Design library: Entrepreneurs, aesthetics, and extinction

Doggerel is always on the lookout for good books about design and the built environment. Here are picks from a sustainability consultant, an acoustician, and a communications specialist.


From Karin Giefer, a strategist in our New York office:

I just finished the following:

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
By Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

The Other Hundred Entrepreneurs: 100 Faces, Places, Stories
By Global Institute for Tomorrow and Chandran Nair (foreword)

And I don’t think you can call yourself a designer of any sort (on the glass or in the built environment) unless you have The Design of Everyday Things. It’s old but timeless — author Don Norman is a genius.



From Ryan Biziorek, an acoustic consultant in our Chicago office:

Riding the Waves: A Life in Sound, Science, and Industry
By Leo Beranek

A great autobiography by one of the movers and shakers in the acoustics world.

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
By Thomas Dyja

A great story describing how Chicago rose from the ashes of fire and its profound impact on America at large.

The Third Coast book cover

The Fountainhead
By Ayn Rand

I’ve always enjoyed the intensity of design as communicated in this novel. It represents the excellence we strive for at Arup and that we see in the clients who help create the truly innovative buildings.



From Kelsey Eichhorn, a communications specialist in our New York office and Doggerel’s media editor:

The World without Us
by Alan Weisman

This book is basically a series of case studies used to illustrate and discuss what would happen to Earth, both the natural and built environment, if all humans just disappeared one day, instantly. It’s simultaneously depressing in the level of destruction we’ve caused and optimistic in the incredible resilience of nature. It’s a bit of a blow to the ever-expanding human ego to understand that almost nothing else on the planet actually needs humans to survive, but it’s also incredibly humbling and opens your eyes to a whole new way of viewing civilization.

The World Without Us book cover

The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art
by Anjan Chatterjee

Aesthetic Brain applies evolutionary psychology to the question of how and why we began to appreciate and understand beauty, art, and pleasure. It’s an interesting way to think about design as a concept and a thing that we can describe as “good” or “bad” versus an idea of beauty and art.

Failed It! How to Turn Mistakes into Ideas and Other Advice for Successfully Screwing Up
By Erik Kessels

This book is AMAZING, and not being afraid of failure is very important to me.


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