A Reading List Courtesy of This Year’s IA Summit

Wow. Although this year’s IA Summit was my first, it certainly won’t be my last! Each and every presentation I attended was filled with a wealth of takeaways, from practical advice to food for thought. In absence of a full recap post, I’d like to share ten books added my Amazon wishlist during the event.

For context’s sake, here are the sessions I attended that informed my reading list:

These are just a subset of the total sessions comprising the conference, of course. For a full list, check the schedule page for the conference.

Books mentioned during the summit

While attending the aforemention session I came up with the following list:

The Embodied Cognition theory suggests that sensemaking is as much an external process as it is an internal one. In other words, technologies with which we interact change how we think about the world. Andrew Hinton suggests that this has significant implications on the work we do as information architects.

Cognition in the Wild by Edwin Hutchins

As a compliment to Supersizing the Mind, Edwin Hutchins’s Cognition in the Wild reminds us that our understanding of the world is also cultural. This idea touches on some of the educational concepts that Bill Gribbons mentioned to me last month, so it was a natural addition to the list.

The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate by Peter Brook

Traci Lepore’s presentation explained how perspectives that function in the world of theatre can also lend themselves to the management of user-centered design projects. Although this book framed the majority of her talk, Tracy also mentioned method acting, which has me thinking about its applications to our practice, as well.

The Connected Company by Dave Gray and Thomas Vander Wal

Ah, governance. It’s a topic that’s as puzzling to me as it is important to the continued success of any design endeavor. Peter Morville and Lisa Welchman referenced this book as they explained how “loosely connected pods” are the key to a good governance plan. From what I understand, this approach informs Amazon’s corporate structure.

Content Strategy For Mobile by Karen Mcgrane

This one’s high on my list. In her closing plenary, Karen McGrane explained how radically different tomorrow’s content problems will be. When working with The New York Times, Karen recounted how digital publishing used to be relegated to a separate office. Today, it’s given equal footing with the print side of things. And tomorrow? Let’s just say we’ve got our work cut out for us.


I find it quite likely that some of you who read UX Booth attended the Summit. What books caught your eye? Are you currently reading anything that informed your understanding of this year’s talks?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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