A Director of Product Experience & Strategy’s Favorite Books

Updated on
April 19, 2024

by Angel Ayala

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time

These books have been instrumental in my personal and professional life. Many of them serendipitously came to me when I needed them the most, and I’m eternally grateful for these, and many more, that I now own and carry with me anywhere I am — in my phone, my kindle, my library at home, or in my head.

Upstream, by Mary Oliver

I simply love this book. It is an enjoyable journey from beginning to end and beautifully written.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

Universal Traveler, by Don Koberg

I can pinpoint the exact time when I finished reading this book about 10 years ago, and it transformed the way I see life as a creative journey. Couldn’t think of a better book for this list.

“The most profound choice in life is to either accept things as they exist or to accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

These are remarkable pieces of history that we get to enjoy and reflect upon. I love the depth and the slowness it requires to be fully enjoyed. I simply love the mindset of slowing — almost to a stop — to take in this book and its profound learnings.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

Paul Rand: Conversations with Students, by Michael Kroeger

Love how Paul Rand makes the simplest and most elegant expression of what Design truly is. His definition of Design is a powerful depiction of a masterful and creative teacher.

“To design is much more than simply to assemble, to order, or even to edit: it is to add value and meaning, to illuminate, to simplify, to clarify, to modify, to dignify, to dramatize, to persuade, and perhaps even to amuse. To design is to transform prose into poetry.”

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, by Herminia Ibarra

Thinking before we act is a powerful way to challenge us to take action and reflect on that, rather than the opposite which leads us to never accomplish something worth living for. Herminia Ibarra’s work is phenomenal — it teaches us to recognize insight as an outcome rather than input, and shift preconceived notions into something actionable and dynamic.

“Knowing what we should be doing and actually doing it are two very different things.”

A few cool things we've done

Brand Building


Learn more
Integrated Campaigns


Learn more
Integrated Campaigns


Learn more