Two new books that have made our week

We’ve been excited about two new books here at Optimal Workshop this week — so we’ve decided to tell you about them. This is the first of our weekly blogs about what we’re reading here in our Wellington office.

Our tool OptimalSort is profiled in a sleek new book on UX design

Andrew passed a new book around the office today called User Experience Design: Creating Designs Users Really Love. Written by design experts Gavin Allanwood and Peter Beare, and featuring striking graphics from Analogue on the cover, the book is well-designed and packed with original, useful content.

The book’s divided into five sections. OptimalSort is featured in the Design Methods section, alongside some other great techniques for capturing ideas, solving problems, working with users, and prototyping.

We’ve only just started diving deeper into it, so we’ll get back to you on the gems of UX wisdom we find along the way. And a quick shout out to whoever designed the bold, colorful menu numbers — they’re epic.

We’re learning about classical figures of speech

The other book getting us talking is The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth. It contains mind-expanding descriptions and examples of 39 figures of speech, with chapters delightfully titled ‘Aposiopesis’, ‘Zeugma’, and ‘Scesis Onomaton’.

We have absolutely no idea what these words mean. But once we do, you’ll be sure to hear us drop them regularly into our conversations.

As well as teaching us impressive-sounding words and new language tricks, Forsyth’s book gives us new perspectives on punctuation and grammar we’ve used all our lives. The gem we found yesterday is about the punctuation mark we probably use the most often: the full stop (or period). Forsyth writes:

‘The period is one of the most complicated and convoluted concepts of classical rhetoric. Nobody in the ancient world could quite decide what it meant, but they were united in the belief that it was terribly, terribly important.’ (p 47)

We’re lucky those ancients persevered. We think the full stop is terribly important as well.

Epizeuxis is just a word, word, word

We also discovered some interesting examples of Epizeuxis on Wikipedia. Pronounced ep-ee-ZOOX-is, it means repeating a word immediately in exactly the same sense. The Wikipedia page features examples of epizeuxis from such luminaries as Shakespeare’s Macbeth (O horror, horror, horror), and Hamlet (words, words, words), alongside other kinds of luminaries like everyone's favorite pop-tween Justin Bieber (baby, baby, baby oh) and the legendary Ron Burgundy (scotch, scotch, scotch, scotchy, scotchy scotch). And, of course, we can’t miss out Steve Ballmer’s now classic epizeuxistic speech (developer, developer, developer, developer, developer…).

For more of Forsyth’s word witticisms, check out his blog, The Inky Fool. You can expect more book talk from us in the coming weeks. And if you have any suggestions for the books we should buy or write about next, let us know.

Published on May 15, 2014
Kathryn Reeves

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