Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Top 25 (and counting) Business Book List

Periodically people ask me what business books I would recommend?  Or which books have most influenced my thinking?  Being a book junkie, I have a hard time whittling this down, but after much thought here is my short(!) list of 25...for now.

(Note:  Book title links will take you to an reference.)

Leadership, Management, and Entrepreneurship
Marketing and Sales
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) by Robert Cialdini (1984).  The first time I read this book, my blood ran cold.  If there is ever a course in sleazy marketing, this book could be the text. Cialdini exposes the psychological underpinnings of common marketing tactics.  I had to do a re-read of Badarraco afterwards to shake the willies.
  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore (1991).  Since it's initial publication, this has become part of the canon for technology commercialization in Silicon Valley.  Moore focuses on the startup transition from early adopter to mainstream markets.
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank (2005).  Blank is to Moore as the new testament is to the old in the canon of Silicon Valley technology commercialization.  Blank is father of the Customer Development methodology focused on helping startups gain first traction with early adopter customers.  Customer Development plus Agile Software Development are at the heart of today's Lean Startup movement.
  • Why Business People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter's Guide by Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway, Jon Warshawsky (2005).  This should be required reading for everyone in marketing communications with violators subject to incremental immolation over a hyperthermal heat source.
  • Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon (2010). Normally I would not put a current book on the list that has yet to withstand the test of time, but this one is the exception.  Moon goes beyond traditional branding.  Branding 2.0? Anti-branding?
  • The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies by Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman, Tad Tuleja (1985).  This classic on selling to major accounts is still the best around.  And if you're ever offered a chance to participate in Miller-Heiman sales training, take it!
People & Organizations
Sociological Environment
  • Future Shock by Alvin Toffler (1971).  While he didn't predict everything right, forty years later, its impressive to see how much Toffler did get right.  And the major trends he spotlighted continue to roll through our lives today.
  • Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut Revised and Updated Edition by David Shenk (1998).  One of the earliest and still best essays outlining the differences between living in a world where finding information was the challenge vs. one where information glut is the issue.
The Numbers
Finally, as a Christian, there is one other book that is significant to me from a business perspective (among others).  That book is the Bible.  I've found few books dispensing advice as hard nosed and pragmatic as the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Happy reading!

Related Blog Posts:
Useful Startup Marketing Concepts: The Short List

1 comment:

  1. Every one of these books and their brief summaries interested me, but your last book of advice gave me a smile.

    Thanks for the valuable information and advice.