Calgary UX

Archive for the ‘UX Book Club’ Category

Well hello there!

We want to share a few interesting articles from some well-lit areas (and some of the darker corners) of the web that we are reading. Enjoy!

Read ’em, share ’em, talk about ’em below.


Inmates are Running the Asylum

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

By Alan Cooper
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Time: 6:30
Location: TBD
RSVP: Via Meet Up

As part of a series of book clubs looking back on “classic” and influential books about user experience, we’ll be kicking it off with Alan Cooper’s The Inmates are Running the Asylum (on

About The Book: Imagine, at a terrifyingly aggressive rate, everything you regularly use is being equipped with computer technology. Think about your phone, cameras, cars-everything-being automated and programmed by people who in their rush to accept the many benefits of the silicon chip, have abdicated their responsibility to make these products easy to use. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum argues that the business executives who make the decisions to develop these products are not the ones in control of the technology used to create them. Insightful and entertaining, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum uses the author’s experiences in corporate America to illustrate how talented people continuously design bad software-based products and why we need technology to work the way average people think. Somewhere out there is a happy medium that makes these types of products both user and bottom-line friendly; this book discusses why we need to quickly find that medium.

The Craftsman

The Craftsman

By Richard Sennett
Date: TUESDAY, November 26, 2013
Time: 6:30
Location: Beer Revolution | 1080 8 St SW, Calgary, AB (map)
RSVP: Via Meet Up

About The Book: Defining craftsmanship far more broadly than “skilled manual labor,” Richard Sennett maintains that the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, and even the parent and citizen engage in a craftsman’s work. Craftsmanship names the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, says the author, and good craftsmanship involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves. In this thought-provoking book, one of our most distinguished public intellectuals explores the work of craftsmen past and present, identifies deep connections between material consciousness and ethical values, and challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world.

View ‘The Craftsman’ on

FYI: The book is broken down into 3 sections: Craftsmen, Craft, and Craftmanship. Each sort of stands alone. Some of you may wish to just focus on a single section. That’s your call. 🙂


The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail, But Some Don’t

By Nate Silver

Date: TUESDAY, Feb 5, 2013
Time: 6:30
Location: Hop In Brew Pub House (213 – 12th Avenue SW)

RSVP: Via Meet Up

About The Book: Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.
In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good—or just lucky? What patterns have they unraveled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary—and dangerous—science.

Silver observes that the most accurate forecasters tend to have a superior command of probability, and they tend to be both humble and hardworking. They distinguish the predictable from the unpredictable, and they notice a thousand little details that lead them closer to the truth. Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise.

About The Author: Nate Silver is a statistician and political forecaster at The New York Times who became a national sensation in the United States when his predictions during the 2008 presidential election trumped most mainstream polls. He is a contributor to The New York Times Magazineand has appeared as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC. He has spoken at TED and SXSW, and was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the world.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Date: TUESDAY, Nov 27, 2012
Time: 6:30
Location: Hop In Brew Pub House (213 – 12th Avenue SW)

RSVP: Via Meet Up

About The Book:

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distill vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

Along the way we learn why some people and companies struggle to change, despite years of trying, while others seem to remake themselves overnight. We visit laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr. We go inside Procter & Gamble, Target superstores, Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, NFL locker rooms, and the nation’s largest hospitals and see how implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death.
Read more about the book and the author at

Available at: Chapters (audio book & kobo) | iTunes (audio book & digital version)

Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Time: 7:00
Location: UX Guys (Suite 1190, 340 12th Avenue SW) view map 

RSVP: Via Meet Up (We are finalizing plans to Skype with Trevor!!)

About The Book:

by Trevor van Gorp & Edie Adams

Design for Emotion introduces you to the why, what, when, where and how of designing for emotion. Improve user connection, satisfaction and loyalty by incorporating emotion and personality into your design process. The conscious and unconscious origins of emotions are explained, while real-world examples show how the design you create affects the emotions of your users.

Read more about the book (including a FREE download of the 1st chapter) at

Purchase at Chapters or Amazon.


Posted on: July 27, 2012

Help us select the next book..


We were a little indecisive at the last book club. So we would like you help selecting the next book. While we narrowed it down to a few options, we would the group help make the final selection. Vote by naming  your preference in the comments section on or suggest a different book. The book with the most votes, on August 12, 2012, will be the next book!

Here is a bit about the short listed books…

Design for Emotion

by Trevor van Gorp & Edie Adams

Design for Emotion introduces you to the why, what, when, where and how of designing for emotion. Improve user connection, satisfaction and loyalty by incorporating emotion and personality into your design process. The conscious and unconscious origins of emotions are explained, while real-world examples show how the design you create affects the emotions of your users.

Really Useful: The Origins of Everyday Things

by Joel Levy

As much a sociological history as a compendium of entertaining stories, Really Useful takes you on a tour from the kitchen to the bathroom to the office and beyond. Along the way it tells us about the technology, design, social conditions and even intrigue that contributed to these remarkable innovations, which include: sliced bread, microwave oven, coffee, tea bags, corkscrew and Teflonrazor blades, Band-Aids, the toothbrush, lipstick and tissuesair conditioning, buttons, vacuum cleaners, stockings and neon lightsPost-It notes, the floppy disk, smoke detectors, fireworks and the batterybarcodes, traffic lights, parking meters, padlocks

We sometimes curse these things as just so much clutter but in fact they form the fabric of our daily lives and we’d be lost without them. The stories of their origins are as interesting and illuminating as these objects are truly useful.

Seeing David in the Stone: Find and Seize Great Opportunities Using 12 Actions Mastered by 70 Highly Successful Leaders

by James B. Swartz

Masterfully answers three timeless questions: How did some people find and seize the great opportunities of their times? What can we learn from them to help us find and seize great opportunities? How did innovative leaders help organizations find and seize great opportunities? The successes and failures of great leaders including Gates, Einstein, Michelangelo, Edison, Winfrey, Da Vinci, Curie, Smith, and Galileo are used to explain the actions on the path to greatness.

Leave a comment to vote!!

Book Club: Sept 25


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