Went through my list of stuff acquired this year. Turns out I read a lot of books.
Here’s the best (purchasable) things I found in 2009:
Thoughtless acts, by Jane Fulton Suri – This is a great book for any design, or creative thinkers out there. Published in 2005, I read it back then, put it a stack of books, and only rediscovered it this year. It’s a collection of photos of objects redesigned by ordinary people to serve purposes beyond what the designer expected. (Nice article with many photo examples here)
Brain Rules – I’ve read many of the ‘neuroscience for general audience’ books out there, and this is hands down the strongest, best written, most applicable and best supported of the bunch. This book was a strong influence on Confessions, as the book emphasizes learning, improving brain function, and how our bodies and brains work best in harmony with each other, all points made in various ways in Confessions.
LogicComix – I have a degree in Logic, which is practically worthless, but studying logic had all sorts of hugely important side effects, including discovering the work of Bertrand Russell, who is likely my favorite philosopher of all time. This unusual telling of his life story in comic book form sounds like a bizzare idea for a book, and it is, but it makes for a surprsingly entertaining and moving read.
The Book of Genesis by Crumb – R. Crumb is a legend of comics, known for his odd and disturbing images. Who better than to take a crack at the bible? He illustrates the entire book of Genesis in all its strange and odd glory.