Recommended Reading

  • Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends

    Small Data

    The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends

    Martin Lindstrom
    Big data is all the rage right now in technology circles. People are obsessing on how to make sense of it in a way that can have a meaningful impact on the bottom line. Lindstrom has made a career of what he calls small data. He looks for and exploits the pieces of information that you can’t find in any database to grow the business. This is the man that helped bring back Lego from near bankruptcy.

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  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

    The 4-Hour Workweek

    Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

    Tim Ferriss
    Whether your goal is literally to find a way to work only 4 hours a week (or less), or you want to simply find creative ways to have a better quality of life, this book is for you. Workaholics need not read this, even though they should. Tim Ferriss has an impressive resume of accomplishments by simply finding ways to earn a substantial income by working less and less. Read Essentialism by Greg McKeown before you read this.

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  • Professional DNN 7: Open Source .NET CMS Platform

    Professional DNN 7

    Open Source .NET CMS Platform

    Multiple Authors
    This is a shameless plug for a book that I co-authored. If you’re responsible for delivering client websites on any level, this book will help you unleash the power of the DNN CMS to get websites delivered faster and with all of the requirements checked off.

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  • Don’t Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Usability

    Don’t Make Me Think Revisited

    A Common Sense Approach to Usability

    Steve Krug
    No matter how small your responsibility is for creating, approving, or in any way reviewing content, this should be your content bible. This book is written following the very same advice it asks you to follow. Learn how to write content that engages your target audience quickly, and in the shortest form possible.

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  • Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

    Uncommon Service

    How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business

    Frances Frei, Anne Morriss
    This book is not only great because I read a lot of it in Italy. It’s great because it provides you with a framework that empowers you to change your business dramatically. Through simple steps of execution, you can improve things that you never even thought of to not create customers, but create fans of your business.

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  • Growth-Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

    Growth-Hacker Marketing

    A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising

    Ryan Holiday
    Traditional marketing is dead. At least that’s what this book would almost have you believe. If none of Holiday’s real world examples can convince you, nothing will. He does a great job of providing almost detailed use cases that allow you to completely change how you acquire new business. The goal here is to move the needle to see almost viral growth in your sales. Oh, and you’ll enjoy some additional goodness at the end.

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  • How to Win Friends and Influence People

    How to Win Friends and Influence People

    Dale Carnegie
    There’s nothing I can say about this book that hasn’t been said time and time over. We’re all in the business of sales, whether we like it or not. You sell an idea to your boss, you sell yourself during an interview. We all sell. This is the classic book that helps you sell better, as well as build relationships while doing business.

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  • Working with Emotional Intelligence

    Working with Emotional Intelligence

    Daniel Goleman
    It doesn’t matter if you lead yourself or an entire company. This book should be required reading for anyone at any level of a company. This is your ultimate toolbox for understanding everyone you work with – both internally and externally. This is your must-have guide to leading people of all personality types, in all directions of the business.

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  • slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

    slide:ology

    The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations

    Nancy Duarte
    This is probably the first book I picked up on the topic of presentations. I had just joined a company where my primary duty was to give great presentations. Presentations that would sell. I took the challenge seriously, and I highly recommend that this be your first book on this topic too. Duarte has literally written the book on presentations, having been the first to make a business of it, and the powerhouse behind many of the world’s most recognizable presentations by people like Al Gore events including SXSW and TED.

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  • Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

    Resonate

    Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

    Nancy Duarte
    Nancy’s previous book focuses primarily on the presentation itself, the slide show if you will (although it was much more). This book takes you to the next level, where you learn how to create a true story that will have the highest possible impact with your target audience. This book is what inspired my “lead like a presenter” leadership methodology.

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  • The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation

    The Art of Community

    Building the New Age of Participation

    Jono Bacon
    If you find yourself responsible for creating or growing a community, this book should be in your toolbox. Bacon’s book functions as your must-have guide for any community manager or evangelist. It comes complete with real world examples to help you visualize your own goals and plans for success. Put this in your community management toolbox. You won’t regret it.

