Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency

Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency

by Tom DeMarco

Slack is an outstanding management book full of wisdom about corporate culture, change, failure, learning, quality, risk management, productivity, and managing people.

“You can’t grow if you can’t change at all.” Slack is “the lubricant of change… Slack represents operational capacity sacrificed in the interests of long-term health… Learning to think of it that way (instead of as waste) is what distinguishes organizations that are ‘in business’ from those that are merely busy.”

Continue reading “Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency”

Good Charts Workbook: Tips, Tools, and Exercises for Making Better Data Visualizations

Good Charts Workbook: Tips, Tools, and Exercises for Making Better Data Visualizations

by Scott Berinato

A good visual representation of data can be invaluable for communicating the meaning behind the numbers. This book walks the reader through the thought process and choices in creating visualizations for a variety of cases. “It’s rare you don’t have to make a trade-off to create a good chart… Most of the time there isn’t one right answer, one right chart.” The main topics covered in the book are clarity, color, chart types, and persuasion.

Clarity. Berinato emphasizes decluttering to put the focus on what you want to communicate. “Take stuff away… Remove redundancy… Limit color and eye travel… Use your headline to describe the main idea of a chart, not its structure.”

Continue reading “Good Charts Workbook: Tips, Tools, and Exercises for Making Better Data Visualizations”

Rethinking Risk Management: Critically Examining Old Ideas and New Concepts

Rethinking Risk Management: Critically Examining Old Ideas and New Concepts

by Rick Nason

Rick Nason challenges the status quo of risk management which mindlessly follows third-party frameworks and does too little independent thinking. He argues that risk management acts as “The Department of No” while ignoring upside risk. He envisions risk management as a strategic player in value creation rather than a cost center.

“Defining risk management as increasing the probability and magnitude of good risk while decreasing the probability and severity of bad risk implies balance, and risk management is nothing if not an exercise in balance. It is a balance between art and science, process and judgment.” Continue reading “Rethinking Risk Management: Critically Examining Old Ideas and New Concepts”

Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

by Dorie Clark

This book is about making a career change. It starts with understanding your transferable skills, identifying how you are different as a competitive advantage, then establishing a narrative to make sense of your transition.

Continue reading “Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future”

Art Can Help

Art Can Help

by Robert Adams

Robert Adams, a photographer of the American West for over 50 years, writes about the art of photography. Before commenting on the works of 27 photographers, he shares his views on art in general, and he examines the work of his favorite painter, Edward Hopper.

“It is the responsibility of artists to pay attention to the world, pleasant or otherwise, and to help us live respectfully in it.  Artists do this by keeping their curiosity and moral sense alive, and by sharing with us their gift for metaphor. Often this means finding similarities between observable fact and inner experience.”  Continue reading “Art Can Help”

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking: What a Marketer Learned in Design School

by Kunitake Saso

“The design thinking process is not a collection of steps… [It] is characterized by switching between four different modes as needed, and advancing work through short cycles… You go back and forth between the phases again and again, slowly raising the quality of your output; therefore, it is better to think of it as a compass than as a map.”

The Four Modes of Design Thinking:

  1. Research
  2. Analysis
  3. Synthesis
  4. Prototyping

The author says that 80% of the value is created in the synthesis and prototyping stages.

RESEARCH. The subjects of design research interviews are often “extreme users with strong preferences, or experts in the field and very familiar with the trends” rather than average users. Continue reading “The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking”

Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice

Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice

by D.B. Dowd

D.B. Dowd, professor of art and American culture studies at Washington University and faculty director of the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, writes that drawing is above all else a tool for learning. This beautifully printed book covers drawing as a means of discovery and communication, confusion between visual modes, a nostalgic look at the field of illustration, and musings about the teaching of art.

Continue reading “Stick Figures: Drawing as a Human Practice”