Our Designers of the Year winners don't just spend all their time crafting great spaces or gorgeous products — sometimes, they take a beat and pick up a book. We asked this year's champs to share what books were on their nightstands, and the answers ranged from travelogues to business books... proving inspiration can really come from anywhere. 

history of canada in 10 maps

A Book About Cartography from an Architect Who Loves Exploring

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It explores the concept of an adaptive unconsciousness that helps us make split-second decisions. I’m intrigued by that notion and how it pertains to design—both good and bad. Also, A History of Canada in Ten Maps by Adam Shoalts. I love the history of exploration, hence my “other” career. —Kevin Vallely, Arthur Erickson Memorial Award Winner 2021

profit first

A Book About Making That Bank From a Interior Designer With Hustle

LuAnn Nigara’s A Well-Designed Business and Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.—Amanda Evans, Robert Ledingham Memorial Award Winner 2021

dictionary of advanced architecture

Books New and Old For an Insatiable Architecture Nerd

Atlas of Novel Tectonics by Jesse Reiser, the Elon Musk biography, The Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by Buckminster Fuller, a Taschen book on Renzo Piano, Autonomous Assembly: Designing for a New Era of Collective Construction edited by Skylar Tibbits and a book on Noguchi. —Sumer Singh, Maker of the Year 2021

chelsea gold

A Book Full of Gorgeous Gardens to Inspire a Landscape Designer

Kids Are Worth It! by Barbara Coloroso (trying to hone my parenting skills), Start with Why by Simon Sinek (learning how to inspire my team) and Chelsea Gold by John Moreland (staying focused and setting the mind frame). —Ryan Donohoe, Landscape Designer of the Year 2021

the only skill that matters

A Book to Help You Read More Books From a Bookworm Interior Designer

I’m a self-proclaimed bibliophage and linguaphile, so this question gives me all the feels. But it also stresses me out because I feel like books (not eyes) are the key to the soul. My next read is The Only Skill That Matters: The Proven Methodology to Read Faster, Remember More and Become a Super Learner by Jonathan Levi. You know you’re a super book nerd when you read books on how to read more books. If I could insert a book emoji, I would. —Amanda Hamilton, Interior Designer of the Year 2021

better is temporary

A Product Design Manifesto from an Inquisitive Industrial Designer

The closest book at the moment is Nike: Better Is Temporary, which colourfully explores the company’s design history and the evolution of its products.—Caine Heintzman, Industrial Designer of the Year 2021

road to oxiana

Two Reads About Roads from This Year's Architectural Designers of the Year

The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron. —Matt McLeod

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. —Lisa Bovell, McLeod Bovell Modern Houses, Architectural Designer of the Year 2021