Bret Victor from Communications Design Group shares his list of favourite books

Bret Victor is an interface designer, computer scientist, and electrical engineer. He works as a researcher at the Communications Design Group. We dive into the books that impacted his life and thought process.
A People's History of the United States
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A People's History of the United States

by Howard Zinn

About the book:  A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America's story from the bottom up-from the point of view of, and in the words of, America's women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant labourers. From Columbus to the Revolution to slavery and the Civil War-from World War II to the election of George W. Bush and the "War on Terror"-A People's History of the United States is an important and necessary contribution to a complete and balanced understanding of American history.

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Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition
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Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition

by Harold Abelson,Gerald Jay Sussman

About the book:  Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License.

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Gödel, Escher, Bach
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Gödel, Escher, Bach

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

About the book:  'What is a self and how can a self come out of inanimate matter?' This is the riddle that drove Douglas Hofstadter to write this extraordinary book. In order to impart his original and personal view on the core mystery of human existence - our intangible sensation of 'I'-ness - Hofstadter defines the playful yet seemingly paradoxical notion of 'strange loop', and explicates this idea using analogies from many disciplines.

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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
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The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

by Edward R. Tufte

About the book:  Graphical practice. Theory of data graphics.

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Beautiful Evidence
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Beautiful Evidence

by Edward R. Tufte

About the book:  Science and art have in common intense seeing, the wide-eyed observing that generates empirical information. Beautiful Evidence is about how seeing turns into showing, how empirical observations turn into explanations and evidence presentations. The book identifies excellent and effective methods for presenting information, suggests new designs, and provides tools for assessing the credibility of evidence presentations.Here we will see many close readings of serious evidence presentations-ranging through evolutionary trees and rocket science to economics, art history, and sculpture. Insistent application of the principles of analytical thinking helps both insiders and outsiders assess the credibility of evidence.

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Envisioning Information
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Envisioning Information

by Edward R. Tufte

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

by Thomas S. Kuhn

About the book:  A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age. This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.

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Dumbing Us Down
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Dumbing Us Down

by John Taylor Gatto

About the book:  A new look for a radical bestseller!

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Fables
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Fables

by Bill Willingham

About the book:  The Fables prepare for battle as the threat of the Adversary looms closer.

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Watchmen
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Watchmen

by Alan Moore

About the book:  As former members of a disbanded group of superheroes called the Crimebusters start turning up dead, the remaining members of the group try to discover the identity of the murderer before they, too, are killed.

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