The one person who probably shaped my professional development like no other was my absolutely brilliant but often ill-humored boss at SAP.
He had a ritual every time he came to the US. He would meet for a coffee and then go to Barnes and Noble for hours on end. He would just disappear and dive into the literature. Which was fine with me, I know nothing I would rather do.
So, here is my Top 25 list of business / marketing books you should read in 2014:
The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, Clayton Christensen
Disruptive technologies, such as 3D printing, redefine the competitive landscape of entire markets. They are not the result of successful companies carrying out sound business practices in established markets but rather innovations that cut into the low end of the market and eventually evolved to displace high-end competitors and their reigning technologies. Succinct and clearly written, this bestselling classic is an important book that belongs on every manager's bookshelf.
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses, Eric Ries
Eric Ries applies lessons from lean manufacturing to startups of all sizes to enable them to use capital more efficiently and human creativity more effectively, test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.
“I make all our managers read The Lean Startup” —Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric
The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators, Chris Brogan
Are you just not made out for a cubicle farm, following the corporate trot from 9-5? Congratulations, you are just the person Chris Brogan is looking for! In this 208-page book, he will explore why personal relationships and customization matter more now and in future than anonymous big brands. If you are a freak, stop fighting it. Buy the book and feel good! "As business books go, it is hard to find anything that comes close to this in both style and feel-good factor, and it is well worth picking up." (Talk Business, August 2014)
The Art of SEO, 2nd edition. Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, Eric Enge, Jessie Stricchiola
Even though this book was written in 2012 and is a little out of date, this 716 page O'Reilly book will teach you everything you need to plan and execute a comprehensive SEO strategy. "SEO expertise is a core need for today’s online businesses. Written by some of the top SEO practitioners out there, this book can teach you what you need to know for your online business." —Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc., author of New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness
The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, Reid Hoffman
The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma. Stop viewing your employees as either family or free agents and instead view them as allies.
“This book will force you to see the future, it will show you new models of work, and it has the eminence and perspective to make your entire team think… an important new book which is well worth a read.” —Forbes
Get A Grip: How to Get Everything You Want from Your Entrepreneurial Business, Mike Paton, Gino Wickman
After the success of his first book "Traction", Gino Wickman takes his Entrepreneurial Operating System® to the next level. With the help of EOS, business leaders worldwide learn to develop and commit to a clear vision, establish focus, build discipline, and create a healthier and more cohesive team. “Over the years I’ve heard countless testimonials from entrepreneurs who swear by Gino Wickman’s first book, Traction, but only after reading Get A Grip did I see clearly how implementing his Entrepreneurial Operating System could truly transform a business and put it on the road to greatness. This book will change your company—and your life.” —Bo Burlingham, Editor-at-Large of Inc. magazine, Author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, Simon Sinek
Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. Sinek explores the basic human desire for safety and how to apply that into today's work environment to create a corporate culture where leadership never puts numbers before people and would sacrifice their own comfort for their staff.
"As refreshingly simple and easy to follow as it is thought-provoking." - Management Today
Duct Tape Marketing Revised & Updated: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide John Jantsch
Small business owners often suffer from the "marketing idea of the week" syndrome instead of implementing a systematic approach to the problem of small business marketing. In his book, renowned Small Business Marketing guru John Jantsch shows you how to develop and execute a marketing plan that will give your business the life and longevity you knew you could have when you made that decision to go out on your own. "CAREFUL! Duct tape is a serious tool... it sticks where you put it. So are the ideas in this book. If you're ready to make a commitment and are willing to make something happen, John's book is a great place to start." ―Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, Jonathan Fields
Would you give up a 6 figure income as a lawyer to start fresh as a personal trainer for $12/hour? That is exactly what Jonathan Fields did! Fields draws on leading-edge technology, cognitive science, and ancient awareness-focusing techniques in a fresh, practical, nondogmatic way. His approach enables creativity and productivity on an entirely different level and can turn the once-tortuous journey into a more enjoyable quest. "Fields is a breezy, engaging writer who demystifies creativity with a whole new bag of user-friendly tricks and practices-crux moves, circuit breakers, certainty anchors and attentional training. Hugely practical. Lean into Uncertainty!" -Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent at Anything
The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand by Ekaterina Walter & Jessica Gioglio
Our brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than written text. This book is filled with full-color images and thought-provoking examples from leading companies. It explains how to grow your business and strengthen your brand by leveraging photos, videos, infographics, presentations, and other rich media. “A valuable guide to understanding how to develop powerful marketing programs using the art of visual storytelling.” — Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur and former chief evangelist of Apple
Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott
The Grateful Dead broke almost every rule in the music industry book. They encouraged their fans to record shows and trade tapes; they built a mailing list and sold concert tickets directly to fans; and they built their business model on live concerts, not album sales. By cultivating a dedicated, active community, collaborating with their audience to co-create the Deadhead lifestyle, and giving away "freemium" content, the Dead pioneered many social media and inbound marketing concepts successfully used by businesses across all industries today. Written by marketing gurus and lifelong Deadheads David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead gives you key innovations from the Dead's approach you can apply to your business. Find out how to make your fans equal partners in your journey, "lose control" to win, create passionate loyalty, and experience the kind of marketing gains that will not fade away! "Like all the best teachers, this book inspires you to do your own thinking.... I found it enlightening and liberating." (Financial Times, August 2010)
Zero-Time Selling: 10 Essential Steps To Accelerate Every Company's Sales by Andy Paul
In today's fast-paced information-driven economy, customers will complete between 60-90% of the buying process from the Internet before ever talking to a sales person. Once they contact you, their informational need is time-sensitive and urgent. The sales team that answers those needs to satisfaction (or even exceeds expectations) dramatically improves their chances to win the order. Zero-Time Selling shows you how to always be first in 10 essential sales practices.
The Marketing Performance Blueprint: Strategies and Technologies to Build and Measure Business Success by Paul Roetzer
Paul Roetzer from PR20/20 shared years of experience leading the first HubSpot Partner Agency in this actionable and innovative guide to unlocking your potential as a marketer and accelerating success for your business. "Whether you’re an entrepreneur, CMO, or marketer, The Marketing Performance Blueprint will open your eyes to key challenges marketers face today and how you can outthink, not outspend, the competition. Roetzer understands the inbound transformation that is happening and shows you how to build marketing that can drive results with today’s empowered buyers.” - Mike Volpe, CMO, HubSpot
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Where are some people more successful than others? When are some businesses more innovative than others? In studying the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it's the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why! One of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead -- William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest -- Polly LaBarre, co-author of Mavericks at Work
Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things by David Rose
How does a MIT scientist image the future? Groundbreaking, timely, and provocative, Enchanted Objects is a blueprint for a better future, where efficient solutions come hand in hand with technology that delights our senses. It is essential reading for designers, technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and anyone who wishes to understand the future and stay relevant in the Internet of Things. "David Rose's vision for enchanted objects and their platforms is spot on. With this book, he offers innovators and businesses a convincing guide for success in this space." (Glenn Lurie, President, Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships, AT&T Mobility)
The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business by David Meerman Scott
In this new book by the author of the #1 bestseller The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott shows on the examples of real businesses how innovative businesses large and small are discovering new opportunities, strengthening customer loyalty, and mastering real-time buyer satisfaction. “Like all the best teachers, this book inspires you to do your own thinking in your own way...enlightening and liberating.” —The Financial Times
Everybody Writes Annn Handley
Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers. “The alternate click-bait title of Ann’s great new book could have been 73 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Conquer the World! …and it would have been an understatement. We’re all publishers now, and the better writers connect, persuade, and win. Be one of them with this book.” —Brian Clark, Founder and CEO, Copyblogger Media
Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online, Brian Halligan and Darmesh Shah
This second edition of the Inbound Marketing book that launched the Inbound Marketing movement includes many updates and latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. It is a great book for marketers who heard of Inbound Marketing but need more context around why and how it works. “If you’ve been looking for a trustworthy primer on getting found online, here’s a great place to start. Buy one for your clueless colleague too.” —SETH GODIN, author of Meatball Sundae
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Max Gladwell
3000 years ago, David defeated the giant Goliath. His victory was as improbable as it was miraculous. In this new book "David and Goliath", Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages. In the tradition of Gladwell's previous bestsellers---The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw---it draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think of the world around us. "As always, Gladwell's sweep is breathtaking and thought-provoking....I've long admired Gladwell's work." ---Joe Nocera, New York Times
How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
Written by Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg, How Google Works is an entertaining, page-turning primer containing lessons that Eric and Jonathan learned as they helped build the company. It explains how in an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale. "An informative and creatively multilayered Google guidebook from the businessman's perspective."—Kirkus