Favorite Authors

I rely on book lists as well as personal recommendations, in part because I love hearing why people think I should read certain books. One of my favorites is 200 Books Recommended by TEDsters. Each speaker gave an explanation for what they liked about the books they were recommending, which helps me have context and decide what to read for myself.

And no, “I love it” is not good enough – unless I already know we have similar taste in books. Which brings me to the best part of personal recommendations. Over time, you learn who has similar taste in books to you. Or sometimes, if I hear someone has a predilection for the same authors I love, then I’m more likely to enjoy other books they recommend.

Lastly, there are my personal favorite authors. The ones I forget about, then remember and reread or find a new book by. In an effort to forget them less frequently, and perhaps introduce you to a new author you’ll enjoy, here’s my list.

Current Fiction

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Judy Bloom
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Betty Smith
  • Leo Tolstoy


  • Isaac Asimov
  • Brandon Sanderson
  • NK Jemison
  • Erika Johansen
  • Garth Nix


  • Agatha Christie
  • Stephen King

Then there are authors I wouldn’t consider “favorites” but I’m always happy to read or recommend. We’ll call them the Runner’s Up:

  • Tim O’Brien
  • Michael Crichton
  • Marisha Pessl
  • Jhumpa Lahiri
  • William Goldman
  • John Irving

Live from HITMC: Words Matter

Words Matter – How ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Quality Checks Written Content for Clarity, by Lindsay Dudbridge, Fergal McGovern

Words matter. Current content audit methods struggle with:

  • Where to focus
  • Objective measurement is hard
  • Manual processes cause a lot of people to do non-systematic spot checks
  • UX focuses on wireframes and graphics, not readability

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) runs cancer.net. One of the challenges is that content is reviewed by medical experts, and then needs to be simplified for the general public. People get easily overwhelmed, confused, distressed. So they need to be clear.

They went to VisibleThread for a solution.  Continue Reading


Live from HITMC: Creating Customer and Employee Engagement

Creating Customer and Employee Engagement, by Gary Rhoads

“We are in the business of inspiration”

  • Engaging people is about alignment
  • When it’s done well, it’s beautiful

What do successful organizations do?

  • Talk to the engaged people first – find out WHY they’re engaged
  • Look for how to make people smarter/more capable
  • Brand champions inside the company should be able to participate in making people smarter
  • Fix the worst problems quietly
  • Always communicate with internal and external stakeholders

Some behavioral things have emotional connections – like being green. People feel strongly about it, even when they don’t do anything related to it. These things are “Goliaths.” Find a Goliath to slay, and it will connect people.


The Role of Requirements

I worked on a recent project with very enthusiastic stakeholders. They were very hands on, and we had many long discussions to come to consensus and take in feedback. Plus, they loved the design recommendations, they were on board with the content strategy, and as a result they kept our team on as partners well into development. However, as development went on the implementation of our design didn’t quite match our expectations. Over time, larger and larger issues became apparent, and by the time the dev team was ready for launch, we designers and strategists were feeling disillusioned about the entire process.

What went wrong? Continue Reading