SonicRim Book Club

To engage the expertise of our larger community, we are piloting a new initiative– the SonicRim Book Club. If you’re in any way associated with the design research industry, as a practitioner, client, or academic, we invite you to be a voice in our bi-monthly book club. We’ll send you a book– it’s on us!– if you write a review for our website.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Every other month we will post two or three book titles on our website.
Step 2: You can sign up to read and review one of the books for our blog. Just fill out the form below.
Step 3: If we receive more than one request for a book, we’ll randomly select one person. If you aren’t selected, we’ll give you priority next time!
Step 4: We’ll send you the book (it’s on us!) if you commit to sending back a 500 to 700 word review within three weeks.
Step 5: Within a week of receiving your review, we’ll post it to our site.

Sign up to review a book

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Tell us which book you would like to review and tell us why you are choosing it

Latest Reviews

Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design

By Andrew Shea
Book Review by Lisa Handalian

This book got its start as author Andrew Shea’s masters thesis from the Maryland Institute College of Art, after he was unable to find social change/design toolkits specific to the graphic arts. Although the examples he provides are mainly visual in nature, Shea may actually be doing readers a disservice by highlighting graphic design as part of the title. To its credit, “Designing for Social Change” consists of more generalized and universally applicable observations that are well suited for design students of all disciplines, as well as less experienced professionals and researchers, volunteers and community organizers. read more »

Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It

By Joshua Cooper Ramo
Book Review by Hy Mariampolski

Small things can have big impacts. Seemingly unrelated events can accumulate, causing bubbles to burst, dikes to disintegrate and, suddenly, turn well-laid plans and their anticipated payoffs into vain dreams. These are among the ideas that lie beneath Joshua Cooper Ramo’s The Age of the Unthinkable, an alternately gloomy and wildly optimistic assessment of the resources we need and can potentially use to manage the perils and opportunities of our increasingly interconnected world.

Although the primary focus of Ramo’s work is on foreign policy, his analysis is grounded within a range of disciplines, including cognitive science, physics, the history of art and diplomacy, and new product development. His wide-ranging intellect demonstrates the intersection of design thinking with other disciplines that require creative breakthroughs. Ramo is masterful at turning phrases that provoke thought, as when he claims early on that the level of innovation produced by Lebanon’s Hizb’allah fighters demonstrates “creativity comparable to US internet entrepreneurs.” Unfortunately, he ends up blinded by his own brilliance and his recipes leave us troubled rather than tantalized. read more »

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek
Book Review by Zelda Harrison

Books on effective management and leadership have been the publisher’s staple for decades, making it hard to believe that anyone can redefine the extensive and the influential work of Peter Drucker and his fellow “Business Thinkers” or “Social Ecologists.” So it’s hardly surprising that on the surface, Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” appears to be another addition to the long list of self-help publications for aspiring leaders and management gurus.

Arguably, Sinek’s clean, concise writing style and illustrations of (currently) successful companies such as Apple, Southwest, and leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. could be touted as relevant to a new generation and highly-accessible to a general audience. For the SonicRim Book Club, the true value of his work probably hinges on his observations about human motivation, and provides useful insight into the decision-making process, human dynamics, and building brand loyalty. read more »

Review a Book

This month’s books are:

Check back on Friday, August 17th for the September Book Club titles!