Recommended Reading

At the front of the Menlo Factory are two big shelves filled with books that have inspired us and informed our practices. Their topics range from highly technical programming tutorials to principles of innovation, organizational culture, or design. In the “design” category, one of our favorites is Donald Norman’s classic, The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition which reminds us that good design must be based on how people actually act and think in the real world. The work of Tom Kelley and his colleagues at IDEO paved the way for many aspects of the Menlo design process, and his book “The Art of Innovation” is a trusty travel guide.

On organizational culture, the entire team has read and discussed Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and “The Ideal Team Player.” They have helped teach us that building a great team requires conscious attention to the ways we interact with each other, including how we build trust and hold each other accountable. From “Influencer,” the insightful book by a team from VitalSmarts, we have learned ways to change people’s behavior through investing in skills and changing the environment to make those behaviors easier and more appealing.

Kent Beck’s books on software development are foundational, especially his now-classic text with Cynthia Andres, “Extreme Programming Explained.” Beck’s “Test Driven Development by Example” is required reading for Menlo Developers, as is Jeff Langr’s book “Agile Java,” which provides a wealth of basic programming principles and concepts that can be applied to many different programming languages.

And of course, no Menlo reading list would be complete without “Joy Inc.,” by Menlo’s own CEO and Chief Storyteller, Richard Sheridan.