogue and needle-sharp depictions of the grimey Boston underworld. This is basically the Iliad for scumbags. Reportedly Elmore Leonard’s favorite book, which is praise worth 10 Pulitzers.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto.
Fiction: Literary. Banana Yoshimoto has taken the moment where the fun and ignorance of youth abuts the adult stakes of love and death, and crystallized it in beautiful literary amber. Simultaneously a portrait of a specific Japanese generation and a universal reflection on how food and cooking can tie people together.

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Recommended by Mary Franck

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino.
Fiction. These vignettes of imaginary cities capture the ineffable poetry of architecture and urban life.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Fiction. This lush space opera narrated by an AI is best-in-class world-building.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson.
Non-Fiction: Prose. “Maggie Nelson uses the color blue as a lens on memory, loneliness, and the paradoxes of love.” – Maria Popova

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
Non-Fiction. A compelling argument that human civilization is based entirely on shared beliefs.

Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques by Lisa Iwamoto.
Non-Fiction. Digital Fabrications is a survey of digital fabrication techniques used in architecture, highlighting cutting-edge work by a range of designers.

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Recommended by Sarah Frankel

More Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl.
Fiction. I started reading Roald Dahl’s adult short stories at a much-too-young age, and they definitely shaped my dark sense of humor. This is definitely one of my desert-island books.

Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction by J.D. Salinger.
Fiction. Did you read The Catcher in the Rye in high-school and hate it? You should re-read it now. Also, read this book and all of the others in the Glass Family series. I re-read these books often and always take away something new

Here by Richard McGuire.
Non-Fiction: Graphic Novel. A literal and visual interpretation of “if these walls could talk.” This book captures something really magical about the narrative of time and its effect on place.

Billions & Billions by Carl Sagan.
Non-Fiction. Are you a poetic space nerd? Well, this is the book for you.

Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe.
Fiction: Graphic Novel. A delightful book that every human (young and old) should own. It illustrates the world’s most complex machines and concepts in a simple and hilarious way. Also, I think I may have subconsciously co-written this book in an alternate dimension.

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Recommended by Zhihang Fu

Principles of Neo-Plastic Art by Theo van Doesburg.
Non-Fiction: Design. An interesting one in the Bauhaus series, featuring de stile people claiming to be non-Bauhaus.

Planet-B: Ideas For a New World curated by Alain Bieber, Nicola Funk and Joanna Szlauderbach.
Non-Fiction: Tech, Research & Exhibition. A record of an exhibition happened in 2016. A group of designers, researchers, architects, and artists imagined alternative realities focusing on the impact of emerging technologies, especially biological technologies.

Tales of Tono by Daido Moriyama.
Non-Fiction: Photography. The Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama writes about details of his commissioned journey to Tono. He explains his approach to photography through wandering and capturing spontaneous scenes. Selected photos of this journey are also included.

Systems edited by Edward A. Shanken.
Non-Fiction: Art & Research. The editor Edward A. Shanken found the emergence of systems in contemporary art and design processes, and asked a group of artists and designers to write about how systems play an important role in their works. It is interesting to see how modern inter-connected social model translates into the world of artistic expression and client-facing design works.

True Names by Vernor Vinge.
Fiction: Sci-fi. In an imaginary cyber world, a person can be very powerful no matter what his/her social status is. But that same person can also lose all the power if his/ her name is revealed. The novel itself is constrained to the time it was written, but clear and intimidating connections can also be drawn between this reality and ours.

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Recommended by Hannah Greenberg

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.
Fiction. This 700-plus-page narrative follows the lives of four college friends who come to New York seeking fame and higher tax brackets. Malcolm is an architect, Willem an actor, JB a painter. The fourth, Jude, is a litigator with a secret, painful past, and the book is primarily his story.

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Recommended by Jonathan Grimm

Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England by William Cronon.
Non-Fiction: History. Interesting survey of how colonization changed the physical landscape of American shores.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
Fiction. The final word in revenge.

The Flaneur by Edmund White.
Non-Fiction: History. A leisurely ‘stroll’ through highlights of Parisian history and culture.

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris.
Autobiographical Essays. What people write about before they add a propriety filter.

The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé.
Fiction. A real whodunit.

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Recommended by Laura Gunther

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers.
Non-Fiction. The authority on color theory. Though highly instructional, it doesn’t read like a textbook. I return to this inspirational text time and time again.

Invisible by Paul Auster.
Fiction. A novel in four parts that intertwines the past, present, truth and imagined truth. The story follows a young man who gets mixed up in a dangerous love triangle as he struggles to define who he is.

A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
Non-Fiction. If you are curious, but feel intimidated by the notion of understanding the entire universe, this book is for you.

La Cantatrice Chauve (The Bald Soprano) by Eugene Ionesco (playwright) and Robert Massin (graphic design).
Fiction: Graphic Play. Long before graphic novels became popular, Massin brought Ionesco’s absurdist play to life with illustrations and typography, proving that compelling work can be accomplished with a copy machine.

World Geographic Atlas by Herbert Bayer.
Non-Fiction: Atlas. So much more than just an old atlas. It’s a real beauty and early data visualization gem.

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Recommended by Baldur Helgason

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
Non-Fiction. It inspired me to get back into running and run a marathon.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu.
Fiction. It caused me to miss my subway stop more than once and I didn’t mind.

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Recommended by Kendall Herman

Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Kenneth T. Jackson.
Non-Fiction. A comprehensive history of the suburbanization of America that answers questions I’d never thought to ask about our country’s landscape and the forces that shaped it.

South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion.
Non-Fiction. For a Didion fan, this book of observations from the 1970s is a welcome glimpse into her writing process.

The Life and Times of the Thunderbold Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson.
Memoir. Few books have made me laugh audibly on the subway as much as this one did. Bryson’s brutally honest stories of growing up in 1950’s America transported me back to being a kid.

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Recommended by Matthew Houstle

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.
Non-Fiction. A great exploration into the history of modern day Pixar and Disney Animation as well as a well illustrated view into the management of creativity.

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.
Fiction. A sci-fi novel about a girl who wants to fly spacecraft to defend a hidden human society on an alien planet. I am a huge fan of Sanderson’s story telling style and character development. He is character first, world-ending plot line second.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.
Fiction. A sci-fi/fantasy novel about a different civilization in a different universe ruled by a ruthless all-powerful (with magic!) ruler. A small band of thieves and con-artists vow to overthrow this ruler.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.
Fiction. Based in modern times and WWII, Neal Stephenson uses a lot of research into cryptography to bring you along a wild ride as the past meets the present. It’s a fascinating read if you have any interest in cryptography and code breaking.

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Recommended by Nick Hubbard

The Man Who Tasted Shapes by Richard E. Cytowic.
Non-Fiction. Synesthesia: a scientific, philosophical, and autobiographical exploration.

Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams.
Non-Fiction. Meditation on personal and ecological loss through the metaphor of birds.

Evicted by Matthew Desmond.
Non-Fiction. Required reading to understand how inequality shapes opportunity.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer.
Non-Fiction. What is inheritance? The genetics, genealogy, and sociology of what the past gives to us.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
Fiction. Supplement your HBO watching with the source material.

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Recommended by Albane Jerphanion

Gabriële Buffet by Anne et Claire Berest.
Biography. Discover the woman hidden behind Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Guillaume Apollinaire and many more. Learn how she supported and inspired them during this historical artistic era. The book is written by her granddaughters, who researched, discovered, and put the pieces together in order to reveal the story of one of the most influential women of the beginning of the 20th century.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
Autobiography. This book encapsulates Joan Didion’s train of thoughts the year after the loss of her husband. She uses her skills as a cure, and manages to take us through a universal experience with an honest and passionate way.

Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists by Julia Sherman.
Non-Fiction: Cookbook. If you find salads boring then definitely get this cookbook, which will help you spice them up with simple and yummy recipes. Great art direction, illustrations and lovely glimpse into artists’ cooking style!

