Books You Should Read

By James Nestor / Published by Dwell
Recommended by

The Champ

For the Product Design Novice: These five classics will beef up your understanding of design considerably; learn the process behind global design, ordinary objects, and the work of the greats.

Phaidon Design Classics: 001–999. Phaidon Press, 2006

This quintessential collection of 999 product designs in three thigh-numbing volumes explores product design from the late 1600s to the present. They include everything from 300-year-old scissors to modern airplanes and the work of such 20th-century stalwarts as Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Henry Dreyfuss, Ray and Charles Eames, and a host of up-and-comers. In homage to one of the primary principles of good design—– durability—most of the products featured here are still in production.

The Challenger

Designing the 21st Century by Charlotte and Peter Fiell. Taschen, 2005

This new tome offers ruminations and forecasts on the future of global product design. It features interviews with contemporary designers from across the globe, each of whom is determined to push product design forward, whether it’s for a wine glass or a windmill.

The Dark Horse

Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design by Paola Antonelli. Collins Design, 2006

The curator of the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Design and Architecture offers a treatise on the extraordinary beauty of 100 ordinary things. Safety pins, condoms, and the Rubik’s Cube are just a few of the common items Antonelli vets under a microscope, explaining the origins of these simple objects and why we can’t live without them.


James Nestor


As part of his research for writing "Product Design 101", James Nestor attended a seminar titled "Sell Out," wherein he learned that to ensure a product sells, one must gratuitously promote the product at every given moment. To wit: Nestor's incredible and historic tome Get High Now (Without Drugs) has just been released by Chronicle Books. In it you will find over 175 bizarre methods in which everyone from ancient Greeks to hippies have gotten "naturally" high, from performing breathwork to consuming giraffe livers.

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