Graywolf’s Bookshelf December 2005

Had to do a little cleaning around the “office” this weekend and move a few books into the garage storage. So in the first of what will be an occasional series I’ll tell you what’s on my bookshelf. I’ll divide things up into different categories, but remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If you want a full review of one of these books drop a note in the comments. Hey why not put a post on your blog about whats on your bookshelf.

Web Development, HTML, CSS and Web Design

Don’t Make Me Think: Steve Krug
While I still have the first edition I hear there is a second edition now available, not sure how much is new and if I need both copies, but if you are involved in web development in anyway this is book is must.

Designing with Web Standards: Jeffery Zeldman
This book changed my life, plain and simple. I thought I got CSS, but it wasn’t until read this book that I REALLY GOT CSS! This book changed the way I design and build websites, and I’m a better designer/programmer/coder because of it.

Layout Index: Jim Krause
This is small pocket sized book filled with layout examples. I would have liked a little more in depth material, but an OK book none the less

Color Index: Jim Krause
A companion to Layout Index above. The book is nothing more that a collection of complimentary and contrasting color schemes for printed works, logos or websites. While most of the book is for print the end section has web safe colors. You can convert some of the colors from RGB values but sometimes they are a little bit off.

Logo design for Small Businesses: Dan Antonelli
Created for the physical world and not the virtual world this book covers the basics of logos, typography, and fonts. If you are working on designing things with a more polished feel and want to use the logo or type style to help tell the message and sell the package you’ll learn a lot from this book.

Zen of CSS Design: Dave Shea
This is the companion book to the popular website CSS Zen Garden. This book isn’t a tutorial per se, but an insight into how some of the designs came about and choices the creator went through to get there.

Cascading Style Sheets – The Definitive Guide: Eric Meyer
A classic from the O’Reilly publishers, nitty gritty detail about CSS tags and properties, lots of great examples in the book.

Information Architecture: Louis Rosenfeld
Not the easiest book in the world to read but lots of important concepts to understand.

Webmaster in a Nutshell: Stephen Spainhour
Other than the character codes not used that much anymore.

HTML – The Definitive Guide: Chuck Musciano
I used to use this all the time but hardly ever any more. Either I’m carrying all the HTML around in my head or I can find things easier online. It does look nice having O’Reilly books together though.

Non Designers Design Book: Robin Williams
First of no it’s not that Robin Williams, OK. Another book written for the physical world, but with carryover value. It talks about principles of design and what makes good design. There are examples and problems in the book and if you actually do them you will learn something. You will also learn to take a look at things you encounter in a more design analytical way.

Big Book of Design Ideas: David Carter
Yet another book from the physical world. It’s a large collection of design elements from a wide variety of printed sources. Use it as a springboard for any design projects you might work on.

Homepage Usability: Jakob Nielsen
I picked this book up recently and have to say it needs updating. The information is not only old but the homepages are so … Y2K bleeding edge it’s funny.


The Tao of Programming: Geoffrey James
Back when I worked in programming I hung around with a geeky crowd. One of the programmers left to become a lawyer, and placed this book in my custody. His instructions were simple “be true and follow the code“. It may be old but still a classic.

Advanced PHP for Web Professionals: Christopher Cosintino
At the beginning of this year I had never worked in PHP this one of two books that helped me get it into gear.

PHP and MySQL Web Development: Luke Welling
If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of PHP and MySQL development this is an excellent book, lots of real word applicable examples.

Professional ASP for Webmasters: Alex Homer
A shame Wrox Publishing went belly up, they used to put out some decent very teachable books. Haven’t done any ASP since picking up PHP, so this one may be moving on.

Web Site Optimization: Michael Tracy
I’m old enough to remember when dial up was the only way to get on the net, and code bloat could kill a website. This is a lesson that many of today’s designers who have been spoon fed with a fat T1 would do well to relearn (hmm, I sense a future blog post coming).

Designing with Javascript: Nick Hienle
Another classic that doesn’t get much use anymore. I really favor server side solutions whenever possible as opposed to client side, still a good book none the less.

Search and Marketing

Search: John Battelle
A must read if you are in the search business. I enjoyed the second half more than first, and a very readable book. I finished it on the plane ride to and from Vegas recently.

Permission Marketing: Seth Godin
My first and still favorite Seth Godin book.

Cluetrain Manifesto: Christopher Locke
Lot’s of over the top rhetoric, but this is still required reading if you want to get it post Y2K business world.


Smithsonian Institution Animal: Don E. Wilson
If you have kids who watch the Disney Channel this is as close as you will ever come to Stanley’s ‘The Great Big Book of Everything‘. Not very deep but very wide about all sorts of animals. (tip for the search folk packed with lots and lots of great really obscure seldom used Latin names of animal genus).

The Art of the Market: Bob Tamarkin
Scripophilly – the hobby of collecting old stock certificates. There’s some debate over the facts in this book but it still serves as the best resource for info and pictures of old stocks. Maybe on day I’ll write about it and post pictures of some of my stocks.

Chronicles of the Pharaoh’s: Peter Clayton
Egyptology is another hobby of mine, and this is a great book. Not to light that you feel cheated and not to deep that yo feel overwhelmed, an excellent all around book about ancient Egypt and the Pharaoh’s.

Bullfinch’s Mythology: Richard Martin
Another great in depth reference book for old world mythos, legends and lore (for all you search folk find unique seldom used names of god, demi-gods, heroes and deities).

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