The Senses: Design Beyond Vision by Ellen Lupton.
Non-Fiction: Design. This book was created in parallel with “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision” exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Museum. If you missed it, this is your chance to catch up. Its content is really relevant to what the exhibition world is evolving towards – engaging in sensory experience.

A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Sanzo Wada. 
Non-Fiction: Design. If your day to day life involves color, then this book is for you! It contains 348 color combinations, its layout is wonderful and it fits perfectly in your pocket.

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Recommended by Tarley Jordan

Down Under by Bill Bryson.
Non-Fiction. Also called ‘In A Sunburned Country’. A book that will bring you many laughs and hopefully inspires you to one day visit my sunburned country.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Fiction. A story that made me feel nostalgic for the parts of life that I usually give no thought to.

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Recommended by Kristofer Kirk

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann.
Fiction: Literary. A novel by Colum McCann set mainly in New York City. This book won the 2009 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and the 2011 International Dublin Literary Award, one of the most lucrative literary prizes in the world. A quintessential New York story.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer.
Non-Fiction: Personal Account. This 1997 bestselling non-fiction book details Krakauer’s experience in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which eight climbers were killed and several others were stranded by a massive storm. I read this before running marathons as it highlights what people are physically capable of accomplishing when pushed to the ultimate limit.

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Recommended by Stefany Koslow

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris.
Autobiographical Essays. Read this hilarious collection of short stories before the holidays!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.
Autobiographical Essays. Hilarious short stories, many of which are “so wrong.”

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Fiction: Literary. One of my fave books of all time.

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.
Fiction. Loved this fast-paced, non-literary, gentle series. Precious Ramotswe, a cheerful woman of traditional build, is the founder of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana.

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Recommended by Trip Kyle

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.
Fiction. A view into Afghanistan.

Life by Keith Richards.
Non-Fiction. Quite the journey, remarkable he’s still alive, and it’s not just about parties.

Moviola by Garson Kanin.
Semi-Fiction. Good old days of Hollywood film biz.

A Carpenters Life by Larry Haun.
Non-Fiction. As told by houses…

Ball Four by Jim Bouton.
Non-Fiction. If you like(d) baseball, this guy blew the cover off the ball and the game.

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Recommended by Stephanie Land

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi.
Non-Fiction. A necessary read to truly understand the history of racism in America.

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate–Discoveries from A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben.
Non-Fiction. Interesting insight into the lives of forests and how trees communicate with each other. A quite fun read to change your perception, making you think differently the next time you walk under trees.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön.
Non-Fiction. Whether you’re going through a difficult time or not, this book is a valuable set of tools for coping in various ways.

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.
Poetry. A must read for the ever evolving conversation and debate around citizenship in America. One of the most important poets of our time.

Martin Puryear by John Elderfield, Michael Auping, Richard J. Powell, et al.
Non-Fiction: Biographical Photo Book. Brilliant artist and sculptor Martin Puryear’s interesting biography and body of work. In 2019 he represented the US at the Venice Biennial. One of the most important artists of our time.

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Recommended by Eric Lindveit

Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald.
Fiction. A great, mystical exploration of identity and memory.

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler.
Non-Fiction. It starts with an investigation of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and spirals to the origin of all modern museums and wonder cabinets of the 16th century.

Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo.
Mostly Non-Fiction. An accounting of the actual early 20th century events involving a man eating shark off the jersey and LI coasts that actually sought prey in fresh water streams. There are moments where events are viewed from the perspective of the shark

Hunger by Knut Hamsun.
Fiction. Brilliant, devastating account of a downward spiral written by a Norwegian fascist.

The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem.
Fiction. Read the book first.

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Recommended by Joan Lunoe

Africa in my Blood by Jane Goodall.
Letter Collection. Jane Goodall’s life as seen through her letters from childhood into her year’s of primate research in the Gombe Forest of Tanzania. It illustrates how this soft spoken, gentle Englishwoman became such a courageous and influential humanitarian.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Fiction. Neil Gaiman’s story of childhood memories told in the style of magical realism. Bittersweet but life-affirming and all at once tender, loving and thrilling.

