Regardless of what stage of my career I've been in, these books have helped me open up and discover new ways of thinking and working that I would have never discovered on my own.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Context switching and notifications have reduced many of our working hours to putting out fires. It's left us without the knowledge on how to escape the this trap and achieve a deeper understanding of cognitively demanding tasks. Newport explores what it means to achieve a flow state in your work, how intellectuals have sought this state for decades, and then some of the habits and methods one can employ to get there. I chose this book because it help shift my thinking on how I best provide value on a team. Hint: it's not always with a snappy slack response. :)
"Great creative minds think like artists but work like accountants."
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink dives into the physiological analysis and examples of reasoning behind your gut feelings. As it turns out, we have initial feelings about something for a reason and they can be surprisingly accurate. Our intuition helps us process the world around us faster and keeps us moving without needing to know every last detail. Gladwell calls this "thin slicing". It's not to say that data is inherently bad, but that it should always be questioned. I love this book mostly because of the amazingly detailed case studies where this reasoning proves beneficial. Example: A gut reaction from an art dealer upon seeing an "ancient" statue for the first time opened the door of research that ultimately lead to it being proven as a fake.
"We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it."
Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro
Mike Monteiro approaches design work (or any work for that matter) with a zero bullshit, call a spade a spade mentality that is the antithesis of many design leaders and others that manage client relationships and creative work. Hit grit and realness was a breath of fresh air after meetings spent listening to corporate speak and all levels of a past organization blindly following a clients direction. I read this book more than a few years ago and as a young designer it helped me begin to realize the power that we hold as we manage our relationships and how we work with others. It's a title a recommend to anyone that wants to be viewed as an expert at what they do.
"Ultimately, your job is to make the client feel confident in the design. Confidence is as much of a deliverable as anything you're handing over in the project."