When I first began learning about UX, I came across many lists of recommended UX design books. This was frustrating because I couldn’t figure out which books I should read first. While I noticed a few books showed up on most lists, each list seemed to contain many different recommendations. If these lists were so different, how could they all be comprehensive, essential, must-read lists?
Enter The Monster List of UX Books
To remedy this problem, I searched UX blogs, courses, and the books I had already read for every UX book list I could find. I compiled all the books into a master — nay, monster list spreadsheet. Then I tallied the number of recommendations for each book. This turned out to be an enormous undertaking because most lists had many unique recommendations.
The Most Recommended Books (as of 2/25/17)
1. Don’t Make Me Think (paid link) by Steve Krug (30)
2. The Design of Everyday Things (paid link) by Don Norman (25)
3. The Elements of User Experience (paid link) by Jesse James Garrett (15)
4. Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated (paid link) by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, & Jill Butler (14)
5. Lean UX (paid link) by Jeff Gothelf (14)
6. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design (paid link) by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, & Christopher Noessel (13)
7. Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (paid link) by Bill Buxton (13)
8. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (paid link) by Susan Weinschenk (12)
9. Designing for the Digital Age (paid link) by Kim Goodwin (10)
10. Web Form Design (paid link) by Luke Wroblewski (10)
11. Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond (paid link) by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld, & Jorge Arango (10)
12. Simple and Usable: Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design (paid link) by Giles Colborne (10)
13. Rocket Surgery Made Easy (paid link) by Steve Krug (10)
14. The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide (paid link) by Leah Buley (10)
View the full (but no longer maintained) list of recommended books on Google Sheets. View the current list on Airtable.
Exploring the List
The monster list currently contains 303 books from 36 lists, but it will grow and evolve as new lists emerge. I included links to all the source lists in the Lists tab of the spreadsheet. If you’re looking for a specific type of book, you can use the filter button to filter by category.
A Few Things to Note
A book with more recommendations isn’t necessarily “better” than one with less. It’s just more popular or well established. Also, newer books aren’t well represented on most of the source lists.
I used the categories from UX Mastery’s Recommended UX Books List and did my best to apply them to books from other lists. Some lists categorized certain books differently, and some books seemed like they fit into more than one category. In those cases, I added a second or even third category when it seemed appropriate.
I included Amazon links and some publisher links for all books with at least two recommendations. I’m slowly adding links for the rest of the books. I’m also starting to add Goodreads links as well.
Support the List
If you find the Monster List helpful, there are a few ways you can support it:
• Buy a book on Amazon using one of the referral links in this post or other posts on my website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make after opening one of those links. Please note that this only applies to Amazon links here on my website, not the links in the Monster List itself or my Medium posts about the list.
• Sign up for Airtable using my referral link. I receive $10 credit at Airtable for every person that signs up for a free Airtable account with my link, which pays for one month of Airtable Plus.
• Buy me a coffee. Do you already have an Airtable account and don’t want to buy anything on Amazon but still want to support the list? Consider making a donation through my Buy Me a Coffee page.
• And, of course, share the list with others.