Author Archives: Rick Threlfall

Delivering Happiness

by Tony Hsieh

Fast Review…

At the start of this book, I found myself wondering if it was right for me – there was a lot of talk about a drive to, essentially, just make money (rather than wonderful products or service). It turns out, that was all part of the lesson. The story follows Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) as he grows up with a desire to build businesses. It talks of his experience with LinkExchange and waking up one day to realise that through rapid growth and by recruiting people who were not necessarily a company cultural fit, that company was simply no longer for him. The following tale is of startups – including the one he came to treasure, Zappos. It covers the company struggles, rise, fall, rise and so on with their goal to drive an amazing company culture and an ethos of excellent customer experience. I found it inspirational, and wonderful to read about a CEO who actually seems to care about employees and service.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read by the author.

Re-read?

Yes

Links

Delivering Happiness official website

Digital Wars

by Charles Arthur

Fast Review…

This is a tale of three titans of the digital world; Apple, Google and Microsoft. The book walks through the history of those companies and how they impacted the world and each other. As a bit of computer history geek, I didn’t find anything particularly new here but it is well put together and a tale nicely told. I had a slight issue with the repeated spelling out of acronyms and repetition of certain points (I can recall something I read two pages ago!) but I understand why that’s done and they are very minor irritations in an otherwise extremely interesting and entertaining book – and there are some cool references to the way Apple, in particular, manipulates the market with a few cunning psychological ‘tricks’ 🙂

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read (not by the author).

Re-read?

Probably not, or at least not for a while.

Links

Mini Habits

by Stephen Guise

Fast Review…

This is more of a self-help book than a true psychology book. The theory is a well known one (certainly to anybody who has researched BJ Fogg and his Tiny Habit concept or read ‘Hooked’). The interesting twist here is the suggestion to use artificial ‘triggers’ plus a few other ideas here and there. There is a lot of repetition – probably due to this being a fairly simple concept – but it was well presented and worth the time.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read (not by the author).

Re-listen?

Probably not, although I will follow up on some of the links.

Links

Mini Habits website

How Netflix Produces Happy Endings

by The Editors of New Word City

Fast Review…

A very short (24 minutes) audiobook telling the story of the Netflix service. A few nice hints about customer engagement and a good case study of the application of some of the techniques mentioned in the books listed on this site.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read.

Re-listen?

Yes (listened through a couple of times already)

Links

Fearless Facilitation

by Cyndi Maxey and Kevin E. O’Connor

Fast Review…

Every meeting, workshop or get-together where you want some sort of useful outcome should have a facilitator, and effective facilitation – even at the most trivial level of just keeping people to time – can be pretty demanding. I thought this was a great book, nicely insightful and with a lot of useful tricks and tips. Along with good preparation, a few good ‘games’ (see GameStorming) and practice, this book is definitely worth a look to help add to get the workshops running better.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read (not by the author).

Re-read?

Maybe not a full re-read, but I’ll be looking things up.

Links

Dreaming in Code

by Scott Rosenberg

Fast Review…

A story of a large software project. And a familiar story of how difficult large software projects are to predict and work on. I enjoyed the book, essentially because it was filled with such a huge collection of familiar patterns and outcomes. The story touches on many aspects from project inception through a brief mention of the consideration of user experience design and the various techniques for project delivery that were applied. It amused me that Lotus Notes got a mention – and despite being one of the most horrific pieces of software inflicted on the world (in my opinion), the sentiment was not negative. What I came away with … it’s always nice to know that we are not alone in our struggles 🙂

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read (not by the author).

Re-read?

Unlikely, but great for a one-time-read.

Links

Talk Like TED

by Carmine Gallo

Fast Review…

To paraphrase the author; reading this will not mean you’ll be able to give a TED quality talk, but it’ll give you the insider view on those that do. Some great tips and a lot of good references to great talks. The overall moral is practice a lot and tell a story that will engage with your audience’s emotions. I might argue that the book could be cut down a bit, but anybody who speaks at events should at least give this one read.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read by the author.