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  • Online Communities Handbook: Online Communities Handbook

    Online Communities Handbook

    Building Your Business and Brand on the Web

    Anna Buss, Nancy Strauss
    Buss and Strauss have done a great job in this book of giving you the tools and frameworks necessary to plan your online community, no matter what kind of community it is. You’ll find that this book fills in some gaps too, helping you to associate your community with business objectives. One of the other things this book offers are a number of interviews from various community managers.

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  • The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities

    The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities

    Greg Low
    Technical communities are far from new. They’ve been around as long as any technology has. However, it wasn’t until Microsoft found ways to leverage the power of communities to drive adoption and sales that the masses began to notice. Greg brings his experience at Microsoft to us all in this book, complete with logistical and practical working advice that best help the community.

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  • The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides

    The Naked Presenter

    Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides

    Garr Reynolds
    Garr is clearly inspired by the zen approach to presenting, and he constantly hammers this into you through this book, in only good ways. Through his masterful illustration using actual illustrations and thorough examples, he helps us to learn how to get to the essence of your presentation topic. This and Nancy Duarte’s Resonate book are a perfect compliment to each other.

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  • Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests

    Game-Based Marketing

    Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests

    Gabe Zichermann, Jocelin Linder
    This book not only helps you to grow a community and a business brand equally well, the techniques that Zichermann presents also can be applied to many aspects of your personal and professional life. Although, I’m not sure that was his intent. Gabe does an outstanding job of explaining gaming mechanics for all to understand, and helps you to further learn how to apply the principles to grow your business and achieve your business objectives.

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  • Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

    Engage

    The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web

    Brian Solis
    If you only get one book to learn how to create and grow a community of customers, this should be the one. Solis covers everything you need to know and do, while not overwhelming you. This book will help you learn the psychological dynamics that help to inspire and drive meaningful community activity. If you run an online community in any way, you should probably read this once each year.

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  • Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

    Viral Loop

    From Facebook to Twitter: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves

    Adam L. Penenberg
    The best marketing is automated and works for you, distributing itself to more and more people without any additional cost or effort from you. This book was written before “growth hacking” became the common term we hear used today. If you’re looking for proven methods of how to grow software adoption in your business, this book has nearly every known example (at the time of writing) broken down into detail.

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  • You Can Read Anyone: Never Be Fooled, Lied to, or Taken Advantage of Again

    You Can Read Anyone

    Never Be Fooled, Lied to, or Taken Advantage of Again

    David J. Lieberman
    I haven’t met anyone in business yet that thinks they can’t already read people well, and truth be told, most people suck at it. If you work with other people in any way, this book will help you to recognize the signs people give for various situations. If you can master the techniques offered by Lieberman, you’ll easily be able to tell what someone is thinking and feeling. You’ll be empowered with the most critical information you need at all times.

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  • Googled: The End of the World as We Know It

    Googled

    The End of the World as We Know It

    Ken Auletta
    This book was supposed to be the basis of a script for a movies about the tech giant we know as Google (or Alphabet now). Auletta is well-known for his writing in The New Yorker, New York post and more – not to mention his popular profiles of people such as Bill Gates and Rupert Murdock. His writing on the start and rise of Google is nothing short of fantastic, giving you insights that you wouldn’t have found anywhere else. It doesn’t matter if you love or hate Google. This book is a great read.

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  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

    Presentation Zen

    Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

    Garr Reynolds
    If you’re reading Garr’s books on presentations, this should be the one you read first. In Presentation Zen, he uses all of the techniques being taught to you, to powerfully drive home the point of the entire book. You’ll be able to read this book in no time at all, and in the end, you’ll be loaded with all of the tools and inspiration you need to make your next presentation exceed all expectations. The title says it all.

