"The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald A. Norman is said to be one of those great usability books. I bought mine at a major usability conference, believing the hype. My conclusion: Useful, but overhyped.
Norman takes a theme that says, "Look at history and you will see how the objects we use daily are sensible and functional. Now, design websites and software likewise," and develops a complete book.
Rats. I gave it all away. Now you do not need to buy the book, nor read any its 257 pages.
Really, that's more or less all there is to the book.
It is easy to read, but, in the end, becomes repetitive and is deficient in assisting the reader with application. It points out a problem we need to understand, but offers no solution. It is worth reading, but lacks as an instructional tool.
For the dense-headed, or for someone who has never considered the arguments for thinking about function before form, the book is tremendously useful. Example after example is presented is simple terms so that readers will see that merely having a cool website is not enough.
Where the book does not meet the mark is in the transferring the ideas into something modern, practical, and, in the case of we communications people, websites. What starts with a brilliant exposition about devices being useful ends where it started.