Our guide to the best books on designing and delivering experiences.
This is a work in progress. We'll be adding books, and increasing functionatlity, over time. Check back for updates.
If you haven't read these yet, you really, really should
Isn't This Fun?
Michael Foley's Isn't This Fun? masquerades as a gentle wander around what fun means today. But in its pages, Foley dissects what fun has meant through the ages, from the origins of hedonism to today. And by analysing the rituals and structures of organized fun from the parties of Bacchus / Dionysus to the BDSM gatherings of today, Foley reveals a template every experience designer should be aware of - for creating the kind of experiences that'll impact and give shape to people's lives.
The Experience Economy
FIrst published in 1999, this seminal book named the sector. If you're looking to understand the Experience Economy - why it's happening, how to succeed in it, this is starting point.
What we're excited about and reading this month
J. Robert Rossman & Mat Duerden
Not only does this book contain a great introduction to the Experience Economy today, it also contains a method for creating memorable, meaningful experiences.
Cliff Kuang & Robert Fabricant
Formerly an Editor at Wired and Design Editor at Fast Company, Cliff Kuang teamed up with human-centred design expert, and co-founder of Dahlberg Design, Robert Fabricant to create a history of user experience that illustrates why good experience design matters so much.
Hey, a library should go from A-Z shouldn't it...
Addiction by design
Natasha Dow Schüll
If you'd like to know how addictive products are created, this is the secret sauce you were looking for. Written by then MIT and now NYU anthropologist Natasha Dow Schull, this is an exceptional piece of research, and writing. Illustrates how behavioural pyschologist B F Skinner's work was taken up by the gambling and mobile device industries.
Age of Experiences
With some fascinating insights in neurobiology, researcher Ben Hunnicutt is very positive about the Experience Economy: it's an opportunity for capitalism to overcome the Easterlin paradox and create happiness instead. Here's hoping 🙂
Brilliant evocation of how to come up with great ideas, from one of adland's brightest minds.
The Art of Gathering
Fascinating insights on how to make any sort of gathering more meaningful - with tricks based on author Priya Parker's work in mediation.
Computers as Theatre
Silicon Valley computing pioneer Brenda Laurel had thought about how UX could benefit from theatre design before most people had thought about theatre design. Her thinking is more relevant than ever today.
The Employee Experience Advantage
Keynote speaker Jacob Morgan makes the case for why EX (employee experience) matters, and then lays out some rules for how to build a great EX.
Everyone wants to focus on the onboarding, the beginning, the sell... the moment you start to make money from your customer. But what about the end? UX designer Joe MacLeod believes we've been making a big mistake ignoring the end of any type of relationship. In his follow up book - likely to be called Endineering - Joe will share the 8 approaches he recommends for designing ends.
This seminal book is inspired by the bestselling Business Model Canvas book by Alexander Osterwalder. Ruud Janssen's Event Design illustrates a practical, step-by-step approach to creating impactful events.
Gamification in tourism
Paul Bulencea & Roman Egger
As it says on the cover: this book brought together gamification and experience design. It contains the MED Framework for Memorable Experience Design, and examples of how this is used in tourism.
After studying and teaching behaviour design at Stanford University, Nir Eyal realized that successful (tech) firms created habit-forming products. He then decoded how they did that, and put it in this inspiring, easy to read book. This is here because we believe the same techniques can and should be used in all experiences, both tech and non-tech. If you want them to be successful.
Having shown product designers how to do their job in Hooked, bestselling writer Nir Eyal returns to help people figure out how not to end up addicted. In contrast to many - such as Tristan Harris - Eyal believes that the problem isn't in the technology, it's in people. It's our choice to pick up the phone. It's our choice to keep flicking through Instagram. Follow Nir's advice and you'll wrest control back from the machines. Indistractable is in the WXO library because we believe being in control of your attention is one of the superpowers of the 21st century. And we believe you can use the ideas in Indistractable to create moments that matter to them, whatever type of experience you design.
isn't this fun?
Michael Foley's Isn't This Fun? masquerades as a gentle wander around what fun means today. But in its pages, Foley dissects what fun has meant through the ages, from the origins of hedonism to today. And by analysing the rituals and structures of organized fun from the parties of Bacchus / Dionysus to the BDSM gatherings of today, reveals a template every experience designer should be aware of - for creating the kind of experiences that'll impact and give shape to people's lives.
NYU professor, Adam Alter shows what addiction is, and then how the way we use technology today exactly mirrors addictions that are usually thought of as much worse for us.
The Joy Of Work
30 tips to design work that delivers a better EX (employee experience).
The service Profit Chain
James L. Heskett, W.Earl Sasser Jr & Leonard A. Schlesinger
Written in the 1990s, still relevant today, this research-based book reveals data that shows how crucial EX (employee experience) is for CX (customer experience).
Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal
After his briliant Rise of Superman, Steven Kotler teamed up wiht Jamie Wheal to create this very useful book for anyone who wants to find more flow in their lives, or design more flow in the experiences they design.
Evolutionary psychologist Jonathan Gottschal brings to life why us humans love stories so much. Inspiring for experience design in terms of understanding why every experience should be, in some way, a story.
Time and How to spend it
The Financial Times named this a Book Of The Year. Contains an approach to designing time, and experiences, that is based on research conducted at Stanford, Harvard, Tokyo, the LSE, MIT et al. This approach is codifed into the 7-rule STORIES framework.
the transformational travel journal
The handbook from the Transformational Travel Council (TTC), this is primarily aimed at a person preparing for a transformational journey, so that they might get the most out of the opportunity. But we believe its ideas can be used by designers of any transformtional experience, not just travel.
The Writer's Journey
This book from the 1990s took Joseph Campbell's 'hero's journey' and made it easier to apply.
Worlds of wonder
Erik Bär & Stan Boshouwers
This book showcases more than two decades of immersive experience design.
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