HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship

Robert C. Martin

4.7 on Amazon

43 HN comments

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems

Martin Kleppmann

4.8 on Amazon

34 HN comments

The Martian

Andy Weir, Wil Wheaton, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

27 HN comments

The Pragmatic Programmer: 20th Anniversary Edition, 2nd Edition: Your Journey to Mastery

David Thomas, Andrew Hunt, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

27 HN comments

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson, Jonathan Davis, et al.

4.3 on Amazon

24 HN comments

The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers & Learn If Your Business Is a Good Idea When Everyone Is Lying to You

Rob Fitzpatrick and Robfitz Ltd

4.7 on Amazon

22 HN comments


Frank Herbert, Scott Brick, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Seveneves: A Novel

Neal Stephenson, Mary Robinette Kowal, et al.

4.1 on Amazon

20 HN comments

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Matthew Walker, Steve West, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

19 HN comments

Project Hail Mary

Andy Weir, Ray Porter, et al.

4.7 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It

Chris Voss, Michael Kramer, et al.

4.8 on Amazon

18 HN comments

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman, Patrick Egan, et al.

4.6 on Amazon

16 HN comments

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Don Norman

4.6 on Amazon

15 HN comments

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

Christopher Alexander , Sara Ishikawa , et al.

4.7 on Amazon

15 HN comments

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Sorted by relevance

verdvermonAug 18, 2021

Don't Make Me Think is an excellent book.

The Design of Everyday Things is a classic, though not ui focused.

mcphageonJuly 14, 2021

The Design of Everyday Things is a great book, but I feel a little bad that his name got attached to things that violate everything he pushed for :-)

bob1029onJune 9, 2021

I feel like every front-end engineer should be required to read The Design of Everyday Things and pass a quiz before being handed a job.

Building shitty UI because it looks cool in your marketing materials is doing a criminal disservice to your users and ultimately your business.

cinntaileonMar 28, 2021

The book "the design of everyday things" by Don Norman deals with this for design. I think he even coined the term?

beyondcomputeonJuly 24, 2021

The Design of Everyday Things – Donald Norman

rwmjonJuly 20, 2021

Firefox 90 has terrible usability with the new "Photon" interface. Has no one read The Design of Everyday Things? I just don't understand what they're trying to do - they need to keep and increase their userbase, not push away the few users they have left.

enhdlessonApr 23, 2021

Are you trying to learn to use Figma specifically? I think you can just pick it up and start using it pretty easily. Good design principles are ultimately tool-agnostic though.

- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman is the classic for learning design.

- Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug is another classic, and very digestible.

- Refactoring UI is a good book for those coming from a developer perspective: https://refactoringui.com/book/

- Mismatch by Kat Holmes talks about the importance of inclusive design for both usability and innovation.

- Not a book, but Apple's Human Interface Guidelines are excellent: https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guideline...

- Similarly, just try reading the design principles of companies with good design, like Shopify: https://polaris.shopify.com/experiences/crafting-admin

- If you're interested in building a design system, I would start with InVision's Design Systems Handbook: https://www.designbetter.co/design-systems-handbook

Ultimately, good design is informed by research - what is the problem you're trying to solve? What is the user's goal and how can you make that easy for them to achieve? What are you trying to communicate? Start with interviewing 5+ potential users, distilling that data into actionable opportunities, and sketching wireframes on paper before jumping into Figma.

ChrisMarshallNYonMay 1, 2021

Learn. That's what I did.

The issue is that many designers and engineers loathe Usability and Accessibility people (like Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman).

For me, it all started with Don Norman's excellent book The Design of Everyday Things[0] (nee The Psychology of Everyday Things).

Reading that book changed the way that I view the world. I can't walk through a door, anymore, without evaluating its affordances and usability.

