Ben Gilman

Six books for a long January

Perhaps it’s because we’re all beginning another trip around the Sun that I’ve found a renewed appetite to tackle the growing pile of books awaiting my attention. Here’s what’s on my January reading list.

Hardboiled Web Design by Andy Clarke (@malarkey)

I’ll start with the one I’ve actually already read! There’s not many superlatives that haven’t been thrown at this book over the past couple of months since the eBook version was released. As you’d expect from a Five Simple Steps book, Hardboiled Web Design is skillfully-written, beautifully-produced and illustrated, and an inspiring read to boot. If you’re an HTML and CSS purist needing solace in a long, dark January, I suggest you pick yourself up a copy.

Threadless by Jake Nickell (@skaw)

Given that every designer the world over has at some point thought that their fortune lay in designing t-shirts there’s really no way this book could fail to sell. Covering entrepreneurship, design and t-shirts, it’s a perfect fit for me - one to flick through with a cup of tea and the heating on.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

This book occupies that weird state where it was on my Amazon wishlist but I have no memory of how I found out about it. Still, I love these sorts of books and as a generous family member bought this for me as a Christmas gift I shall be tackling it in due course. Thoughts later maybe.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (@malcgladwell)

When I get round to reading Outliers it’ll be the first of Gladwell’s books I’ve read. I’m not entirely sure what to expect. I remember reading about Barack Obama’s campaign team being firm believers in the logic of The Tipping Point (another Gladwell book) but beyond that I know very little. It’s these sorts of holes in my knowledge that I’m hoping to rectify with the ambitious six books on the January reading list.

How to Make Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

No list would be complete without at least one book for the ages. How to Make Friends… made it onto my wishlist whilst I was reading the excellent 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman. A self-help book that remains relevant a year later is an achievement, to still be recommended reading nearly 80 years later is more than enough reason to read it I’d say.

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood (@margaretatwood)

Jason Fried of 37 Signals famously said “I don’t read fiction. I find it a waste of time.” - I couldn’t disagree more, but then, Fried’s the one with the highly-sucessful, multi-million dollar company. Still, carry on regardless - I have an endless appetite for apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature so Atwood’s book fits in perfectly.

Let reading commence

So there it is - an ambitious six books to tackle before February rolls around. Any you’d recommend I bring to the top of the pile, one you’d advise I ditch completely? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter. I’ve been @bengilman - have a productive January.

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