Summer, sun and stimulus

Lifelong learning is important to all of us at Backyard Creative. We love reading books that keep us inspired and help us improve our skills and work. We’ve compiled a list of the books we’ll be devouring this summer. Pick up the books that appeal to you and read along with us!


Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
I really can’t say enough good things about this author and podcast host. He’s probably best known for his difficult journey to turn his life around and transition to a plant-based diet, and becoming one of the world’s top endurance athletes. He’s an amazing storyteller, and also one of the most sincere, honest, and deeply inspiring public figures I have come across recently. Highly recommended if you’re looking for some inspiration and motivation to get unstuck in any area of your life.


Personal interest stuff: Design is Storytelling by Ellen Lupton & SPRINT: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp

Stuff I read with my kids and secretly really LOVE to read ahead on my own: Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce & The Wild Robot by Peter Brown


Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education by Michael Pollan
My garden is where I spend most my free time, especially at this time of year. As she slowly grows towards her verdant summer peak, I’m looking forward to sinking into the mind of Michael Pollan (well known for his writing about food and cooking – my other favourite subject!) as he meditates upon his relationship with nature and the planet through his own garden.


Yukon Riverboat Days by Joyce Yardley
As we prepare for our honeymoon in the Yukon, I’m currently reading a series of short stories about the Klondike gold rush. This book captures the memories of the brave and hardy pioneers who worked and raised their families along the Yukon River. By reading these stories, I hope to acquire some of that pioneer tenacity as we paddle this historic river for 20 days.


We Can Do This! 10 Tools to Unleash Our Collective Genius by Kate Sutherland
I helped to fund this book via kickstarter and as a fan of Kate’s previous book, Make Light Work, I was keen to see it come to life. It’s all about creating flow with collaborative teams and includes practical tips and learnings around working in teams. I’m a born collaborator and I love the psychology behind things, so this book (so far) is a perfect mix of learning for interest’s sake and practical tools to inspire collaborative workflow.


The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less by Christine Carter, PH.D
This book recently found me at a bookstore (I totally stumbled upon it in the wrong section, and it ended up being the only copy left in the store). It was destined to be mine! I love the book title, since it reflects our ongoing conversations at Backyard Creative about efficiency. I hope this book helps me find my sweet spot, so I can balance my full family and personal life and exciting work projects with ease.


Cannibals. A Handbook of Dubious Exercises, Tips, and Rants about Becoming a Designer who Teaches by Ian Lynam
While more of a booklet than a book, Cannibals is a lighthearted and hilarious snapshot into Ian Lynam’s practice both as a designer and educator. As a new-ish teacher myself, it’s incredibly refreshing to reach a candid and accessible take on design education, and all that goes along with it.


The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior by Robert O’Neill
I attended a conference in Palm Springs this year and he was one of the most awe-inspiring speakers ever. His insight on how SEALs squads train to be the best of the best, only a few people in the world could do what they do. He was also part of the squads that rescued “Lone Survivor” and “Captain Phillips” – all while being a wonderful father. Talk about work/life balance!

Also on the radar for this summer:

Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right by Jamie Glowacki
What worked for my little girl is not working for my little guy. So, this one is on my list for obvious reasons.