By Tyler Jefford
On December 21st, 2022
Every year, I set a goal for number of books and topics to read. This year, my goal was 52 books - or one per week - and topics ranged from the usual scifi to stuff like road safety, city planning, climate change, also a number of engineering, design and management. Below are some of the books that stood out to me in 2022.
Touch Design For Mobile Interfaces by Steven Hoober
This book was a great breakdown on mobile interfaces and how to improve them. I’ve written about how Mobile Interfaces Are Shit and Touch Design For Mobile Interfaces gives a lot of ways to think about building for smaller screens. There was also a bit about the history of touch screens I found nerdy and fun.
Design for Safety by Eva PenzeyMoog
Design for safety came out late last year and I quickly snapped it up. I love a good A Book Apart volume, and this one was right up my alley as I was working on planning a new product at work. A lot of the insights in the book are good reminders of how not thinking through how a product might be used to hurt someone could impact the user experience.
The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars & Kurt Kohlstedt
Look around you as you walk through your neighborhood, or drive to get groceries. There are things all around you with deliberate designs and for good reasons that you might not think about. From dividers on the interstate to the reason streets are designed the way they are. Its a great read for the curious minded. Pop this in as an audible while you walk around the city, it might change your perspective.
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
This was a fun scifi book where a delivery driver finds himself in a dinosaur like world working with a preservation society. I was impressed by the story, quick read and gripping. One of the first books I’ve read that has used COVID as a plot point.
Farm (and Other F Words) by Sarah K Mock
Another area I began to read more into this year was farming, agriculture and food production. Sarah Mock has a lot couple great books about finding what a great farm is, and what makes it great. She also explores the ups and downs of owning a farm, producing crops and why its more lucrative to grow commodity crops even if they get blown away in a storm.
Disrupting the Game by Reggie Fils-Aimé
Being a Nintendo fan of the early 2000s, Reggie was constantly in the game magazines I bought at the store. I remember seeing this large dude in a suit holding the tiniest gameboy micro on stage and thinking he was abnormal for the industry. In this memoir, I learned so much more about his upbringing and came to appreciate even more his leadership style and commitment to the nerdy stuff. He was also a meme and leaned into it.
How to Prevent the Next Pandemic by Bill Gates
Following up 2021’s book on preventing a climate disaster, Gates has another attainable and actionable book on how to prevent the next pandemic. In this book he outlines the steps we should take and fund as a global health system, reporting and developing better mitigation efforts. Plans like this arent perfect, but a great start to build toward a future where the next COVID would be identified and squashed in the first 100 days.
Confessions of a Recovering Engineer by Charles L. Marohn, Jr.
I read several books in the Strong Towns realm this year, Confessions might be one of the better ones. A lot of great details about road safety, street design and why stroads (street+roads) are dangerous and bad for communities. If you are remotely interested in the design of your neighborhood, city or community, I highly recommend this book and the other Strong Town content.
Empire of Imagination by Michael Witwer
Only in the last year or so I’ve been really getting into board games and love the idea of world building and creativity that comes from games like Dungeons & Dragons. Empire of Imagination is a biography of the creator Gary Gygax and really I really enjoyed the journey to D&D.
The Carbon Almanac by The Carbon Almanac Network
The Carbon Almanac is the definitive source for facts and the basis for a global movement to fight climate change. I really liked the detail that went into the data and research for this book. It’s an attainable and approachable way to dive into the climate issue that needs our attention.
Tangled Vines by Frances Dinkelspiel
I picked up this book not really knowing what to expect. At first, I thought it was a fictional novel about a wine heist and sabotage. It’s a true crime story about multi-million dollar wine loss in an arson and the underworld of rare wines. A world I never through of and with such detail about the way rare wines were traded and auctioned, and the lack of regulation that led to the theft and greed and eventual capture of the con man.
The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
A great follow up to the 2018 book Becoming. The Light We Carry is a bunch of lessons wrapped in the stories of the former First Lady. A great read to learn more about Michelle and insights into their parenting style.