1986 books total
Darshan is a computer engineer turned freelance product designer, driven by his passion for making products while helping others do the same – or even better.
Since most of his skills have been developed with the help of the internet, he’s a strong believer of giving back to the internet. This is one of the reasons why he created Product Disrupt, his side project, where he shares his disruptive list of resources that made him a Product Designer.
Darshan is experienced in delivering end-to-end product solutions for BookMyShow, India’s top ticketing portal, and building Wishberry, a crowdfunding platform for creatives. He also worked towards building a community of design enthusiasts for Panda Network.
In the past 6 years he’s been working as an independent Product Design Consultant for startups across the world, from India (where he’s based) to UAE, Canada, US and UK.
When he’s not writing posts related to product design, he’ll share his travel stories – such as this one about the 14-days backpacking trip he took last December to North India.
We’re grateful that Darshan accepted to share with us his favorite books, what he learned from them, and how stories get stored in his mind as photographs – keep on reading to learn more.
My favorite business/design book is ‘Design for a Perfect Screen’ by Tal Florentin. I was in my early days as a Designer when I picked up this book. Tal’s writing is so crisp and clean. He seamlessly makes one aware of the most basic principles of design and provides actionable insights to execute them.
I’ve lost count of the number of folks whom I’ve recommended this book. I believe it’s a must read for all those early in their career as a designer or those enthusiastic about it. I just can’t recommend it enough.
My favorite non-business book from the limited number of books I’ve read is ‘Eleven Minutes’ by Paulo Coelho. I was 17 when I picked up this book. And like any other small town boy in India, self-discovery, adventure and sex were foreign entities to me.
Going through Maria’s story (main character in the book) alone, my eyes were wide open to the outside world and provided me with courage to break free from my own little bubble and start exploring.
It would be difficult and unfair to pinpoint to a specific moment. I believe whatever we intellectually and emotionally consume stays in our mind forever and our future actions are then subconsciously influenced by it.
Having said that, reading e-books and articles online on design have been of great help to me. There’ve been number of occasions where I was able to circle back to a few concepts learned from a particular book in order to support my argument.
It’s funny how I keep referencing that one book in most of my answers here, but can’t lie about it.
Tal Florentin’s ‘Design for a Perfect Screen’ has clearly had the biggest of impacts on me as a designer. The way I pursue design and user psychologically dramatically changed after I read this book.
I no longer make random guesses when making a particular design decision instead my design decisions are now based on the core principles and understanding of the user base.
As you might have guessed it already, I’m not an avid book reader. However, I do read a lot online.
Every morning, before resuming my regular work, I spend an hour or 2 reading articles from the sources I’ve mentioned on Product Disrupt. I read a few more articles between work as and when they show up and sometimes also before calling it a day.
Every once in a while, I pick up some not-so-lengthy e-books and read it during my work commute or long travels.
To answer your questions about formats, I absolutely prefer e-books. PDFs or the ones that can be read on some kind of a mobile application. I’m a collector of many things, but physical books aren’t one of them.
As explained earlier, I’ve a routine. So, I don’t have to go over my way to make time for reading. I also believe if you’re really interested in something, you’ll automatically make time for it otherwise it’s just empty excuses.
I’ve a vision disease, but my mind makes up for it. I can remember slightly better than a normal person and stories get stored in my mind as photographs. So, I don’t have to take notes while reading. However, I’ve made it a practice to write down any actionable items from the books I read.
My choice of books to read is usually influenced by the sources I follow for regular design and business wisdom.
And once in a while, I’ll pick up some books recommended by people I work with and close friends.
Links where you can follow Darshan Gajara or find out more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Darshan Gajara in this interview: