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I've got a tie between two books:

1) Design of Everyday Things by Dan Norman

This book ruined my life. I highly recommend it. Every engineer, manager and designer should read this. Maybe every human. I think of this book every time I try to pull a push door, every time I reach the bottom floor of a stairwell and notice the design that might save my life one day, and every time I try to struggle to operate a television or a microwave.

2) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

This book helped me understand myself and everyone else. For example, I now understand why I double down on dumb ideas. I also catch a lot more marketing and sales tricks.

Edit: Sorry, just now realized that I broke the 1-book rule, but it's probably too late to correct this and it's really hard to choose between these two anyway.

Both are great books. Influence helps me a lot to deal with my 3 year old. Should be on the parenting section on bookstores.

I also like The Soul of a New Machine, The Prince, The Art of War and On Human Nature.

>I also like The Soul of a New Machine

Me too. Fascinating read. I still remember the part where one of them compares their work to the pinball game - where the reward for winning is that you get to play again.

> Influence helps me a lot to deal with my 3 year old.

I'd been teetering on the fence with this book for about a year, but I think you just sold me on it (haha!)

Any idea whether it's worth an extra ~$7 for the (I gather) textbookified version of Influence subtitled "Science and Practice", 5th edition, versus the Revised Edition of the more mass-market "The Psychology of Persuasion"?

I second Influence.

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