The challenge (for me) is melding usability and aesthetics. In my experience, designing and implementing a truly usable software interface is hard. It's also highly iterative. A lot of "running things up the flagpole" stuff. I throw out a lot of code, and slaughter a lot of sacred cows.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Design_of_Everyday_Things

rahimnathwanionJune 9, 2021

A list I put together a while back: https://www.encona.com/posts/product-manager-resources

Overview books:

* Inspired

* The Product Manager’s Desk Reference

* The Lean Startup

* Agile Product Management with Scrum

Interview preparation (good for breadth, even if you’re not applying for jobs):

* Decode & Conquer

* Cracking the PM interview

Other good books for PMs:

* Hooked

* The Design of Everyday Things

* Zero to One

* Traction

ScandiravianonApr 25, 2021

I really like "the design of everyday things" by Donald Norman. It's more focused on design in general, than what you're asking for, but I think the fundamentals of design is a prerequisite to become a good UX/UI designers

It teaches several ways to prototype design, how to evaluate whether your design is efficient, and how to develop a design oriented mindset

It not only helped me make better designs, but also made me a better coder, because I started thinking about my code as a product to be used by others

pramodbiligirionAug 7, 2021

Refactoring UI was a great resource that was recommended on that Ask HN. The authors have a book and some videos. Very actionable and systematic advice. That formed the basis of my understanding.

For more specific techniques, the Learning Web Design 5th Edition (by Jenna Something) is very good.

I skimmed Don’t Make Me Think, which validated some of my own thoughts and helps you avoid silly oversights. I also read Design of Everyday Things but found it very lengthy and somewhat pompous. Not sure that I got much out of it.

On that page someone has linked to a bunch of MIT material. I didn’t check that out in detail. Might be good... I don’t know.

Thanks for the bug report on the modal. Would have never noticed as I navigate to my site directly and never click the Back button there.

mikestewonJuly 14, 2021

It's a thought straight from my butthole, but The Design of Everyday Things is a book recommended amongst this crowd, and one of the early chapters of that book goes on about doors. Once you've seen it, blah, blah, blah. Or perhaps the book didn't make any difference other than to validate what many had already noticed.

bwh2onApr 23, 2021

Don't Make Me Think is a great book. Even though the example screenshots are from the early 2000s, the principles still apply. I recommend that book to all of my engineers.

However, I recently read The Design of Everyday Things and was really disappointed. The sections about door handles, stoves, and elevator buttons are interesting but that's only 1/3 of the book. The rest is about iterative design and system failure, for which there are better books like The Lean Startup and Drift Into Failure.

JugurthaonApr 16, 2021

Books, concepts, and mindsets that help build the right thing. Problem solving, design, design thinking, consulting resources.

"The Complete Problem Solver", "Change by Design", "The Design of Everyday Things", "Jobs to Be Done", concepts like non-consumption. Questions that confirm that feature requests are valid and avoid solving Y problem when the actual problem is X. Thought processes to prioritize work and focus on what matters.

Example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26814150

Then books, concepts, and mindsets that help software engineers reap the reward of the software they write. Marketing, sales, prospecting, pricing, communication.

I believe there is a huge quantity of beautiful, idiomatic, code that solves no real problem, and a huge number of software engineers who have trouble monetizing their skill, or get stuck in unfulfilling roles because they have not found a way to shape an interesting one for themselves.

A few examples of threads searching for answers one usually answers through piecing together many resources, books, and life experiences:







adolphonJuly 14, 2021

Not this:

The term Norman architecture is used to categorise styles of Romanesque architecture developed by the Normans in the various lands under their dominion or influence in the 11th and 12th centuries. In particular the term is traditionally used for English Romanesque architecture. The Normans introduced large numbers of castles and fortifications including Norman keeps, and at the same time monasteries, abbeys, churches and cathedrals, in a style characterised by the usual Romanesque rounded arches (particularly over windows and doorways) and especially massive proportions compared to other regional variations of the style.



Donald Arthur Norman (born December 25, 1935)[2][3] is an American researcher, professor, and author. Norman is the director of The Design Lab at University of California, San Diego.[4] He is best known for his books on design, especially The Design of Everyday Things. He is widely regarded for his expertise in the fields of design, usability engineering, and cognitive science.


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