For one reason or another, I was fortunate enough to find these three books early in my career. Their authors use down-to-earth, jargon-free language. And they are so clear and to the point.
The Elements of User Experience: User-centered Design for the Web
By Jesse James Garrett. It’s important to understand that User Experience is more than just the visuals. This book outlines different layers (or elements) that go from abstraction to concretion.
The User Experience Team of One
By Leah Buley. If you want to start as a freelancer or need buy-in from your stakeholders, this book equips you with everything you need to know.
By Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. A great read to keep you honest and that teaches you how to collaborate in your team. It’s all about having the right mindset to tackle design problems.
Next step: create your library
Chris Oliver, an Interaction Designer at Fjord, compiled a Monster list of UX books. Here you can browse hundreds of titles. With reviews, and related articles where these books (and more) are mentioned.