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  • Confessions of a Public Speaker

    Confessions of a Public Speaker

    Scott Berkun
    Out of all of the books I’ve read about presentations, this is by far my favorite, as it really is what the title says. It’s so entertaining. No other book I’ve picked up is as candid about the unlimited number of things that can go wrong to a public speaker. This feels more like a memoir, than a “how to” book. When you’re done, you’ll feel like you and Berkun are long-lost friends, but you’ll be a much more powerful, consistent, and skilled public speaker at the same time.

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  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

    Born a Crime

    Stories from a South African Childhood

    Trevor Noah
    Whoa. I know Trevor Noah is a comedian and that he comes from South Africa. I know that his birth country has a nasty history of apartheid. However, I never knew any of the details. I never knew about all of the individual stories and struggles that apartheid forced upon people. I never knew about how insanely well that system of injustice was designed. This book is entertaining, sad, funny, and inspiring all at the same time. If you can, I’d highly recommend the audiobook version of this. You must hear Trevor read his own stories. (Fair warning, there’s at least one poop story.)

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  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    Blink

    The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    Malcom Gladwell
    If you want validation that you can make instant decisions and be right all of the time, don’t read this. You’ll be doing everyone a disservice, including yourself. That’s not what this book is for. Gladwell has done an incredible job of putting together research and real-world examples where instantaneous decisions have gone right and wrong. He breaks them all down with precision to help you understand how to have balance. You can’t always make gut decisions, but you shouldn’t avoid those kinds of decisions either. You should read The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris before you read this.

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  • A Grief Observed

    A Grief Observed

    C.S. Lewis
    From one perspective, it was a delight to read this book to get to know how people used to command the English language. It’s so much different than today. However, this is the first book I’ve found that’s written from the perspective of a widower, versus a widow. It was very welcome and it does a great job of highlighting the internal thoughts and demons that a widower goes through when losing your soulmate or true love. I cried many times over the words and thoughts Lewis had. It was refreshing to hear that even back then, my struggles aren’t so different.

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  • Ego is the Enemy

    Ego is the Enemy

    Ryan Holiday
    If you think you have an ego, read this. If you don’t think you have one, you definitely need to read this. Holiday is a great writer, and in this book he does his best to help you understand where and how ego comes into play. Most importantly, he helps give you tools to better understand and control your ego and the ego of those around you. Probably the best thing about this book is that his own out-of-control ego is what inspired him to help others avoid his same ego-driven mistakes. This makes a great (anonymous) gift.

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  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

    Essentialism

    The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

    Greg McKeown
    Essentialism is probably my favorite book of all time. Having recently become widowed myself, I quickly learned the hard way what parts of life actually are and are not important. This book helps everyone to have that same understanding without the grief. If you follow the practical advice that McKeown provides, you’ll most certainly be living a better life, much fuller of quality than ever before. If you plan to read 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, read this first.

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  • Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

    Multipliers

    How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

    Liz Wiseman
    As a leader, do you find that the time in your day is constantly sucked up by everyone trying to get you to make the decisions? Sounds like you’re the other type of leader, a “diminisher.” Multipliers helps you to become the most efficient leader possible by giving you the tools to identify and leverage your team. You’ll end up with a highly productive team of people that you no longer have to “manage,” because they’re constantly inspired by you and each other.

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  • The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

    The Lean Startup

    How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

    Eric Ries
    Are you interested in startups or in building one? This is the must-read for anyone that wishes to be involved with startups in general, or even if you want to build a new business of your own. Ries does a masterful job of helping you to understand the most efficient way to prove or disprove that your ideas and/or business will be a success. The knowledge you get here doesn’t need to be limited to startups, but can be applied to nearly anything else that you do. Once you get the build-measure-learn feedback loop down, you’ll wonder how you worked without it. After this, you should read Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson.

