40 must read books on storytelling, play & design

lance weiler
Jan 5, 2015 · 4 min read

[UPDATED FALL 2020] What are the best books for those interested in storytelling, play and design? While I was prepping for a course that I’m teaching this semester at Columbia University, I reached out via facebook for some reading recommendations. Below is a partial list of some of the wonderful suggestions.

Special thanks to the following for their suggestions and comments
Christy Dena, Lina Srivastava, Nick Fortugno, Jeff Watson, Stuart Candy, Peter Sims, Alexa Clay, Jeff Gomez, Ele Jansen, Jan Libby, Alex Hermann, Trevor Haldenby, Marie James, Alex Pearson, Vincent Routhier, Karin Ryding, Erek Tinker, Gerry Flahive, Dorothee Olivereau, Erinma Ochu, Kiira Benzing and Margaret Doyle

The following list is in no particular order…

1. The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell StoriesFrank Rose

2. Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small DiscoveriesPeter Sims

3. Information Doesn’t Want to Be FreeCory Doctorow

4. The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your OrganizationTom Kelly

5. Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in ALL of UsGregory Trefry

6. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked CultureHenry Jenkins, Sam Ford & Joshua Green

7. A Creator’s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling: How to Captivate and Engage Audiences Across Multiple PlatformsAndrea Phillips

8. Open Design NowBas van Abel, Roel Klaassen, Lucas Evers & Peter Troxler

9. Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem SolvingShaun Abrahamson, Peter Ryder & Bastian Unterberg

10. Visualizing Information for AdvocacyStephanie Hankey, Tom Longley, Marek Tuszynski & Maya Indira Ganesh

11. The Art of Participation: 1950 to NowRobert Atkins, Rudolf Frieling, Boris Groys & Lev Manovich

12. Design for the Real WorldVictor Papanek

13. Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative FictionJeff VanderMeer

14. Making is ConnectingDavid Gauntlett

15. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming -Anthony Dunne & Fiona Raby

16. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness — Antonio Damasio

17. Rules of Play: Game Design FundamentalsKatie Salen Tekinbas & Eric Zimmerman

18. The Art of Game Design: A Book of LensesJesse Schell

19. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative GamesTracy Fullerton

20. The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play AnthologyKatie Salen Tekinbas & Eric Zimmerman

21. Fundamentals of Game DesignErnest Adams

22. Critical Play: Radical Game DesignMary Flanagan

23. The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Tales of Informal IngenuityAlexa Clay & Kyra Maya Phillips

24. Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media -
Anne Zeiser

25. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True InspirationEd Catmull & Amy Wallace

26. This is Service Design Thinking: Basics, Tools, CasesMarc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider

27. Interaction Design: Beyond Human — Computer InteractionYvonne Rogers, Helen Sharp & Jenny Preece

28. The Timeless Way of BuildingChristopher Alexander

29. Transmedia 2.0: How to Create an Entertainment Brand Using a Transmedial Approach to StorytellingNuno Bernardo

30. Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science FictionNathan Shedroff

31. Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of ThingsDavid Rose

32. The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of CapitalismJeremy Rifkin

33. Reality is BrokenJane McGonigal

34. Tinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking TechniquesMichael Michalko

35. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and ChallengersAlexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

36. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’tJim Collins

37. Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful StartupBill Aulet

38. Present Shock: When Everything Happens NowDouglas Rushkoff

39. Nordic LarpJaakko Stenros & Markus Montola

40. Building Storyworlds: the art, craft & biz of storytelling in 21cLance Weiler

41. Impro for Storytellers — Keith Johnstone

42. Design is Storytelling — Ellen Lupton

43. The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI-Powered Creativity — Arthur I. Miller

*This additional title was recommended by Tasso Stevens who pointed out that the list was missing a critical element — narrative impro.

For more visit www.digitalstorytellinglab.com

lance weiler

Written by

Storyteller working with Code - Founding member & Director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab - curates @creativemachines

Building Storyworlds

thoughts, ramblings and reflections on storytelling in 21c

lance weiler

Written by

Storyteller working with Code - Founding member & Director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab - curates @creativemachines

Building Storyworlds

thoughts, ramblings and reflections on storytelling in 21c

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