Manage Your Day To Day - Jocelyn K. Glei

Manage Your Day To Day - Jocelyn K. Glei

Like the title suggests, this book encourages the reader to put their day to day life under the microscope and come to terms with the fact that today, the world moves at breakneck speeds often leaving us bouncing from one distraction to the next. Co-authored by 20 of the business worlds best creative minds, Manage Your Day to Day arms you with actionable tips, tricks, and insights to help you maximize your time and make the most of every opportunity you get in a day. If you feel like you always have to be in two places at once and can’t seem to make progress on your ever growing to-do list, log out of your email, silence your phone, and give this book a read.

Flow — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Flow — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

If you’re like me, you’ve been struggling with this question your whole professional life: get creative fulfillment from a fulfilling (but likely low-paying) job or punch the clock at a soulless (but likely high-paying) job and get fulfillment elsewhereThis book not only highlights the improbability of achieving happiness through the latter, it discusses the meaning of and methods to achieve happiness through what author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “optimal experience.”

Brandon’s Take — A hearty recommendation from myself as well. Flow changed my view on restructuring the tasks in my day re: what deserves automation vs. deep thinking. When you finally know why some tasks are inherently boring for you and others are truly challenging but also invigorating, it starts to reframe your outlook on your entire career path.

Reinventing Organizations — Frederic Laloux

Reinventing Organizations — Frederic Laloux

This book contains a sweeping exploration of the history of organizations and offers inspiring suggestions around which to craft a new business based on equity, accountability and self-management. This book describes the organizational model we always hoped businesses would be based on and gives it a name — teal. (It also provides a hauntingly familiar description of “red” businesses, which we’ve also experienced.) We’ve built Pixel and Timber around the philosophies and methods described in this book. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who is building a new business or seeking to change the culture of the one they’re in.

Ambient 1 / Music For Airports — Brian Eno

Ambient 1 / Music For Airports — Brian Eno

After hearing about this album for years, it was finally recommended to me by Apple Music while -in- an actual airport. It seemed too perfect and the following 48 minutes were in the sound-isolated peace of this album, lasting from the gate straight through to cruising altitude. It's difficult to describe this album musically without using more emotional terms like calm, peace or solitude — since there are no words and rarely even something discernible as a melody. But rest assured, quite literally, that if you’re fuming and agitated by the world (in an actual airport or just some exurb business-park hellscape) this album does what Eno intended, “to provide calm and a space to think.”

Stiletto Hammers

Stiletto Hammers

We’re not suggesting that everyone should spend $100 on a hammer, but Stiletto hammers epitomize the idea of buying quality once. This 14oz titanium head hits as hard as its 24oz steel counterpart and is sure to last a life time. In the event that you have $100 and need to set a nail, look no further.

How To Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan

How To Change Your Mind - Michael Pollan

While I haven’t sought out a desert shaman, or decided to start microdosing during a brainstorm, this book has opened up my mind to a very different perception of what consciousness really is. Pollan explores these questionably legal drugs (and his guided experiences on them) with the same scientific and emotional detail as his other tamer works on food and nature. While these drugs are already in use to help adjust moods and behaviors for those experiencing a chemical imbalance, Pollan makes a great case for their general therapeutic use to help us all be more empathetic, mindful, and appreciative.

Lego Technic Racing Yacht

Lego Technic Racing Yacht

No. It is not a book. Still, this brilliant kit from LEGO is the perfect way to indoctrinate your three year old into the world of sailing — and LEGOs! The set provides two great models with mechanical steering and sail handling — and it looks a lot like a Volvo Ocean 65. Check this out before 2021!

Cool Tools — Kevin Kelly

Cool Tools — Kevin Kelly

A quite literal spiritual successor to The Whole Earth Catalog, “Cool Tools” is a book form of the website by the same name, both by writer Kevin Kelly. Kelly captures the same DIY feel and breadth of “the catalog” but with modern recommendations. This giant coffee table book is a great gift for curious kids (and adults), and is perfect for poring over on a rainy afternoon — just be prepared to find yourself saying “Huh! I had no idea that exists!” and then heading to the internet to buy whatever clever tool you’ve just discovered.

The “Last” Whole Earth Catalog — Stewart Brand

The “Last” Whole Earth Catalog — Stewart Brand

I had been running across reverential mentions of “the catalog” multiple times in the last few months in books and podcasts, so I jumped on eBay and picked up a yellowed, 72’ copy for ten bucks. In addition to being a delightful proto-internet, “hippy” time-capsule to browse, it is still a great resource for book and tool recommendations on a vast array of subjects. While the sources for purchasing said recommendations have changed, the sound knowledge remains, and that may be the catalog’s most impressive trick. Definitely worth a look if you come across a copy.

