The best 15 Design Thinking books

Design Thinking is a powerful approach to problem-solving and innovation, widely used in various industries and disciplines. By understanding and applying its principles, you can unlock creative solutions and drive impactful change. That's where our carefully curated book list comes in.

This list offers a comprehensive exploration of design thinking-related topics, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to think and act like a design thinker. So, why not embark on this transformative journey and unleash the power of design thinking?
The best 15 Design Thinking books
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1
Design Thinking Books: Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

Creative Confidence

Tom and David Kelley
Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
4.2 (193 ratings)
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What's Creative Confidence about?

Creative Confidence shows us the amazing value and impact that creativity has in our everyday lives. In fact, being able to think creatively can increase your happiness and success in both your professional and personal spheres. Luckily, artists and musicians don’t have a monopoly on creativity. With the right techniques and mind-set, anyone can think creatively.

Who should read Creative Confidence?

  • Anybody interested in the process of innovation
  • Anybody who wants to rekindle their own creative energy
  • Anybody who wants to change the world for the better

2
Design Thinking Books: Change by Design by Tim Brown

Change by Design

Tim Brown
How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
4.2 (163 ratings)
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00:00

What's Change by Design about?

Change by Design (2009) presents a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to designing solutions to address any sort of innovation challenge. In following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to more creatively develop the stories and inspirations that will lead to tomorrow’s innovations.

Who should read Change by Design?

  • Anyone whose job requires creativity and innovative thinking
  • Anyone interested in finding a better way to address problems in society
  • Business leaders who want to inspire creativity and innovative thinking

3
Design Thinking Books: Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX

Jeff Gothelf
Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
4.2 (138 ratings)
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00:00

What's Lean UX about?

Lean UX (2013) is a guide to applying lean principles to interactive design workspaces. These blinks explain the techniques of Lean UX and outline how you can best integrate them into your company’s design process. You’ll learn the importance of close collaboration and customer feedback, as well as how to constantly improve your designs.

Who should read Lean UX?

  • Anyone interested in how lean startup tactics apply to a design environment
  • People who want to design successful user experience more efficiently
  • Managers of design-based projects, or any professionals involved in one

4
Design Thinking Books: Sensemaking by Christian Madsbjerg

Sensemaking

Christian Madsbjerg
What Makes Human Intelligence Essential in the Age of the Algorithm
4.1 (27 ratings)
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00:00

What's Sensemaking about?

In a world where data, numbers and statistics are treated like holy relics, Sensemaking (2017) powerfully advocates a return to humanities-based thinking. These blinks explain the process and principles of sensemaking, a way to make sense of the world through the interpretation of human culture. Being able to look beyond the immediate focus and understand the context surrounding the issues at hand is a critical tool for anyone looking to develop great, one-of-a-kind ideas.

Who should read Sensemaking?

  • Devotees of the human sciences, philosophers, linguists and historians
  • Students of STEM looking to expand their potential
  • Business leaders and entrepreneurs

5
Design Thinking Books: This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider

This is Service Design Thinking

Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
Basics, Tools, Cases
4.3 (128 ratings)
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00:00

What's This is Service Design Thinking about?

This is Service Design Thinking (2011) presents the core principles of service design. By providing tools and real-life examples, it’s a great introduction to this evolving and interdisciplinary approach to designing services. These blinks present the most salient information on the subject.

Who should read This is Service Design Thinking?

  • Entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Students and professionals of design
  • Marketers and consultants

6
Design Thinking Books: Better Together by Lydia Dobyns and Tom Vander Ark

Better Together

Lydia Dobyns and Tom Vander Ark
How to Leverage School Networks for Smarter Personalized and Project Based Learning
4.4 (16 ratings)
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00:00

What's Better Together about?

Better Together (2018) is an examination of how school networks are transforming students’ education experiences across the United States to make them college and career ready. It illuminates how networks provide new learning models, foster ongoing professional development, and facilitate personalized education to help each child reach their full potential.

Who should read Better Together?

  • Educators establishing new schools with nontraditional learning models
  • School leaders wanting to increase student engagement levels and performance
  • District superintendents looking to innovate learning

7
Design Thinking Books: ROI in Marketing by Jack Phillips

ROI in Marketing

Jack Phillips
The Design Thinking Approach to Measure, Prove, and Improve the Value of Marketing
4.0 (62 ratings)
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00:00

What's ROI in Marketing about?

ROI in Marketing (2020) lays out a framework for planning and running effective marketing initiatives that deliver good financial results. Using design thinking principles, ROI in Marketing breaks down how to create chains of impact in marketing campaigns and monitor their effectiveness to ensure positive returns on investment.

Who should read ROI in Marketing?

  • Marketing professionals who want to up their game
  • Executives looking for a financially viable marketing blueprint
  • Students and teachers in the field of marketing

8
Design Thinking Books: UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein

UX for Lean Startups

Laura Klein
Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design
4.6 (146 ratings)
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00:00

What's UX for Lean Startups about?

UX for Lean Startups (2013) provides an innovative, cost-effective approach to researching and designing products and services. Geared toward start-ups and companies that want to act like them, it shows that you can provide your customers with an excellent user experience while keeping your time and money expenditures as lean as possible.

Who should read UX for Lean Startups?

