World Book Day: 10 Books from 10 Disciplines

Today is World Book Day, an annual celebration of reading!  

Ongoing education is important to us as creatives at Crystal, and one of the ways our teammates love to level up in their disciplines is through great non-fiction. Today, we’ve cultivated a list of books spanning multiple disciplines – from Art to HR to Business Development, and everything in between. Enjoy this list below with some words from our developers who recommended them. We hope you find as much value in them as we have! 

Book:  “Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally” by Emily Ladau

Meagan Marie – Director of Community & Social 

Relevant Disciplines: Community & Social Media Management, PR, Copywriting, Accessibility  

“Demystifying Disability opens with a staggering number – more than a billion people around the world are disabled. “Statistically speaking, there’s a good chance this book is relevant to you,” author Emily Ladau says.  

Demystifying Disability is a fantastic resource for learning and practicing disability etiquette, avoiding ableism, and making accessibility a foundation of your personal or professional ventures. These learnings are presented in an approachable and non-judgmental way. While I think everyone could benefit from reading Demystifying Disability, it is a must-read for anyone who works in communication!”  



Book: “Trust Works” by Ken Blanchard 

David Fifield – Game Director 

Relevant Discipline: Recommended Across Multiple Disciplines 

“My most highly recommended book I think applies across all disciplines and relationships is Trust Works by Ken Blanchard. There are foundational truths in there, not only relevant to the interactions between team members but between developers and consumers as well.” 




Book: “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” by Stan Lee & John Buscema 

Jeff Adams – Art Director 

Relevant Discipline: Concept Art, Story Art, & Animation 

“Written with Stan Lee’s signature flair and featuring John Buscema’s amazing artwork, this book throws open the doors on how art is created for Marvel Comics. But like the heroes in those stories, this tome contains a hidden superpower: schooling aspiring artists on the fundamentals of anatomy, perspective, and composition though fun, easily understood lessons. Many of the practices this book touches on are employed by working art professionals on a day-to-day basis.  Creatives that pick this book up will find they have a leg up on the competition when embarking on their higher-level art education.” 



Book: “Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry” by Jason Schreier 

Adam Kahn – Director of Communications 

Relevant Discipline: PR & External Comms 

“I’m a big fan of Jason Schreier’s writing, and this is the second book of behind-the-scenes stories about specific games he’s written. Schreier’s reporting is always meticulous, often to the frustration of those he writes about. I think it’s important for people who are interested in the video game industry to see what goes on behind the scenes, because it’s often surprising how hard it is to make the games we love.” 



Book: “The Listening Book: Discovering Your Own Music” by W. A. Mathieu 

Jack Grillo – Principal Audio Designer 

Relevant Discipline: Audio Design & Engineering 

“I always like to recommend this book. [It] isn’t specific to Sound Design or Games, but it touches on how listening and music can become an everyday part of anyone’s life. It’s an easy and fun read.” 





Book: “The Orientalists” by Kristian Davies 

Michael Baytion – Principal Concept Artist 

Relevant Discipline: Art

“The Orientalists” by Kristian Davies is my favorite book. Any “Art of” books for movies or games are great to really understand the production art required to make our type of games. For example, Marvel or Star Wars “Art of” books provide a broad base of genres including old world and sci-fi elements that are useful to learn a good balance of painting and design fundamentals. 


“The Orientalists” conveys the painting, rendering, design, and detail required for production concept art. I always find the book very inspiring, but it is not always in print so it can be very expensive. Many “Art of” books for movies and games are at a much better price point, also show inspirational key art, and include behind-the-scenes production art required for game and movie creation. This is just the tip of the iceberg though, because there are many other books that explore specific genres in detail, and different art styles. 


“Concept artists today have to use a mixture of 3D programs and Adobe Photoshop for fidelity and to be efficient, and these programs help concept artists create truly inspiring images, but often I also go back to the analog artists and designers for inspiration, and there are many books and museums to see this type of artwork.” 


Book: “Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher 

James Manion – Brand Project Director 

Relevant Discipline: Project Management & Accessibility 

It is very easy to do harm without trying. This book excels at showing how a lack of diverse thinking and mindfulness in development can have truly damaging effects on users that fall into the “edge case.” While Technically Wrong does a great job of pointing out these issues, it is somewhat light on solutions. This bothered me until I realized, wait – now that I am more informed, that part is my job.” 



Book: “Atomic Design” by Brad Frost 

James Manion – Brand Project Director 

Relevant Discipline: UI/UX, Project Management, Production 

“This is as much a book about the principles of atomic design (creating a component-based design system) as it is a lesson in how to manage a design philosophy within your origination. It is one thing to build a great design system – it is another to maintain the integrity of that system though many stakeholders in many disciplines over time – this book does a wonderful job of showing how both tasks are essential to long term success.” 


Book: “Quiet” by Susan Cain 

Amy Clark – People Experience Coordinator 

Relevant Disciplines: HR / Management 

“Quiet spoke to me as an introvert on how to leverage my own view of self in the workplace, and it broadened my understanding of how I can empower my fellow introverted team members. There are fantastic anecdotal stories woven in with a significant amount of research to captivate the reader and change how we see introverts on our teams. These last couple years in particular when much of the world had to adapt to a work-from-home environment, companies really had the opportunity to lean into and learn from the strengths of their introverted employees. These learnings can be carried forward, emboldening teams to embrace the potential of introverts in a loud world.” 



Book: “Romancing the Beat: How to Write Kissing Books (Book 1)” by Gwen Hayes

Hannah MacLeod – Game Writer 

Relevant Discipline: Narrative 

“A lot of people think there’s only one way to tell a story, but romance novels have been going against the grain for a long time! This short book is a great way to get you out of a writing rut & thinking about story in a new way, which is a must for game writers who have to be very adaptable!” 



Book: “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie 

Hunter Wolfe – Community Coordinator 

Relevant Disciplines: Recommended Across Multiple Disciplines

“This book is a bit of dark horse in this list, but it’s a book that I recommend to any person working in a collaborative environment, irrespective of their discipline. Making a game is a massive exercise in teamwork, and this book does a fantastic job of giving you tools you can use to build and foster strong relationships with the people you’re collaborating with. Don’t sleep on this book!” 



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