The books below do not represent all books I have read, only those that I think changed my views in such a way that they influence my personal as well as professional vision on design.
This book transformed how I look at the maximalist life I was living. Something that you grow up with and automatically take over. I’m still not completely finished with my transformation 4 years later, but my buying habits have become much better.
Something that I find curious, together with the minimalist movement: grandma and mom say that this is only possible because I have not lived through war. As someone who experienced war, you always want to have something for when periods are not going so well. I however cannot imagine how it would be helpful when needing to leave all behind when fleeing?
This book is very inspirational, although also very repetitive. It is the motivation behind me not wanting to have a project without reason of being, a why. Also, through this book I found out that I’m a ‘how’ person more then a ‘what’ or ‘why’. The ‘how does this work?’ and ‘how do we solve this?’ I find most interesting questions.
Sasaki takes minimalism one step further then Marie Kondo did in her book. He explains to see ownership of objects as a burden. The less you have the better, so that you can spent your time actually experiencing things rather then needing to take care of your objects. I think what he discribes fits is more then just minimalism, it also falls under a new movement of experience driven societies.
Over the past five years I have become quite aware of bad ingredients in processed food and thus I try to check the ingredient list of the products I choose. However, I never thought about what would go into my body through my skin. Think of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, makeup, creams, sunscreen etcetera. Through this book I would like to see what my problem foods are and what I could change in my beauty rituals for a healthier lifestyle. So far my problem foods turend out to be; bananas, tomatoes and chocolate…unfortunately.
I think this book is my next step. From ‘owning only what makes me happy’ to ‘owning only what I need’ (ownership is a burden and should be shared) to finally ’having that what I own leave minimal impact on the planet’. I think the previous two steps are necessary to make the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. To go from a maximalist life to a sustainable life has almost no point, because you will still see ‘more’ as a norm to strive for. No matter how good the product/produce is, simple consuming less is the best solution to a less wasteful lifestyle, I think. So, I’m slowly trying to implement what is written in this book into my lifestyle — definitely also look at my “all I own project” (in diverse interest.)
I was surprised to read that people in Silicon Valley teach their kids Chinese and English. The book itself is written a lot less pushing then expected. It is actually a very pleasant read with good argumentation. The line that stays with me most is; “Don’t use anything that is ‘free’, because there is no such thing as free in this world. It just means that your payment is in a different currency then money: you pay with your personal information (data).” Because of this I want to cancel my subscription to multiple social media outlets, which turns out is not as easy as I thought it would be.
Interesting views on the concentration of power with just a few global super powers companies. It makes me wonder if we will end up with only a few big companies along the way, or whether they will somehow loose their power to a multitude of local companies at some point again.
Easy to follow book, lots of new references. Still reading.
Still reading, interesting to see how “What is good design?” is coming back quite often.
I think it is important to be able to nurture nature; to understand plants better. And as a bonus it improves indoor air quality which is much needed in London, especially for those (still) travelling in the tube: “Tests found that the Northern Line had the highest concentration of PM2.5 (tiny particles linked to health problems) with the air on platforms at Hampstead station — the deepest on the tube network at 60 metres (200ft) below ground level – recording an average 492 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3) of air, compared with an annual average of 16 μg/m3 from a roadside monitoring site in the capital .” Apparently the amount of air pollution that you get from taking the tube for an hour is equivalent to standing next to a busy road for a whole day.
Super interesting view on the world, why things (that before sometimes puzzled me) are so important to some countries. Especially the difference between knowledge transfer from east to west and north-south explains the difference in growth throughout early centuries.
Haven’t read further than the foreword after starting the course, which I’m planning to change in the upcoming weeks.
This book is a complete advocate for incremental innovation. I found the most inspiring sentence "what can you do right now to make it 1% better?" It talks about how to change habits in a lasting way. Which means you have to start with your identity. “Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop that involves four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.” “The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits. They are (1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying."
This book explains my viewpoint on being in between consumerism and minimalism perfectly. I do agree that we should be owning the least amount of stuff, however it is to much to throw everything away because someone decided that 100 objects per person is the 'right' amount. This book talks about focussing attention on the things in your life that make an impact. Out of everything you could do, what is the most important to you? and next to that: where can you have the most impact?Everything else, decline politely or deligate to those who get energy from the tasks that drain you.