Re-read?

Possibly (I have re-listened to some parts of the audiobook before giving talks).

Links

How to get People to Do Stuff

by Susan M. Weinschenk

Fast Review…

This is, in a way, a guide for how to apply Thinking Fast and Slow – although there is more in there than that. It’s a nicely written, concise book that feels the correct length (rarely is a point laboured as it is in so many books of this type). A great read and a great reference.

Audiobook…

Not that I could find.

Re-read?

Yes – I’ll have to so I can learn all those tips!

Links

Design Like Apple

by John Edson

Fast Review…

A whistle-stop-tour of the design ethos that’s embedded within Apple. I love Apple products and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a great ‘inspiring tips’ read – although many of those tips would take a good deal of execution in a large organisation. It’s also full of very ‘quotable’ entries. Definitely worth a go.

Audiobook…

Available on Audible and very well read by the author.

Re-read?

Yes.

Links

Design Like Apple. John Edson

Hooked

by Nir Eyal

Fast Review…

A very insightful book about applying psychology and experience design to drive product engagement – this is a really fascinating read and although it’s not ‘dark patterns’ (its about using these techniques as a force for good) you can really see how powerful these techniques can be.

Audiobook…

Yes, this book is available on Audible and well read (not by the author).

Re-read?

Definitely.

Links

Intertwingled

by Peter Morville

Fast Review…

I thoroughly enjoyed this, at times beautifully abstract, discussion of information architecture and the connectedness of everything. There are some good, solid, guidelines in there as well, but the push to consider the bigger picture as far as possible is well described and wonderfully valid.

Audiobook…

Yes, available on Audible and read by the author.

Re-read?

Definitely.

Links

Mental Models

by Indi Young

Fast Review…

This is a great book and very rich in information… but… I found it quite heavy going. The principles are sound but just a little bit over-described and I found it actually put me off some of the techniques described – even though I believe that this form of mapping can be provide a lot of useful (and re-usable) data.

Audiobook…

Not that I could find.

Re-read?

No – but I will pop in there for reference.

Links

Mental Models, Indi Young

Start with Why

by Simon Sinek

Fast Review…

A great question and a really good book. An inspiring read and while the ‘why you should know why’ might seem obvious – it’s a great book full of examples and arguments you can take to your ‘what we make’ obsessed management.

Audiobook…

Yes, available on Audible and read by the author.

Re-read?

Definitely.

Links

Gamestorming

by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown and James Macanufo

Fast Review…

This is a handy reference book for anybody who needs to run workshops (or useful meetings). Some great ideas for driving out ideas or coming to conclusions in groups working environments.

Audiobook…

Not that I could find.

Re-read?

Maybe not re-read I find it useful to flick through before a workshop if I’m trying to think of something new to spring on people.

Links

Nudge

by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

Fast Review…

This book is, in some ways, a companion to Thinking Fast and Slow. It tells some good stories although it can be a bit long-winded at times. Worth a read as there is some good information but it can take a while to get there.

Audiobook…

Yes, available on Audible and well read (not by the author).

Re-read?

Probably not.

Links

Web Form Design

by Luke Wroblewski

Fast Review…

More reference than story, but well worth adding to the collection – and useful to dip into whenever you need to design an information gathering component for web or otherwise. It is probably due for an update here and there, as some technology and platform changes have added a few options now – principles do remain sound.

Audiobook…

No that I could find.

Re-read?

I’ve read sections and continue to use the book for reference.

Links

Web Form Design. Luke Wroblewski

Lean UX

by Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden

Fast Review…

A very clean description of the meeting of UX design and lean (& agile) principles. Occasionally a little idealistic but also very well written and you can really apply the techniques illustrated.

Audiobook…

Not that I could find.

Re-read?

I will, yes.

Links

Lean UX. Jeff Gothelf