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Product designers, managers, and engineers
  • Start-up workers and founders

9
Design Thinking Books: Radical Product Thinking by R. Dutt

Radical Product Thinking

R. Dutt
The New Mindset for Innovating Smarter
4.1 (354 ratings)
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00:00

What's Radical Product Thinking about?

Radical Product Thinking (2021) lays out a step-by-step approach to developing game-changing products. Taking aim at the iteration-led approaches to product development that have become popular in recent years, it provides an inspiring, vision-driven alternative. 

Who should read Radical Product Thinking?

  • Product developers 
  • Entrepreneurs 
  • Change-makers

10
Design Thinking Books: Continuous Discovery Habits  by Teresa Torres

Continuous Discovery Habits

Teresa Torres
Discover Products that Create Customer Value and Business Value
4.2 (293 ratings)
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00:00

What's Continuous Discovery Habits about?

Continuous Discovery Habits (2021) explores how product managers and designers can keep making a positive impact on their customers’ lives. It explores an optimal decision-making process for product teams, so that they can continue to improve their offerings. 

Who should read Continuous Discovery Habits ?

  • Product managers looking for a new way of working
  • Entrepreneurs seeking a fresh perspective on creativity
  • Product designers

11
Design Thinking Books: Creative Acts for Curious People by Sarah Stein Greenberg

Creative Acts for Curious People

Sarah Stein Greenberg
How to Think, Create, and Lead in Unconventional Ways
4.4 (240 ratings)
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00:00

What's Creative Acts for Curious People about?

Creative Acts for Curious People (2021) collects insights about creativity and design taught in the classrooms of Stanford’s renowned Hasso Plattner School of Design, also known as the d.school. In addition to essays about the mindset and skills required for creative action, it offers over 80 practical exercises used by instructors from dozens of fields including medicine, education, and nonprofit to help improve your ability to solve problems, whether personal or on a global scale.

Who should read Creative Acts for Curious People?

  • Anyone who wants to boost problem-solving skills
  • Leaders seeking to improve teamwork
  • Creative practitioners from any field

12
Design Thinking Books: The Things We Make by Bill Hammack

The Things We Make

Bill Hammack
The Unknown History of Invention from Cathedrals to Soda Cans
4.3 (198 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Things We Make about?

The Things We Make (2023) dispels the myth around some of the greatest and most ordinary inventions. It retells their making as a creative application of the engineering method, a principle that explains how people in ancient times built some of the marvels that still capture our imagination today.

Who should read The Things We Make?

  • Anyone fascinated about how things of beauty and utility are made
  • Engineering history buffs
  • Curious minds trying to apply the engineering method to their own lives

13
Design Thinking Books: The Design Thinking Workbook by CJ Meadows, Charvi Parikh

The Design Thinking Workbook

CJ Meadows, Charvi Parikh
Essential Skills for Creativity and Business Growth
4.5 (269 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Design Thinking Workbook about?

The Design Thinking Workbook (2022) provides a guide and template for problem-solving in creative, innovative ways. Meadows and Parikh share foundational skills, tools, and techniques essential to effectively addressing challenges and increasing productivity in any field of work. Their advice will help practitioners of design thinking – from beginners to experts – upgrade their creativity and increase their effectiveness when pursuing goals.

Who should read The Design Thinking Workbook?

  • Leaders looking to improve their team’s problem-solving abilities
  • Anyone interested in boosting individual and team productivity
  • People looking to boost their creativity

14
Design Thinking Books: Laws of UX by Jon Yablonski

Laws of UX

Jon Yablonski
Design Principles for Persuasive and Ethical Products
4.6 (51 ratings)
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00:00

What's Laws of UX about?

Laws of UX (2020) is a handy guidebook for anyone interested in user experience, or UX – especially as it applies to web or app design. It lays out some of the fundamental rules that inform superior product design and shows how these rules are tied to human psychology. 

Who should read Laws of UX?

  • Web designers and developers
  • People curious about technology and human behavior
  • Anyone who’d like to create a better website

15
Design Thinking Books: The Poetry and Music of Science by Tom McLeish

The Poetry and Music of Science

Tom McLeish
Comparing Creativity in Science and Art
4.0 (27 ratings)
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00:00

What's The Poetry and Music of Science about?

The Poetry and Music of Science (2019) delves into the creative parallels between scientific inquiry and artistic expression. It explores how scientific pursuits, much like poetry and music, are deeply rooted in human creativity and storytelling, and how both domains are united in their quest to understand and interpret the world.

Who should read The Poetry and Music of Science?

  • Those wanting to know about the creative process behind discoveries
  • Artists, musicians, writers interested in the parallels between their work and scientific breakthroughs
  • Lifelong learners fascinated by topics like human creativity, innovation, and problem-solving

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Design Thinking Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Design Thinking book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Creative Confidence as the ultimate read on Design Thinking.

What are the Top 10 Design Thinking books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley
  • Change by Design by Tim Brown
  • Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf
  • Sensemaking by Christian Madsbjerg
  • This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
  • Better Together by Lydia Dobyns and Tom Vander Ark
  • ROI in Marketing by Jack Phillips
  • UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein
  • Radical Product Thinking by R. Dutt
  • Continuous Discovery Habits by Teresa Torres

Who are the top Design Thinking book authors?

When it comes to Design Thinking, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Tom and David Kelley
  • Tim Brown
  • Jeff Gothelf
  • Christian Madsbjerg
  • Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider