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Well-Designed: How To Use Empathy To Create Products People Love (2014)

What I loved about this book really had nothing to do with the technical parts, though I loved those too. What Jon Kolko does extremely well in Well-designed is craft a jargon-free business book that would introduce people who know nothing about product management or design into a space where they’d begin to get it.

Like so many books I read, you just want to carve them up and put them onto the desk of company leaders. Not the entire book, mind you, just parts where people spewing adages from thirty or more years ago realize that there’s great thinking coming today and that the world has changed dramatically in the past two decades and the only way your company will keep up is by adapting to the rapidly changing world and bringing your people on board for the ride.

So what is product management, anyway? Kolko defines product management as ensuring a good fit between a person, a product & the market.

The models & first-person interviews in the book were also well worth the price of admission. So much of what happens between interaction design & the web are considered by so many people to be a kind of technical black magic. While we’re trying really hard it seems to expose more and more people to code, precisely so the exercise feels less like magic, the fact is, most people at a certain age recognize how much they need the expertise of digital practitioners but don’t really want to pay for it, because nobody really understands how any of this computer stuff is really a job at all.

More than anything, Well designed is a book about design leadership and it’s a welcomed addition to the bookshelf.