These are not books for beginners. The assumption is that you have some orientation towards and an accumulation of design sensibilities over time. That said, it's not that beginners will not enjoy these, but the idea was to help those who are already practising designers appreciate a few finer nuances. Some of it just boils down to refinement and acculturation. But that's what design truly is. An appreciation of cultures, values, systems and the human condition. And the application of that appreciation and the learning from it.
More so in pictures than in words, here goes—
Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students (Design Briefs) by Ellen Lupton
Design as Art by Bruno Marari
Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte
Org Design for Design Orgs by Peter M and Kristin S
Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indi Young
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David C. Evans
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humakind by Yuval Noah Harari
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg
The last few might seem like they have nothing to do with design. But culture, and evolution and diving into "why" we are the way we are as a species is very core to good design discourse.
Here's to Happy reading! Feel free to drop a note and ask any questions you might have.