Cuphead — StudioMDHR

Cuphead — StudioMDHR

I play a fair handful of video games that don’t make it on the Commonplace, and while some are truly engrossing masterpieces that represent the best of what games can be — few measure up to the complete artistic vision of Cuphead. This game takes the 1930’s animation style (an aesthetic relatively untouched in our modern nostalgia-fetish culture) and places a game inside it. You are playing a challenging game, but you feel like you’re watching a grainy cartoon filmstrip. Each of the items on screen are not only uniquely designed, but characters and items animate in a way that feels right for the aesthetic. You will keep playing this punishingly tough game just to see the next level’s take on the style. Games are usually praised for photo-realistic graphics, but here the absolute commitment to style is the achievement.

Up The Organization - Robert Townsend

Up The Organization - Robert Townsend

It goes without saying that there are certainly some procedural expectations of organizations, especially mega-corps, but most of these “best practices” pre-date most of the big innovation that have helped shape today's workplace. If our world is different than it was, should’t our businesses also be different? Up The Organization takes everything we’ve grown to accept about organizational culture and turns it on its head; providing insights about how taking a different approach can help companies get more out of their employees, without sacrificing moral. 

Craeft - Alexander Langlands

Craeft - Alexander Langlands

Unlike the growing body of writings that belabor the romance and nostalgia of making things by hand, Craeft explores the history and meaning of the concept itself. In it, Langlands describes the concept through the lenses of several ancient crafts (of which he is an actual practitioner) and from his perspective as an experimental archaeologist. This book has the depth and intelligence of Richard Sennett's The Craftsman but with an historical scope that spans millennia. 

Design For The Real World - Victor Papanek

Design For The Real World - Victor Papanek

Still as relevant today as when it was published in 1971, this industrial design classic delivers a square kick in the teeth to almost every designer for their immaturity and lack of responsibility for their work. Therefore it should be recommended to every budding designer, if only for that reason alone. What initially sounds like a depressing read becomes quite empowering, and opens one's eyes to the potential for both good and bad we have in the design profession. If you're in the business of designing products or even just buying new products (yep, that means you), and you haven't read it yet, please do so.

Malama Honua: Hokule'a

Malama Honua: Hokule'a

The Hokule'a is a modern marvel: a Polynesian sailing rig that circumnavigated the globe in the span of two years with no modern navigation technology whatsoever. By reviving the nearly forgotten Polynesian wayfinding techniques, the Polynesian Voyaging Society preserved a culture and showed the world it was more than possible. More importantly, their story is a great example of the feats we can accomplish when we understand the natural world, work with it, and preserve it. It's an enthralling read with gorgeous photography — get a copy here.

Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

Let My People Go Surfing - Yvon Chouinard

Patagonia is a company that P&T admires for a number of reasons, to say nothing of their amazing products. This book brings their most admirable achievement — the globally responsible business of Patagonia itself — to the forefront. While not exactly a manual for how to run any business the way Patagonia does, it makes a great case for why one should try. Plus, the simple rules of thumb for culture and decision making, paired with examples of their genuine success are always motivating to return to when the day's events have you feeling down.

Gumption - Nick Offerman

Gumption - Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman uses Gumption to tell the stories of the 21 historical figures who have inspired him to grow into the Ron-Swanson-esque human we all know and love today. Throughout the book he weaves historical anecdotes with light hearted humor to reveal hard truths such as the fact that it's incredibly unlikely that a young George Washington could have chopped down a cherry tree using nothing but a hatchet and an abundance of youthful energy. It's a fun, thought provoking read that finds a way to draw parallels between seemingly unlikely bedfellows, like Ben Franklin and Yoko Ono. Plus, this book is heartily loved and endorsed by every member of P&T — so read it already!

Off Balance - Matthew Kelly

Off Balance - Matthew Kelly

Research shows that most people would rather have satisfaction than balance in their lives. But if that's the case, why is it that every big corporation talks about helping their employees find work-life balance? Employees don't burn out because they work too many hours, they burn out because they are working for something they don't believe in. Off-Balance leads readers through the author's journey of finding personal and professional satisfaction, not work-life balance.

The Go-Getter - Peter B. Kyne

The Go-Getter - Peter B. Kyne

Part storybook, part actionable advice — the Go-Getter was originally published 80+ years ago, but its content hardly feels dated. Kyne tells a tale of a young employee sent on a wild goose chase to complete an almost impossible task, and it's packed full of great motivational tidbits. The Go-Getter is a quick read, but it's one that inspires readers to always put forth the extra effort.

Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck - Anthony K. Tjan

Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck - Anthony K. Tjan

Written by a group of venture capitalists, this book points out the 4 common traits that have been observed in successful business builders: heart, smarts, guts, and luck. Each individual will favor one trait over the others, and the authors help you decipher if you are heart-dominant, smarts-dominant, guts-dominant, or maybe you tend to be in the right place at the right time — luck-dominant. Knowing which trait drives you can help you make better decisions, and perhaps most importantly, help you build the right team.