Winter Reading List

20 Dec

Does this holiday season provide you with an opportunity to catch up on some reading? Below are some of my favorites that do more than just provide philosophical, theoretical, and anecdotal platitudes. These books provide case studies, well-documented research, and usable information to effect change in yourself and/or your business. Some are newer than others, but regardless of their publication date, they remain timeless.

Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor
With the highest number of startups per capita of any nation in the world and massive venture capital investment, Israel is one of the world’s hubs of entrepreneurship. This book offers case studies and interviews with some of Israel’s most brilliant innovators. It explores the circumstances and policies that yield a country that fosters a business climate in which risk is embraced and good ideas are given a chance to grow.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
The book offers a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of modern marketing and PR to communicate with buyers directly, raise visibility, and increase sales. It shows how large and small companies, nonprofits, and other organizations can leverage Web-based content to get the right information to the right people at the right time for a fraction of the cost of big-budget campaigns.

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith
Today it’s estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector. Instead of producing tangibles–automobiles, clothes, and tools–more of us are in the business of providing intangibles–health care, entertainment, tourism, legal services, and so on. However, according to Harry Beckwith, most of these intangibles are still being marketed like products were 20 years ago.

Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales. Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed.

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau
An easy-to-use guide complete with valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.  It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.  You don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees.  All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Gladwell explains that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Call Me Ted by Ted Turner
An innovative entrepreneur, outspoken nonconformist, and groundbreaking philanthropist, Ted Turner is truly a living legend. This book explores journey that begins with his difficult childhood to the successful launch of his media empire to the catastrophic AOL/Time Warner deal. Ted became one of the richest men in the world, the largest land owner in the United States, revolutionized the television business with the creation of TBS and CNN, became a champion sailor and winner of the America’s Cup, and took home a World Series championship trophy in 1995 as owner of the Atlanta Braves.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these books or others. Enjoy!

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