These are by no means a comprehensive list of books I own or have read; but are ones that I own and have read that related to my work. Sharing in the hope of finding new ones to read and sparking interesting and productive conversations.
A Pattern Language - Architect Christopher Alexander’s most well-known work; also inspired a generation of programmers working on Object-Oriented Programming. Focuses on common patterns in architecture and the built environment, and how to use them to create liveable spaces.
Chambers For A Memory Palace - A series of letters between two authors on the topic of place-making.
Experiencing Architecture - Collection of examples of archiectural design throughout human civilization.
How Buildings Learn - Stewart Brand’s classic text on how the useage of buildings changes over time.
How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit - Provides a framework for understanding architecture both as a form of art, and an everyday occurance that enables people to live comfortably.
Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth - Fuller’s seminal work on our relationship to the Earth and how we can build in a healthy way.
R. Buckminster Fuller: World Man - Fuller’s previously un-published 1966 Kassler lecture at Princeton University School of Architecture
The Language of Cities - An exploration of what cities are; how we live with and identify with them.
The Poetics of Space - Discusses how humans relate to common spaces (attics, cellars, drawers, living rooms, etc).
The Timeless Way of Building - Another Alexander book; this one focuses on the idea that the best living spaces and built environments are built organically based on common human needs.
Tools of the Imagination - A collection by the National Building Museum covering 250 years of design tools and technologies for builders
Towards a New Architecture - Le Corbusier’s manifesto advocating for modern architecture.
Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design - An apporach to understanding what computers can and cannot do, and taht relationship to human cognition and language.
What Computers Still Can’t Do: A Critique of Artifical Reason - Philospher Hubert Dreyfus' 1972 manifesto argues that disembodied machines cannot acheive consciousness.
Society of Mind - Marvin Minsky’s text on his theory of natural intelligence.
The Computer and The Brain - Johnny von Neuman’s last published (and unfinished) work covering the nature of the human brain and its relation to computational machines.
Visual Computing - Two Silicon Graphics, Inc. alumni discuss comptuers' ability to generate and display images, and that relationship to art and human psychology and perception.
Computers and the Imaginiation : Visual Adventures Beyond the Edge - Examination of how computers have transformed visualization.
Image Objects - Chronicles the history of the field of computer graphics through the stories of several objects that played a part in its history.
A Biography of The Pixel - Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of Pixar; tells the story of how computers can be used to display images.
Code as Creative Medium - Golan Levin and Tega Brain provide pedagogic exerices for instructors teaching creative coding.
Maeda @ Media - Designer and artist John Maeda shares his work combinging computer programming and graphic design from his days working at the MIT Media Lab.
The Storm Of Creativity - Covers the stages of the creative process, with examples from practicing artists, architects, poets, and others.
Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s groundbreaking work on “psychology of optimal experience”.
Creativity - Csikszentmihalyi’s follow up book; on the nature of creativity.
Art and Fear - Moving meditations on “doing the work” in the face of loneliness or discouragement. Directed towards young artists early in their career, but the lessons are all equally applicable regardless of your domoain.
On Photography - Susan Sontag’s evocative collection of essays on the philosophy of photography.
Understanding a Photograph - John Berger once again with a series of essays on teh history and nature of photography as a new medium for artistic expression.
Why Photography Matters - Meditation on how photography is not only an artistic medium, but also a way to know about the world around us.
Mind in Motion: How Action Shapes Thought - Barbara Tversky makes teh case that “movement and our interactions in space, not language, are the true foundations of thought”.
Supersizing the Mind - Andy Clark argues that the act of thinking is not just confined to what happens in our head, but also in the way we move and interact with the world and objects around us.
Where the Action Is - Delves into the psychology underpinning Human-Computer Interaction.
Gesture and Speech - Demonstration that the hand and brain work together to shape cognition.
The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture - Overview of how the human hand has shaped our cognitive, emotional, linguistic, and psychological development.
Hand and Mind - Shows that gestures do not only impact what people say, but also inform how people think.
Hands - Discusses the evolutionary history of the human hand, including its relationshiip to tool-making and tool-useage.
Metaphors We Live By - Presents the idea that metaphor is a basic building block to how people understand ourselves and the world around us.
The Medium is The Mesage - Seminal work by Marhsal McLuahn on “The New Media”.
The NewMedia Reader - Collection of foundational papers and texts on early computing, interfaces, and associated media and technologies.
Tools for Convivality - Ivan Illich makes the case for access to tools that enable peronal fulfillment, not just productivity.
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man - McLuhan’s discussion of hot and cool media, and their relationship to the humans that created them.
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software - Explains how computers work from a bottoms-up approach; from the hardware level up to the application layer.
Geek Sublime - A software engineer discusses the relationship between programming and Sanskrit.
Hackers and Painters - Y-Combinator co-founder Paul Grahm’s series of essays on the nature of hackers and their relationship to their work.
Working in Public - Nadia Eghbal researches the motivations of open-source software development
Operating System Concepts - “The Dinosaur Book”; textbook on operating systems.
The C Programming Language - Classic Kernighan and Ritchie text.
Learn Objective-C on the Mac - One of my first programming books; how I learned to first write iOS software
The Design of the Unix Operating System - Provides an overview of the internal structure of Unix and its relationship to the computer programmer.
Concepts of Programming Languages - academic textbook on programming language theory
A Mind at Play - Biography of the Father Of Information Theory, Claude Shannon.
Bootstrapping - Chronicles Douglas Englebart and his work at the Stanford Research Institute that culiminated in The Mother of All Demos; which ushered in a new era of how people thought about using computers.
Crystal Fire - Chronicles the history of the transisitor; from its origins in research, to invention, to impact on everything in our world today.
Dealers of Lighting - Covers the sweeping technological achievements (and foibles) of Xerox PARC.
Showstopper! - The story of a team at Micosoft’s journey to ship a brand new Operating System - WindowsNT.
Steve Jobs - Walter Issacson writes about the life and work of Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs.
In the Beginning Was the Command Line - Sci-fi author Neil Stephanson takes us on a tour of how we used to use computers prior to the GUI.
Peripheral Vision - Tells the story of collaboration between visual artists and computer scientists at Bell Laboratories.
Soul of a New Machine - Tracy Kidder follows a team at Data General racing to get the Eclipse MV/8000 computer to market.
The Big Score - Michael S. Malone writes a sweeping tale of the origins of Silicon Valley from the founding of Hewlet-Packard to the rise of Apple.
The Little Kingdom - The first book documenting Apple Computer.
The Media Lab - Whole Earth Catalog creator Stewart Brand shares a window in the Media Lab during a residency at the institution.
The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Storey - Michael Lewis' chronicle of Silicion Valley Legend Jim Clark.
The One Device: The Secret History of The iPhone - Members of the original iPhone team share their stories.
What the Dormouse Said - An exploration of the relationship between the 60’s counterculture and early computing pioneers.