Books to help you beat insomnia

Though on many recommended reading lists for designers of all types, the following list of books are sure to clear any bad case of insomnia you may have. If it wasn’t for the fact that I actually believed I was learning something I may never have finished them. For some reason many books written about Information Architecture tend to turn out dry and far less exciting than the discipline itself.
5 books for designers to help you sleep:
Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things – George Lakoff
“Its publication should be a major event for cognitive linguistics and should pose a major challenge for cognitive science. In addition, it should have repercussions in a variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology and psychology to epistemology and the philosophy of science. . . . Lakoff asks: What do categories of language and thought reveal about the human mind? Offering both general theory and minute details, Lakoff shows that categories reveal a great deal.”—David E. Leary, American Scientist
Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (Inside Technology) – Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star
Is this book sociology, anthropology, or taxonomy? Sorting Things Out, by communications theorists Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, covers a lot of conceptual ground in its effort to sort out exactly how and why we classify and categorize the things and concepts we encounter day to day. But the analysis doesn’t stop there; the authors go on to explore what happens to our thinking as a result of our classifications. With great insight and precise academic language, they pick apart our information systems and language structures that lie deeper than the everyday categories we use. The authors focus first on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a widely used scheme used by health professionals worldwide, but also look at other health information systems, racial classifications used by South Africa during apartheid, and more.– Rob Lightner
books-meta.jpgMetaphors We Live By – George Lakoff, Mark Johnson
The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure our most basic understandings of our experience, they are “metaphors we live by”—metaphors that can shape our perceptions and actions without our ever noticing them. Perhaps I’m unduly harsh on this one, I loved this book.
books-semiotics.jpgA Theory of Semiotics (Advances in Semiotics) – Umberto Eco
‘Eco’s very erudite and provocative book draws on philosophy, linguistics, sociology, anthropology, and aesthetics and refers to a wide range of scholarship, both European and American. It raises many fascinating questions which merit considerable probing.’-Language in Society
Like Roland Barthes, Eco starts from the foundations of semiotics in Saussure (Course in General Linguistics: who developed the idea of sign-systems and the sign/signified distinction, as well as the distinction between langue/parole – language and speech) and Claude Levi-Strauss (Structural Anthropology). Yet Eco surpasses this tradition to move into new territory, recognizing the limits to structuralism and Saussure’s ideas. He recognizes, for example, that meaning is not merely governed by structure, but also interactively constructed by the reader/interpreter, who often inserts or fills-in missing meaning to construct a coherent picture. – Nessander
books-task.jpgUser and Task Analysis for Interface Design – JoAnn T. Hackos, Janice C. Redis
User and Task Analysis for Interface Design helps you design a great user interface by focusing on the most important step in the process -the first one. You learn to go out and observe your users at work, whether they are employees of your company or people in customer organizations. You learn to find out what your users really need, not by asking them what they want, but by going through a process of understanding what they are trying to accomplish.

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