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Recommended by Udit Mahajan

Here by Richard McGuire.
Fiction: Graphic Novel. One of the best graphic novels I’ve come across. Beautiful aesthetic with great sense of perspectives that unfold over time from a single setting.

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson.
Non-Fiction. Great read on emergent theory, across different scales of organization.

The Complete Stories by Isaac Asimov.
Fiction. Two-volume collection of absolutely brilliant short stories that are set far, far into the future.

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Recommended by Terrell McIver

Another Country by James Baldwin.
Fiction. An eloquent highlight of relationship dynamics; hetero, LGBT, interracial Reads like a blue’s song, a bit melancholy, lures you into emotional investment.

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Recommended by Regina McMiller

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
Fiction. A wonderful coming of age story set in the 1930’s Florida, a biracial girl finds her way despite the limitations of her time.

The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr.
Fiction. A dark humor book of a crazy 1960’s Texas family. The characters are wonderfully written.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother by James McBride.
Non-Fiction. A powerful book about James growing in Red Hook, Brooklyn with twelve siblings to discover his mother is a white woman born in Poland.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks.
Non-Fiction. Dr. Sacks describes stories of his patients with various neurological disorders— a fascinating read.

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Recommended by Mana Mohammadkhani

The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson.
Non-Fiction: Biography & True crime. The book is set in Chicago in 1893, interweaving the true tales of the architect behind the 1893 World’s Fair and a pharmacist and serial killer who lured his victims to their deaths in his elaborately constructed “Murder Castle.”

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Recommended by Chris Niederer

Ware Tetralogy by Rudy Rucker.
Fiction. Maybe the first Cyberpunk from 1982! The 3 laws of robotics are dead! Vacation on the moon! upload your brain with a spoon! Artificial intelligence through natural selection!

Schild’s Ladder by Greg Egan.
Fiction. “Tens of thousands of years in the future, people’s minds run on nanotech computers implanted in their skulls, and travel to distant worlds as a stream of data. Local death is irrelevant as brain backups are ubiquitous. Physics experiments run amok eat solar systems at light speed!”

Lockstep by Karl Schroeder.
Fiction. Hibernate for centuries at a time as you travel between small planetoids in the outer solar system. But you won’t miss anything, because everyone else is waking up with you! A small cat-like creature will wake you with its atomic-powered purring.

Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling.
Fiction. Create a zero-G play inside a lawless, mold-filled, wreck of an O’neil cylinder. Capture asteroids and sell them to aliens. Then take a trip back to old Earth to take deep-sea biological samples to enrich Europa’s abyssal ecology.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.
Fiction. Multiple narrators, nested footnotes, define this piece of ergotic literature. A bizarre reading experience mirroring the equally strange setting for the work: a house (much) larger on the inside than on the outside.

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Recommended by Susan Okon

The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure.
Fiction: Historical. The story of French architect Lucien Bernard, who is paid to create temporary hiding places for Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Autobiography. Michelle Obama’s memoir describes how she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world.

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
Fiction. A powerful look at Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, told in this thought provoking novel.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Fiction. Probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, as well as a guide to standing up for what’s right no matter the cost.

Educated by Tara Westover.
Non-Fiction. A universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

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Recommended by Robin Reid

Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee.
Non-Fiction. “The power of collective action! Good for our times: The chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to liberation that will touch all who dream of a better world. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize shares her inspirational, powerful story of how a group of women working together created an unstoppable force that brought peace to Liberia.”

Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose by Kim Azzarelli and Melanne Verveer.
Non-Fiction. “How can we use our status and access to help others? Through interviews with a network of over fifty trailblazing women, Fast Forward shows women how to accelerate their growing economic power and combine it with purpose to create success and meaning in their lives while building a better world.”