This book is one of the reasons I'm not continueing with the idea I had in mind for my final master project. I think, rather then continueing with 3D printing (because I already invested so much time in that project through PerFlex and I want to see it through to the end I envisioned), I think it is better to take a risk. To rely on my skills as a designer and to work on a new project, the outcome might be uncertain, but the road will be good as long as I'm willing to work hard. The outcome is not what matters, the process is.
This book really changed my persective. I love the fact that Cory actually came up with a post-capitalism world, an alternative system that might work. So many people lately have been saying that capitalism failed us, capitalism doesn't work and ruins the planet. However, I've not heard a clear answer to what system then could replace capitalism? I need to read more books on this area, but I'm certainly interested in thinking about a feisable system.
A though read, but an incredible book on the workings of our mind and memory. There are a few tips throughout the book on how to improve your brains capasity through purely organising the external world. This means that your brain has more capacity left for more important tasks. One of the tips is to do activities in blocks split through, boss, worker and detail. Because switching between those modes of work counts as multitasking too!
This book talks about what makes people successful. Malcolm explains four factors: luck, cultural legacy, effort and opportunity. Luck entails very arbitrary rules, like being born in the right month for many sports players. Cultural legacy entails for example language, the reason why Chinese students are so much better math. Effort talks about the 10.000 hour rule and opportunity means having parents that push and cultivate you, meeting the right people of being close to a place where you can practise be it a gym or a lab.
Personally, I think that the most beautiful part of the book is when you read between the lines that anyone can be capable of great things, if only they get a proper chance. Which I think breaks with the idea that if people end up nowhere they just didn’t work hard enough…there are more factors that play a role and we can design systems to try and equalise the chances, like KIPP schools are doing.
Even though the facts Naomi presents in this book are depressing and the past record of our leaders’ response to the climate crisis is thoroughly concerning, her book gives hope. It gives a narrative that lets us believe that we, normal people, are capable of making the difference in this battle. Power lays not only in our numbers, but also in the grassroots movements and strength that communities can have over companies and government when they pull together.
The part of the book that hit home for me and I won’t ever be able to put into words as beautifully as she can:
“It must always be remembered that the greatest barrier to humanity rising to meet the climate crisis is not that it is too late or that we don’t know what to do. There is just enough time, and we are swamped with green tech and green plans. And yet the reason so many of us are inclined to answer Brad Werner’s provocative question in the affirmative is that we are afraid —with good reason— that our political class is wholly incapable of seizing those tools and implementing those plans, since doing so involves unlearning the core tenets of the stifling free-market ideology that governed every stage of their rise to power.
We simply cannot imagine being part of any mobilisation …with our eyes glued to smart phones, attention spans scattered by click bait, loyalties split by the burdens of debt and insecurities of contract work. Where would we organise? Who would we trust enough to lead us? Who, moreover, is ‘we’?
In other words, we are products of our age and of a dominant ideological project. One that too often has taught us to see ourselves as little more than singular, gratification-seeking units, out to maximise our narrow advantage, while simultaneously severing so many of us from the broader communities whose pooled skills are capable of solving problems big and small.
Because what is overwhelming about the climate challenge is that it requires breaking so many rules at once —rules written into national law and trade agreements, as well as powerful unwritten rules that tell us that no government can increase taxes and stay in power, or say no to major investments no matter how damaging, or plan to gradually contract those parts of our economies that endanger us all.
So how do you change a worldview, an unquestioned ideology? Part of it involves choosing the right early policy battles —game-changing ones that don’t merely aim to change laws but change patterns of thought.
Indeed a great deal of the work of deep social change involves having debates during which new stories can be told to replace the ones that have failed us. Because if we are to have any hope of making the kind of civilisational leap required of this fateful decade, we will need to start believing once again, that humanity is not hopelessly selfish and greedy—the image ceaselessly sold to us by everything from reality shows to neoclassical economics.
This same understanding [abolition movement example] about the need to assert the intrinsic value of life is at the heart of all major progressive victories, from universal suffrage to universal health care. Though these movements all contained economic arguments as part of building their case for justice, they did not win by putting a monetary value on granting equal rights and freedoms. They won by asserting that those rights and freedoms were too valuable to be measured and were inherent to each of us. Similarly, there are plenty of solid economic arguments for moving beyond fossil fuels, as more and more patient investors are realising. And that’s worth pointing out.
