book review – ‘Subject to Change: Creating Great Products and Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design’

Book title: Subject to Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design

Authors: Peter Merholz, Brandon Schauer, David Verba, Todd Wilkens

ISBN: 0596516835

I was disappointed when I got my pre-order of this book. At a scant 160 pages, I was skeptical that it could offer very much insight.

On reading it, I was proven correct. Much of the book was nothing more than an extended advertisement for Adaptive Path. Case studies were too short to learn much from. The only case study really discussed in depth was of Target's new prescription bottles, which have been discussed more in depth and more usefully in too many other books.

The book's eight chapters are full of short sections; many of them read as though they are blog entries. They're strung together with little regard for content or context. The seventh chapter, a flawed discussion of agile development, is completely worthless. The book could have been so much better if the authors had taken the time and effort to better consider their arguments and write a more cohesive work.

If you can look past the book's many shortcomings, there are some interesting nuggets in there. Sadly, the useful bits comprise less than 10% of the book.

Related links:

Amazon's page about this book

Peter Merholz's blog

Brendon Schauer's blog

Todd Wilkens' blog (currently on hiatus, but archives available)

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