Over the last few months, I have read some GREAT books.
How do I define a great book?
A good book is one that is insightful, interesting and worth reading. A GREAT book, is one that changes the way you operate in some way. It is so persuasive and elegant, it makes you rethink what you believe and forces you to do something about it.
Here are my favourites:
1. ‘The Thank You Economy’, Gary Vaynerchuk
I love Gary’s energy, he is a legend. This is book has changed the way I view social media and customer interaction. The whole book is simple and easy to read. In my opinion this is a must read of anyone who wants to create a business which provides real value. It is also a wake up call to companies that don’t understand why social media is so powerful.
2. ‘Linchpin: Are you indispensable?’, Seth Godin
There is no doubt that Seth Godin is a marketing genius and great thinker. This one is gold and really flushes out the future of work/business. While at times it may seem a bit repetitive, there is a lot of value in this book. Personally, I love the chapter on Resistance (which also let me to reading the next book).
3. ‘The War of Art’, Steven Pressfield
This book reminds me of reading great copywriting. As you read it, you nod your head and realise that he knows more about you than you do. This book has helped me get on with it and work through the creative battles. The book is all about getting over your ‘resistance’ and learning how to force yourself to do the things that you know you should, but typically would rationalise away. This isn’t just a business book, it’s a must read for all.
4. ‘ The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries
I can’t count the number of people I have recommended this book to. Eric Ries has distilled down ideas from a number of different schools of thought to provide a very succinct how-to guide to operating a start-up and testing your core-assumptions. However, its not only for entrepreneurs, his principles can be applied to anyone who operates in an uncertain environment (researchers, intrapreneurs, military etc). A VITAL read for anyone who wants to start their own business or go into entrepreneurship.
5. ‘The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development’, Briant Cooper
This is essentially a ‘cheat sheet’ or mini-version of Steve Blank’s famous ‘The four steps to the Epiphany’. While it doesn’t have everything, it is a really good summary and provides great templates which can be used in developing your product. I would suggest reading it twice and then starting to apply your own circumstances and business case to it. This has changed the way I have approached customer development.
On top of these top 5 ones, here are some more you can dig into:
- Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner
- The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Mike Michalowiez
- The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen
- Rework, Jason Fried and David Hansson (37 Signals)
- Founders at Work, Jessica Livingston
What are your favourites?