DesignIntelligence’s top ten book selections for 2005.

1. Inevitable Surprises by Peter Schwartz (DFC Fellow). Peter (also author of The Long View) discusses the surprises in the next 25 years as the norm, but many can be anticipated.

2. Leadership by Design by Ambassador Richard Swett (DFC Fellow). Richard brings forward the arguments for leadership by every architect and designer and reveals long forgotten historical facts about architect leaders and lessons we can learn for the 21st Century

3. Why Globalization Works by Martin Wolf. Martin makes the best case for a pro-globalization view: why a global market economy makes sense in the long run, and why the critics are wrong.

4. The Coming Generational Storm by Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns. These authors make a compelling case for concern about categories of buildings in the U.S. that will experience a “bad steady state.” By 2030 U.S. retirees will double, with only 15% more workers to support them. Unless large sacrifices come, our children’s tax rates will double. The fiscal gap, growing by more than $1 trillion a year, is the “moral crisis of our age.”

5. How Firms Succeed by James P. Cramer and Scott Simpson (DFC Fellow). This is a book that explores the top 20 percent of firms who are best practices in the world today. Jim and Scott study the success of firms and systematically expand the definition of design to include all the elements of practice. They present a compelling vision of architects and designers future success.

6. The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook. This provocative book talks about how almost everything is getting better for everyone yet how we are depressed and anxious in new ways. New insights into designer’s clients should help to build rapport between conflicted cultures.

7. Communication by Design by Joan Capelin. Joan’s book has created a buzz in New York and beyond because better communications bring wisdom and bottom line success. Gene Kohn calls the book “an invaluable guide for people who care about the future of their business . . . should be on every professional’s desk.”

8. Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M. Christensen, Scott Anthony and Erik Roth. These authors use theories of innovation to predict changes in our society. They build an impressive extension to what is talked about in the pages of DesignIntelligence. This is another invigorating read that will support smart professional practice decisions.

9. The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky. There is no future for professional practices without profit and Slywotzky knows how to talk to architects and designers. He skillfully dissects strategies to create models of profit for firms of all sizes. The lessons for our industry are numerous, yet seldom understood by the dense cluster of design firms working in the commodity zone. Action models are relevant.

10. Smart Questions by Gerald Nadler and Bill Chandon. These authors teach us how to ask the right questions to get powerful results. This is a helpful guide to firms preparing for strategic planning success.