A work book, but brilliant. In under 200 pages (with lots of whitespace and large, informative illustrations), Jesse James Garrett explains that user centered website design isn't really that complicated, if you keep the big picture in mind. Sure, there are lots of things you have to think and even worry about, and they are all interrelated, but he gives a solid and very clear overview of the steps people should take to arrive at good, useful websites.
And he does it with such panache, too... Just reading this book makes me all relaxed and optimistic. I feel I know most of this, and we have put a lot of it into practice in our work over the years, but seeing it all together - and presented in his quiet, clear way - is inspiring. This book will be useful to me in preparing for interviews with clients, too, since it explains the why so well: why we do certain things, why decisions made early in the process affect the end result, and especially why it's such a good idea to sometimes move slowly and carefully at various points in the process. Also highly recommended for young designers, and for clients who want to know more about good process.