59 most endorsed reads for design leaders everywhere

Adam Fry-Pierce
3 min readAug 1, 2019


Summer is in full swing!
For many of us, it means vacations or some time away from the office.

What to do? Members of the Design Leadership Forum have some ideas…

The Forum is a group of 1800 of the most ambitious and driven design leaders in the world. Members are avid-readers and life-long learners. To date, there have been hundreds of book recommendations from the members all around the world.

The most popular book, hands down

At most of the member dinners and online town halls, we start off by asking a simple question: “what piece of inspiring content are you consuming?” Because every member of the Forum is a people manager, it’s no surprise–Radical Candor was the most frequent answer.

Dozens of different leaders mention this book as an indispensable must read. Members praise the actionable frameworks and compelling style of the author, Kim Scott.

As Sheryl Sandberg says: “Reading Radical Candor will help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives.”
I like to think the book’s tone pairs well with Somethin’ Else by Cannonball Adderly. Enjoy.

Other top reads

While hundreds of reads have been endorsed by members, there‘s a short list of repeat recommendations. These books, blogs, and briefs come up time and time again. Check em’ out.

Non-fiction books about design

Non-fiction books

Valuable reports on design

Useful blog articles

Fiction books

This list was created by members of the Design Leadership Forum, a global community of about 1800 members (and growing). It’s a place for design leaders to come together, connect, and have honest conversations about some of the most difficult challenges they face in their leadership roles.

Every community member leads others in (or for) teams making digital products. If you want to be part of this community, nominate yourself, and join us at a future member event.



Adam Fry-Pierce

Empowering design and product leaders with connections + products. Creator of http://designleadership.com. DesignOps + product ethics is on my mind. Doodler.