The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.
Fiction. “To find the meaning of life, stop looking so hard: The book follows events in the life of a concierge, Renée Michel, whose deliberately concealed intelligence is uncovered by an unstable but intellectually precocious girl named Paloma Josse. Paloma is the daughter of an upper-class family living in the upscale Parisian apartment building where Renée works.”

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Fiction. “A story of sorrow and redemption. We need to be reminded. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.”

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Recommended by Jesse Ricke

Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire by Thomas Lin.
Non-Fiction: Science Compilation. Bringing together the best and most interesting science stories appearing in Quanta Magazine over the past five years, this compilation reports on some of the greatest scientific minds as they test the limits of human knowledge.

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Recommended by Caroline Rojek

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien.
Fiction. A riveting story of the effects of the Vietnam War on a couple retreating to the woods for solitude after a failed political campaign.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Poetry. A classic that continues to have relevance and the added charm of being written during Walt’s residence in my neighborhood.

Grandma Z by Daniel Gray-Barnett.
Fiction: Children’s Book. A favorite in our house. Who doesn’t love a wacky grandmother who rides a motorcycle and takes you on a birthday adventure?!

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Recommended by Edwin Schlossberg

These books were selected because they provide a great context for becoming a designer and being a great one. It is hard to make a short list because so many books have meant so much to me. I think this is a cool list, if you are thinking about being a designer, and really if you are planning to think at all.

Aspects of Form by Lancelot Law Whyte.
Non-Fiction: Design. A cool discussion about the relationship of form and function.

Chuang Tzu Writings translated by Donald Keene.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. A collection of the beautiful and brilliant insights by one of the most important Taoist philosophers.

Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge by Karl Popper-Harper.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. This book was critical in establishing the understanding about the importance of refutation in the scientific and humanist community.

Doubt and Certainty in Science by J. Z. Young.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A brilliant discussion about the process of discovery and the need for testing and proof.

Energy Flow in Biology by Harold J. Morowitz.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A brilliant early discussion about understanding living systems by understanding how energy flows.

Essays in Idleness by Kenko.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. A beautiful narrative about the importance of uselessness.

Godel’s Proof by Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman.
Non-Fiction: Mathematics. Godel’s proof established that mathematics was not provable within the world of mathematics. A critical insight in all worlds and well described in this book.

Interaction Ritual by Erving Goffman.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A structural analysis of how people ritualize and formulate our interactions with each other.

Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. The first expression of the idea of language emerging from physiological and biological expression rather than cognitive development.

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A disturbing analysis of how people work and the social and cultural challenges that they face.

On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Thompson.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A beautiful, very old description of the world that keeps being amazingly insightful.

On the Nature of Things by Lucretius.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A beautiful, very old description of the world that keeps being amazingly insightful.

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. A cool poetic look at the world and human history through the lens of an interdisciplinary thinker.

Power, Sex, Suicide by Nick Lane.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A truly fascinating book about the function of mitochondria. Besides being interesting, the structural analysis and way he tells the story is brilliant.

Reinventing Discovery by Michael Nielsen.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. A really interesting look at how discovery in science proceeds and is frustrated.

Science and Information Theory by Leon Brillouin.
Non-Fiction: Science. An early writer about the interplay between biological processes and information theory.

Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A very interesting series of essays about the cultural impacts on the formation of thought and behavior.

The Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens.
Poetry. A great poet whose insights about language and experience are very useful in trying to explain the importance of design in cultural life.

The Complexity of Cooperation by Robert Axelrod.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. The most important study about cooperation.

The Corrosion of Character by Richard Sennett.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. An astonishing analysis of the interplay of organizations on people’s ability to act collaboratively.

The Glory of Hera by Phillip E. Slater.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A dramatic discussion of the importance of the role of women in culture.

The Hidden Dimension by Edward T. Hall.
Non-Fiction: Design. Important discussion about the role of sociological and anthropological insights required in great design.

The Mind’s New Science by Howard Gardner.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A structuralist approach to understanding the mind through cognitive behavior rather than physiological form.

