Recommended Resources: Understanding Humans
In November 2011 I spoke at Game Connect Asia Pacific about what our most successful studios have in common: a culture of open and honest communication where critical issues get talked about and new ideas are constantly being generated. I dug into the science behind why communication breaks down at crucial moments and shared a series of tools to help make it easier for people to talk openly and honestly. Since then I’ve adapted and expanded the original presentation in a series of articles for the “Crafting a Studio Culture of Easy Creativity” series which starts with the question Why Do Some Companies Succeed Where Others Fail?.
I recommend the following books for anyone with an interest in human psychology and the way the brain works!
Besides influencing much of the material in the Working with Humans category, these books have been invaluable to me at many stages in my professional and indie career when:
- Learning how to manage teams and deal with difficult employees;
- Becoming more effective at winning business with the clients I want to work with;
- Influencing user experience design in both game and tool development;
- Designing better learning experiences and training programs;
Okay, the brain is just plan COOL! For the longest time we believed it functioned like a computer – individual parts filling very specific functions. What we’re realising now is that the brain is far more changeable, more “plastic”, and can redesign itself! In one story a man developed the ability to “see” through his skin as his brain learned to translate the electric signals along his arm (data fed from a webcam) into a spatial understanding of the room around him. He could recognise people as they came into the room and tell you how near or far an object was, all without the use of his eyes – how amazingly cool is that?!? This is the physical science behind Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hour Rule” and the concept of “muscle memory” – the more you do something the more opportunities you give your brain to develop “hardwiring” around that activity. This is how the limbic brain decides when an action should become an instinctual response, something you can do without thinking about it.
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have! They’re well used and spend more time on my desk than in the bookshelf.
Have you read any good books on psychology or the way the brain works? How have they influenced your approach to business and game design?