[Review of Books] Read by #IS in March 2011

Hello SCG,

you might have noticed, we are still missing last 2 months of book reviews -> so, let’s stop whining & let’s ship them instead.  March 2011 was without any doubt the most life-transforming month of my life & books, which I have read during it will carry a special scent with them forever. Which are they?


Poke the Box – Workbook (pdf.) by Seth

Twenty two pages long beautifully designed free pdf. file is follow up on 1st book published by the Domino Project -> Poke the Box (PTB) or it is a teaser for those who are still hesitant about purchasing learning from PTB.

I do recommend you to: read it from this link -> download it -> re-read it again -> print it 2 times -> fill in your answers in 1st print out -> give away 2nd printed pdf. to someone you know, who is poking the box or needs a little kick to do so.


The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier

First of all, let me express my total gratitude to my friend Dodo (@LivePozitive) for recommending & giving me to read Marty’s book. It is shame, that till date I did not have a clue about this super cool design thinker (@MARTYneumeier). (but it does not matter now – what matters is, that now we are informed)

Designful Company is deliciously designed tiny book & it is a must read for every empathic person, who runs a business or is part of an organization – who cares to create sustainable exciting living culture of innovation => so, I guess that makes most of us here at #IS, right? 😉 More about it in “Quotes of the Month Column bellow”.


The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vee’s second book -> The Thank You Economy (TYE) was gift to myself after my 4th day in the hospital. (Note #justsaying:  thank you in title of Gary’s book had lot to do with my emotional state that time, when I was grateful to be alive. )

I have “fell in love” with Gary in May 2009, when his talk at Web 2.0 Expo inspired me so much, that I have walked out from my job -> 2 months after watching it. So, buying & reading for TYE was no-brainer for me. I have also written ode (= blog post) to Gary (@garyvee) and TYE in Slovak language few days back ->  here it is. (Note: it includes  Gary’s videos in English, so you non-Slovak SCG-ers can at least watch those)

Bottom line: Go and get TYE, now!


Seeking Wisdom by Paul Bevelin

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger is certainly a jewel among books, which I have read recently. I owe huge thank you to Derek Sivers (@sivers) for pointing it out on his blog. “Thank you, Derek!”

(Note to myself: Bevelin’s book title is very well-fitting after experiencing March 2011 events. Yeap, “Seeking Wisdom” was what I was up to then & I am up to now)

Bottom line: get this book -> read it slowly-> study it -> make notes & never settle down in the quest of seeking wisdom 😉

Bonus: here are generous notes from Seeking Wisdom by Derek Sivers -> I could not have done it better;-)


Quotes Of the Month Column goes to Marty’s Designful Company


You can’t stick “innovation” into your tag line & expect magic to ensue. If you want to innovate you have to build a culture of innovation.


Companies fail because they cannot imagine better course.


Keep stories: 1. simple, 2. unexpected, 3.concrete, 4. credible, 5. emotional.


Respect is the first casualty of internal design teams. Include them in high-level conversations.


Closer you look at the history of design. The more you see, that lone genius is more myth than fact.


Good ideas don’t care who they happened to.


Great ideas can survive only through acts of bravery.


The biggest hurdle to innovation is the corporate longing for certainty about costs, market size, revenues & other quantities, all of which cannot be known when an idea is new.


Measurement & innovation are locked in a dance, that they can do either badly or well.


Measurability decreases as importance increases.


How you learn is vastly more important than what you learn!


Instead of viewing acquired company as an uneducated child, view it as an inspired teacher.


Chief Design Officer – person with the strategic & creative chops integrating the design of everything company makes, says & does.


Innovation flourishes best when design has a seat at the table.


How do you measure talent? How do you increase inspiration? How do you crank up creative joy?

=> by recognition!


Traditional vs. Designful Company:

focus on costs vs. focus on customers

jobs are role oriented vs. jobs are project oriented

risk taking is discouraged vs. it is can – do

worker are siloed vs. workers collaborate

beuaty is tacked on vs. beauty is built – in


Change is power. Design is change.


Difference + design = delight.


A designer is anyone who tries to change an existing situation to an improved one.


The best design thinkers tent to be empathetic, intuitive, imaginative & idealistic.


You cannot decide the way forward, you have to design the way forward.


Designful leaders reject the tyranny of “or” in favor of the genius “and.”


Designers use non-logical processes that are difficult to express in words but easier to express in action.


In the making designers learn what they are doing, while they are doing it.


Good design does not depend much on the eye of the beholder, but on combination of aesthetics & ethics. Good design exhibits virtues.


The true gift of digital invention is not information but collaboration.



which quote of Marty Neumeier has resonated with you the most? Do you know any designul company near you? + Please, share with us your reading tips, too.

Over to you now.



  1. > never settle down in the quest of seeking wisdom
    The beauty of the quest is the journey you create in the process.

  2. Brano says:

    Hi Ivana,

    I like these:

    * The best design thinkers tent to be empathetic, intuitive, imaginative & idealistic.

    * In the making designers learn what they are doing, while they are doing it.

    Have a nice evening.

    • Thanks for liking and reading Brano.
      Keep on making stuff. Put your imagination, intuition and ideals into it.
      p.s.: thanks for coming down to Poprad for Linchpin day!

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