The Necessary Angel by Wallace Stevens.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. A series of insightful essays about language and thought.

The Origins of Intelligence in Children by Jean Piaget.
Non-Fiction: Education. An insightful study of the development of learning strategies in children.

The Politics of Experience by R.D. Laing.
Non-Fiction: Psychology. A bold analysis of human experience through the lens of psychoanalysis.

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman.
Non-Fiction: Design. A fascinating study of how we organize and present ourselves and how design affects this effort.

The Silent Language by Edward T. Hall.
Non-Fiction: Design. Important discussion of communication and design.

The Society of Mind by Marvin Minsky.
Non-Fiction: Psychology. Really clear discussion about the mind as a cluster of models of the world.

The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander.
Non-Fiction: Design. A unique and fascinating discussion and process of building through use and use models.

The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. An amazing and important book about how networks are central to our social, cultural, and biological lives.

The Wisdom of the Body by Walter B. Cannon.
Non-Fiction: Philosophy. An early and fascinating book about the systematic beauty in the functioning of the human body

Three Novels by Samuel Beckett.
Fiction. Brilliant and amusing novels that create amazing human relationships and internal dialogues.

Too Big to Know by David Weinberger.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. A brilliant analysis of the consequences of information technology on culture.

Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. Groundbreaking series of essays about ways to think about media.

What is Life? With Mind and Matter by Erwin Schrödinger.
Non-Fiction: Science & Nature. These two extraordinary essays created the excitement that lead many physical scientists to become biologists.

I added these books, because they are astonishing and did not exist the last time we compiled our book recommendations in 2013.

Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence by James Lovelock.
Non-Fiction.

Transaction Man by Nicholas Lemann.
Non-Fiction. 

Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner.
Non-Fiction.

Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner.
Non-Fiction.

Architecture Design Data: Practice Competency in the Era of Computation by Phillip Bernstein.
Non-Fiction.

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Recommended by Catherine Somple

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.
Fiction. Taking its title from 17th century haiku poet Basho’s travel journal, this novel is about the cruelty of war, the fragility of life and the impossibility of love.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.
Fiction. A portrait of a city and its people and the promise of New York in the 70s.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
Fiction. A beautiful novel that captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of unnamed city in India. The story of two tailors and the possibility for the human spirit to endure in an inhuman state.

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill.
Fiction: Children’s Book. It’s a story of how regular people banded together and, armed with little more than their brains and good aim, defeated a mighty foe. It’s my son’s favorite book too!

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.
Poetry. Written in diary format from the perspective of a young boy who resists poetry assignments from his teacher. A clever and fun read (with or without a kid).

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Recommended by Yuri Sunahara

The Museum of Fun Book & A New Museum of Fun Book (遊びの博物誌 & 新・遊びの博物誌) by Itsuo Sakane.
Non-Fiction: Games. Books about fun, games and playfulness, written by my mentor Itsuo Sakane. They capture an amazing collection of fun works and ideas from around the world, representing Sakane’s endless curiosity, which led me to the field I’m in and who I am as a designer.

Kokoro (こころ) by Soseki Natsume.
Fiction. A Japanese Classic by my favorite author Soseki Natsume. I encountered this book as a required reading in my high school, and it ended up becoming one of those few books that I revisited many times for its beautifully written tragic story in Meiji period.

Two Billion Light-Years of Solitude (二十億光年の孤独) by Shuntaro Tanikawa.
Poetry. Tanikawa’s writing always reminds me of the beauty of the Japanese language. This is the first Tanikawa book I read many years ago, and still stands as my favorite.

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Recommended by Kristen Svorka

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami.
Fiction. “A thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances.”

The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture & the Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa.
Non-Fiction. “It asks the far-reaching question why, when there are five senses, has one single sense – sight – become so predominant in architectural culture and design?”

How to Travel Incognito by Ludwig Bemelmans.
Fiction. “Fiction in a sort of Munchausen sense of factual presentation of utter absurdity.”