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  • The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuition Deceives Us

    The Invisible Gorilla

    How Our Intuition Deceives Us

    Christopher Chabris
    This book isn’t necessarily meant to be a leadership book, but I find it to be an invaluable resource for any leader. Named after a famous experiment of the same name, this book helps you to understand yourself and others. Have you ever had that moment where you were arguing with someone about something you just knew you remembered, only for them to show you proof that you were wrong? This book helps you to understand why that happened. You’ll learn how we are all victims of our own intuition, and you’ll end up a better leader and a better person for it. You should read this before you Blink by Malcom Gladwell.

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  • Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat

    Ready, Fire, Aim

    Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat

    Michael Masterson
    We’re all taught how to execute the same way. You make ready. Then you aim. Finally, you shoot. You’re taught that this is how you hit your target. This gets instilled into us in business too. Masterson turns this idea on its head with real-world examples of how this is wrong. You should aim last. Throughout this book, Masterson walks you through each stage of growth in a business, pointing out what you should be focusing on. For many entrepreneurs, this is their startup bible. This is a great follow-up to The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

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  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About It

    The E-Myth Revisited

    Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to do About It

    Michael E. Gerber
    This book is a great one to give to anyone who romanticizes about starting a new business. Many people think they can just build a business and it will be an instant hit. Here Gerber walks you through how wrong you are, and follows up with the things you need to do in order to actually see success. He walks you through how to get out of your own way giving numerous examples from his own experience.

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  • Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

    Sway

    The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

    Ori Brafman, Rom Brafman
    If you’ve ever been in a meeting where everyone made a decision that you knew was going to different before walking into it, this book will tell you why that happened. The Brafman’s do an excellent job of walking you through the various aspects of how a group setting can easily give you unanticipated results, and what to do about it.

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  • Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

    Zero to One

    Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

    Peter Thiel, Blake Masters
    I don’t know which book is better, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, or this one. If you’re going to read one, be sure to read the other. These are both incredible guides for anyone that has the entrepreneur bug. They both cover a lot of the same information, but this book focuses more on the business that’s creating a new business vertical, versus competing in an existing one. If you want to change the world with your business idea, Thiel and Masters have you covered here.

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  • Game-Changer: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations

    Game-Changer

    Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations

    David McAdams
    One word: strategy. This book is chock full of examples on how psychology and human nature can increase or decrease the potential for success of any situation. McAdams does a great job of providing examples in both business and personal scenarios in a way that makes it simple for you to apply yourself.

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  • Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

    Scaling Up Excellence

    Getting to More Without Settling for Less

    Robert I. Sutton, Huggy Rao
    This is easily one of my favorite business books. Sutton and Rao write about all of the things you need to know to be a better leader, run an efficient team, and have a highly productive and successful business. They help you throw out the archaic methods from the past, replacing them with techniques and methods they’ve learned from experience to work consistently. You’ll learn when and why to run things in a “Catholic” versus “Buddhist” way, or vice versa. You should also read The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

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  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers

    The Hard Thing About Hard Things

    Building a Business When There are No Easy Answers

    Ben Horowitz
    This is probably my favorite book for anyone that has influence on the growth of a business of any size. The insights and scenarios that Ben presents are nothing short of eye-opening. He gives you honest and battle-proven advice on how to successfully traverse the gauntlet of business growth. If you like this, you’ll also love Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao.

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  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

    Wild

    From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

    Cheryl Strayed
    You probably know this book exists and didn't even realize it. This is the book that inspired the movie starring Reese Witherspoon. It's a beautiful movie that helps you understand how a person might deal with grief due to experiencing the death of a loved one. The movie focuses on this a lot, and the book does too. However, the book spends a lot more time talking about the trail. Regardless, it's an amazing read.

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  • No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

    No Time to Say Goodbye

    Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

    Carla Fine
    For those of you that know me personally, you know that I lost my soulmate, Sabrina. While her passing was sudden and unexpected, it was not a suicide. However, the unexpected nature of it has only left me with questions and I definitely didn't get the chance to say goodbye. This book is an excellent read for that reason and more.

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