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Three excellent, off-the-radar books

September 17 · Issue #37 · View online
Design Sprint Newsletter
Hey there!

I recently read some great books and I want to tell someone about them, so… apparently that someone is you.

First, some ads for my upcoming design sprint workshops. I’d love to see you there!

Now to the books. Some are new and some are not—what they all have in common is that they’re a bit off-the-radar and they’re awesome. Here goes:

1. The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen
Whatever your reason for subscribing to this newsletter and opening it today* I can pretty much guarantee that this book has NOTHING to do with that reason. The book is not about design, or business, or creativity, or time management, or anything like that. But it’s just such a good book!

First, it has a really great cover:
You can 100% judge this book by its cover, because just like that illustration, the text is clever and tight and fun. The author, Peter Brannen, takes boring/depressing topics (extinction, geology, and climate change) and makes them into a fascinating and somehow very uplifting story of the history and future of our planet.

I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoy a good sci-fi book (and I enjoy those a LOT) but it’s all real stuff! I learned about ancient volcanoes that pumped out enough lava to cover the United States a mile deep in magma. I learned about 500 mile per hour hurricanes on the supercontinent of Pangaea. I drove my family crazy with amazing facts I couldn’t keep to myself. “Oho, you think the weather’s bad outside? Well you’re lucky…” Yes, I got extremely annoying.

I wouldn’t normally pick up a book like this because I don’t like downer talk about climate change (sure, that’s pathetic, but it’s the truth… it’s hard enough to keep my morale up as is!) I only learned about The Ends of the World because my friend Francis recommended it, and I only bought it because the cover was so cool, and here we are—I’m now recommending it to you and the cover’s still cool. Trust the cover. You’ll like this.

2. Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin
I bought this book when it came out in 2018, but I didn’t read it right away. Then, when I moved recently, it sort of shuffled its way to the top and I picked it up. It’s great!

There are a lot of books out there about being an entrepreneur, but they mostly glorify success, and in my experience, few are honest or useful. Lost and Founder is both honest AND useful, again and again and again. Rand founded a company called Moz and built it up to $40M/year revenue. He also is willing to talk about the many screw-ups along the way, and he happens to be a really good writer besides. Lost and Founder is packed with practical information for anybody who’s in business for themselves, in management, or builds products or services.

3. Beyond the Prototype by Douglas Ferguson
Douglas is a friend of mine, and is also a former startup founder. We ran a sprint together a few years back when Google Ventures invested in his company. Today, Douglas is running an agency, leading design sprints, and coaching companies on product development. As an engineer and former CTO, he brings a pretty unique perspective to the design world.

Anyway, Douglas put together Beyond the Prototype to help with the classic “what happens after a design sprint?” question. It’s a super handy guide!

I don’t know if this is fun or scary.

Thanks for reading! If you like this newsletter, forward it to a friend. If you don’t like it, read a book instead of a stupid email newsletter.


*By the way, why do you subscribe to this newsletter? I really am curious, although I promise it won’t change what I write in the newsletter one way or another. But if you made it this far, and if you feel like it, please reply and let me know!
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