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Recommended by Zinan Wang

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Fiction. Never Let Me Go is a fantastic example of a moral debate and science-fiction rolled into one. Ishiguro plays with the reader as he unfolds his exploration of what it means to live—but never does so unfairly or at the expense of his characters’ right to dignity and reality.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu.
Fiction. Mindblowing sci-fi, a first contact novel unlike any other. The book is bursting with fascinating ideas about the rise and fall of civilizations, particle physics, the lonely life of scientists and intellectuals, the madness of the Cultural Revolution etc. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it.

Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L. Friedman.
Non-Fiction: Social Science. Reports on the changing landscape and how to keep up with the new world.

Dawn of the Bunny Suicides by Andrew Riley.
Fiction: Humor.

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Recommended by Emily Webster

100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Fiction. “Tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founded the town of Macondo, a fictitious town in the country of Colombia.”

Shogun by James Clavell.
Fiction. A book about the founding of Japan.

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs by Sally Mann.
Memoir. Memoir of Sally Mann and her work.

West with the Night by Beryl Markham.
Memoir. Beryl Markham chronicles her experiences growing up in Kenya in the early 1900s leading to her celebrated careers as both a racehorse trainer and bush pilot.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.
Fiction. Traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II.

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Recommended by Matt Weisgerber

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.
Memoir. Amazing geochemist equates stages of her life with soil science and biology systems/processes.

A Pirate of Exquisite Mind by Alex Rutherford and Michael James Preston.
Non-Fiction. The Life of William Dampier: Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer. Dampier was the first to map the winds and currents of the world’s oceans; led the first recorded party of Englishmen to set foot on Australia – 80 years before Cook; wrote about Galapagos wildlife 150 years before Darwin, who drew on Dampier’s notes in his own work; was the first travel writer.

Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds by Greg Milner.
Non-Fiction. Tracking the development of GPS from its origins as a bomb guidance system to its present ubiquity, examines the technology’s double-edged effect on the way we live, work, and travel.

The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality by Rudy Rucker.
Non-Fiction. No words for this, just visual bliss.

 

 

Books for 2020: What are the books that have influenced you?

Be part of our Books for 2020 recommendations by entering your favorites for consideration here.

 

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Community Contributions

Thanks to the following friends of ESI Design who have also recommended their favorites in our Books for 2020 initiative.

Recommended by Ed Sherry, Director of Sales, Diversified

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.
Non-Fiction. Called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?” The man who asked and listened for the answer, Napoleon Hill, is now counted in the top ranks of the world’s winners himself.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall.
Non-Fiction. Like no other book of the twentieth century, Manly P. Hall’s legendary The Secret Teachings of All Ages is a codex to the ancient occult and esoteric traditions of the world. Students of hidden wisdom, ancient symbols, and arcane practices treasure Hall’s magnum opus above all other works.

See You at the Top by Zig Zigler.
Non-Fiction. This book remains an authentic American classic, explaining step by step his time-tested formula for individual development and personal success.

 

Recommended by Corey Nord, Account Executive, PKPR

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.
Fiction. Just one of the most beautiful books ever written. A book about love and family and what’s important.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.
Fiction. One of the classic Tom Wolfe books for a reason. The characters and intertwining stories are amazing, and it’s written in such a vivid, humor-filled way. Just so much fun to read.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann.
Non-Fiction. Such a wild story that is all true! A real page turner about a fascinating time in American history. Grann is a wizard when it comes to storytelling. PLUS it will be a movie soon!

Recommended by Barry Moreno, Librarian, National Park Service

The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By by Georges Simenon.
Fiction. Unforeseen events turns a life upside down.

The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler.
Fiction. A detective writer discovers a true criminal.

Ten Pollitt Place by C. H. B. Kitchin.
Fiction. Family secrets in an apartment house.

 

Books for 2020: What are the books that have influenced you?

Be part of our Books for 2020 recommendations by entering your favorites for consideration here.

Tarley Jordan

Tarley is ESI Design’s Director of Marketing and Communications and blogs about interesting happenings across the business.

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