Great Introduction to Good Design

Title: The Design of Everyday Things Author: Donald E. Norman Genre: Business/design bible This book is an excellent introduction to the idea behind usability design – or, in plainer words, designing things so that humans find them intuitive to use. As Norman shows, using lots of examples, it is relevant in almost everything we do;Continue reading “Great Introduction to Good Design”

Restrooms: Hot Water, Size and Mirrors

Restrooms are an area of interest, as they are often the subject of subtle manipulations. An example occurred a couple of years ago, when some discoteques started disabling the cold water faucets in the restrooms. Why would you do this, you may ask? I heard two possible, related explanations. One is that it is aContinue reading “Restrooms: Hot Water, Size and Mirrors”

Game Theory in the Real World

Title: Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction Author: Colin F. Camerer Genre: Academic/game theory Readability: Scientific Game theory is the formalised study of strategic interaction, and was first started back in the 1960s – one of the better known theorists within the field is John Nash, who is portrayed in the movie A BeautifulContinue reading “Game Theory in the Real World”

The Selfish Gene – A Classic

Title: The Selfish Gene Author: Richard Dawkins Genre: Popular Science/evolutionary biology and genetics Readability: Excellent Approximately ten years ago, The Selfish Gene started me off on a voyage of intellectual discovery into a field that I am still fascinated with, namely evolutionary biology. It is the perfect popular science introduction to the subject of genes,Continue reading “The Selfish Gene – A Classic”

Influence and Manipulation

Influence: Science and Practice Author: Robert Cialdini Genre: Popular Science/Psychology Readability: Excellent A highly interesting book on the subject of influence (or, if you prefer, manipulation). Cialdini sums up a lot of research on the subject of how to influence people’s behaviour, and presents it in an accessible and entertaining way (one of my favoriteContinue reading “Influence and Manipulation”

The Art of Manipulation

In his book Influence: Science and Practice, Robert Cialdini gives a lot of fascinating examples of how you can manipulate people. One of the best is the beggar experiment. If you approach people on the street and ask them for 5 dollars, your chances of getting them are fairly low. But what Cialdini found wasContinue reading “The Art of Manipulation”

Party Dynamics Goes Live

After reading Paco Underhill’s great book on how people behave in department stores, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, I started thinking about parties. As most other people, I have been to a great number of parties and social gatherings during my life; some were fantastic, a painful few were abysmally boring, with theContinue reading “Party Dynamics Goes Live”