We will win by asserting that such calculations [cost-effectiveness] are morally monstrous, since they imply that there is an acceptable price for allowing entire countries to disappear for leaving untold millions to die on parched land, for depriving today’s children of their right to live in a world teeming with the wonders and beauties of creation. ”
In this book Naomi explains how big brands like Nike, Rebok, The Gap, and alike moved towards cheaper labour countries. They hired subcontractors in Japan then Taiwan and Korea and when they got too expensive, they moved to China that gave the job to even more subcontractors in other south-east asian countries. The aim is to get the cheapest, docile labour force, for that they make sure there is no union formation. On top of that the factories often lay in hard to acces Free-Trade Zones where they are not subject to the taxes in the country it is located.
Then she continues with how the jobs that got moved overseas got replaced with temporary jobs, for for example Walmart, Starbucks or MaCDonalds. These temporary jobs are minimum wage and have rarely any social benifit or security. And are by many viewed as a inbetween job to a 'real' job. How did these big multinacionals convice us that the jobs they create don't need to hold up to proper standards?
Since, this book is more then 20years old I wondered how relevant it would be. Wilst I walked into CSM, I passed the academical staff that is on strike because they want fair paid, fulltime employment and whilst walking up the stairs I saw all the posters to 'stop outsourcing now' from the cleaning staff in a new light. What Naomi is talking about is still, maybe more then ever relevant. Automation, GIG economy and outsourcing make proper jobs slowly scarce and with them decrease social sercurity for the many.
Eventhough I see what is going on, I'm still unsure about what then a better system would look like.
It was my first time hearing about the fact that Google took much more than street images when their cars privatised our public roads and streets: they swooped information about local wifi networks as well as possible passwords, documents and photo's of people living in houses next to the roads they took.
I never thought that much about Google glass, except that they looked silly and a bit clumsy, too technical in a way only geeks find exciting, similar to most of the smart apparatus that are supposed to be helpful to our lives. I perceived them as relatively harmless, however after reading the book it dawned on me that these 'helpful' apps/machines now come at the cost of our privacy without giving consumers a real choice. It's similar to street-view, accept that glasses (or similar smart home products) start breaching even more personal spaces.
Refusing the prying eyes and ears can be done in two ways; not using the product at all, or disabling spying function often forcefully accompanied by a reduction of the product's functions. Which is worrisome, because peer-pressure will push the more venerable groups of society to use and become depended on those services. And the most worrying about surveillance capitalism is whom this enormous amounts of data will benefit when it enables them to alter consumer behaviours.
My bachelors degree is in interactive systems, and although we would talk about privacy, I don't think any student really thought deeply about how these systems can be badly misused 'as means to others commercial ends' as Shoshana puts it. I think it is imperative for a designer to carefully consider how captured user-data could be misused or what this information could become when either leaked or sold to various parties.
I think this is a great book on how to start a business. And it gave me huge inspiration how I could start the 3D printed lingerie in such a way that it would already become a business much earlier. Rather then waiting untill the product is perfect, which in my opinion, will probably never be the case.
So, moving forward with the project I split the design of 3D printed textiles and the lingerie fit in two sepparate components. I estimate that both seperately could be a profitable business, which will give me the financial means to research a sustainable material to ulitimately combine the two into one business.
One critical note I have on the book is when he starts talking about how a business has to make money. How a business should raise their pricesses yearly and even experiment with an increased price to see how many would still buy your product: making more money, whilst producing less products is highly praiseworthy. Although I agree that a business should be profitable, I also think it should be responsible and sustainable. And the latter two values will have to compromise the short term financial gains.
I think that ... in Let my people go surfing eleborates on this sustainable business ethics brilliantly. So although I will use the information in this book for the start-up phase I want to look at the Patagonia model for ethical growth of the company.
The books follows four fictional characters, two teachers and two students in their journey to elevate their lives through installing the habit off waking up at 5AM, including giving them many wise lessons and formulas on how to become the best version of themselves.
After reading Atomic Habits this book made me see the 5AM club as a possible key habit - a key habit is like the first domino to start a chain reaction of other positive habit changes. And therefore I think it doesn't need to be specifically 5 AM, if that doesn't fit your lifestyle. So what I want to try instead is joining the 6AM Club, which is still really early compared to most people and combined with the 20-20-20 rule (exercise-plan/meditate-learn) it will be a powerful tool to make my morning routine more regular and relaxed. Whether this turns out to be a key-habit and therefor transforming all my other habits, will remain to be seen after 66 days of acting on this new habit.
I was sceptical, because Patagonia is quite a big brand. And definitely for profit. So how much good could they do?
Daniel Christian Wahl