Warren Berger’s Books

A More Beautiful Question cover A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (Bloomsbury, 2014)

My current book. For more on it, see the dedicated page on this site or visit the AMBQ blog + website.




Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Business, Your Life, and Maybe Even the World
(Penguin Press/Random House, 2009)

I wrote this book because I wanted to answer, for myself at least, the fundamental question, “What is design?” It’s a big question and one that gets asked a lot, by designers and non-designers alike. Design is a fascinating subject in that everybody’s interested in it, but very few have a clear understanding of what it is and how it works. The book endeavors to demystify design a bit, without oversimplifying it—taking some of the best thinking and principles of the world’s top designers and trying to make that accessible to the rest of us. It is available in a Penguin paperback with a new title: CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies, and T-Shaped People: Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovation

Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity (Hachette, 2013) 

I co-wrote this book with authors Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn, two “simplicity warriors” known for heading up the renowned consulting firm Siegel & Gale (they now run a new company, Siegelvision). The book explains why complexity is overtaking business, government, and our daily lives—and offers commonsense strategies for simplifying just about anything.

Uprising: How to Build a Brand—and Change the World—By Sparking Cultural Movements (McGraw-Hill, 2012)

The entrepreneur Scott Goodson, founder of the global ad agency StrawberryFrog, asked me to help him write this book based on a powerful concept: that marketers can achieve greater success if they’re able to launch popular “movements” behind their brands. Scott’s company has repeatedly demonstrated that this works, and the book also shows how Apple and other world-class brands have managed to build movements that turn consumers into “true believers.”

Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact (The 99U Book Series; 2014)

Got an idea that could change the world? This practical handbook, from the folks at 99U/Behance, shows you how to think and act like an entrepreneur. I contributed the essay entitled, “Asking the Right Questions.” Some other contributors: Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal, Seth Godin, Sebastian Thrun, Tim O’Reilly, Keith Yamashita, and more.


IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE: How Designers, Architects, and Engineers Are Changing Our World (Melcher Media, 2011)

I worked on this book with editor Tom Wujec of Autodesk, the design software company. The book explores some of the ways design is changing the world we live in—and looks at the dramatic impact technology is having on the design process. Full of great stories of the power of design to solve problems and create new possibilities.


Nextville: Amazing Places to Live the Rest of Your Life  (Springboard Press, 2008)

A few years back, when I was approached to help Barbara Corcoran write a book, I was immediately intrigued: Corcoran is a legend in my hometown of New York City, a self-made woman who rose to the pinnacle of the real estate industry (and who subsequently gained greater fame from her role on TV’s “Shark Tank”). As I discovered when I met her, she’s also a funny, larger-than-life character. Our assignment with this book was to address the restless spirit of today’s Baby Boomers by trying to help them answer the following: What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Where do you want to live out that next great “second act” of life—and when you get to that special place, what will you do there? We tapped into Barbara’s vast experience in real estate to suggest great places, and I interviewed lots of Boomers who’ve moved to fascinating places to pursue their dreams. This is a new kind of retirement book for a generation that is redefining the whole notion of “retirement.”

Hoopla (Powerhouse Books, 2007)

Soon as you touch this book—and feel its sandpaper dustjacket—you’ll know you’re dealing with something unusual. I worked on it with Crispin Porter + Bogsuky, a gang of crazy guys from Miami who went on to become one of the most successful ad agencies of the last 20 years. CP+B took on big tobacco with their infamous “Truth” anti-smoking campaign, they launched the Mini car craze in America, they injected weirdness into stodgy Burger King by creating that creepy “King” guy in the mask—the book deconstructs all of these efforts. I also try to explain how and why this off-the-wall agency came to represent the end of advertising as we once knew it.

No Opportunity Wasted : Creating a List for Life
 (Rodale Press, 2004)

This all started when I was assigned by The New York Times to interview Phil Keoghan, the host of the then-new reality TV show called The Amazing Race. I’m usually not a big fan of reality shows, but I was impressed with Keoghan—when it comes to daredevil adventurers, he’s the real deal. And more importantly, he has a great philosophy on life: Phil has always believed that people should stop and figure out exactly what kinds of adventures or experiences would be most meaningful to them—and then set about doing those things. (Sounds simple, but very few people actually do this). About a year after the Times article ran, Phil came back to me and asked if I could help him articulate his philosophy and develop strategies to help people live what he calls the “NOW” life. No Opportunity Wasted guides the reader step-by-step on how to seek out great experiences and actually get them done.

Advertising Today (Phaidon Press, 2001)

This was my first book, and it remains one of my favorites. I was asked by the classy art-book publisher Phaidon to create an art book all about advertising. It was a perfect assignment for me, because I’d spent years writing about the creative side of advertising. While most advertising is mindless junk, the very best ads can be clever, insightful, hilarious, and even elegant. I filled this book with those kinds of ads (400 of them!) and analyzed what makes a great ad, how those ads get made, and the effects of ads on the culture. The book was cited as one of “the best books of the year” by Barnes & Noble, while Esquire magazine called it “remarkable,” and the Independent of London named it one of “the 50 all-time best books on the subject of media.” By the way, that striking cover (and the whole book) was designed by the renowned Pentagram design firm.