Reading in SVA’s MFA program of Interaction Design

SVA posted a list of their reading recommendations for interaction design.  Funny that I’ve read a huge chunk of these — and I try to stay as far away from the front end as possible.  Here’s my one sentence review of what I’ve read.

  • The Design of Everyday Things, Donald Norman — Good at the time but nothing really stuck with me.
  • Envisioning Information, Edward R. Tufte. — Great, made me both want to read all of his other books as well as find ways to make graphs like this for every little thing around me.
  • Powers of Ten, Philip Morrison, Phylis Morrison and the office of Charles and Ray Eames — I remember the first time I saw this in an astronomy class and the professor stopped right as it was going into the hand and everyone demanded that she continue.
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte — Great, but this got me going down the road of thinking that I could explain more math graphically then people understand, and got me down the path of madness that is
  • Getting Started with Arduino (Make: Projects), Massimo Banzi — Oh lovely, blinky LED arduinos.
  • Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers, Tom Igoe, Dan O’Sullivan — I read this mostly in Barnes and Noble because I had much higher expectations of what it could have been than what it turned out to be.
  • Comics and Sequential Art, Will Eisner — This made me want to practice sketching more.
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud — This book is shockingly good, so good that when one person made fun of me for reading it — you need a book for understand comics interrobang — I immediately felt less sympathy for her troubles in life, what with her being an ignorant philistine and all.
  • The Architecture of Happiness, Alain De Botton — It is completely unacceptable that he didn’t mention Christopher Alexander, and frankly after the wit and charm of “How Proust Can Change Your Life” and even “The Consolations of Philosophers” this sort of clever emptiness that leaves out huge swathes of germane territory is saddening.
  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Thing, William McDonough and Michael Braungart — Reading this is probably the closest thing I could imagine to being exposed to Buckmister Fuller for the first time, like seeing a Dymaxion car driving around in 1930 when people still remember horse and buggies.  Also, the book is totally plastic.