A number of folks have asked me about recent books I’ve read which have influenced my thinking. Below is a quick summary. I’ve tried to limit the list to books from the last year or so to keep it fresh, but I couldn’t resist slipping in a few oldies.
Communication and Vision
How to create and deliver effective visuals that support the presenter (versus compete with or substitute for.)
Duarte Design’s bible for creating and delivering effective presentations
The Non-Designer’s Design Book
Fundamentals of design for written material. A must read for design illiterates like myself. Elementary for others.
The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
Pictures are far more effective than words in communicating complex or new ideas.
Made to Stick
An amazing book on how to create and communicate ideas that stick.
A Whole New Mind
The corporate world greatly favors left hemisphere orientation. This book opened my eyes to the importance of the other half.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
You probably know all about these two already. I love Malcolm Gladwell. Outliers is coming up on my list soon.
Self-Improvement and Productivity
Gave me a whole new perspective on life and work. There are dozens of similar cheesy, inspirational books like this. Different ones strike a cord with different folks.
I highly recommend listening to this on audio. Jack Welch narrating with his thick Boston accent brings entertainment to a commute.
Tao Te Ching
You’ve all heard of it. It’s amazing and timeless. I only recently made the time for it and glad I did.
The Paradox of Choice
An eye-opening book for those of us with OCD. I think the diagnoses are sound, but the prescriptions now are a bit dated for digital media consumption given ongoing filtering improvements.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
I’m sure most of you are familiar with this one too. A bit overengineered, but an awesome productivity book. Written for the pen and paper era, but plenty of online resources have sprung from it.
A bit didactic and dogmatic, but nevertheless great advice for information consumption.
Four Hour Workeek
Tim Ferris strikes me as arrogant, egocentric, and hedonistic and I found myself really disliking the book yet reading it anyway. It is written as a “how to” guide to get rich fast. Don’t read it that way. If you read with a learning lens and try to ignore the the obnoxiousness, it makes some great points and serves as a reminder to accept no personal limits.
Creativity and Innovation
This is one of those short, simple books that took me a very long time to read as I constantly paused and reflected on the profound insight. This book changed the way I think about problems. It’s old, but timeless.
A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative
Another oldie. A quick read for ideas on how to get the creative juices flowing.
Welcome to the Creative Age
I don’t agree with everything in this book, but it is extremely thought provoking. A must read for anyone who works in marketing. I bought his follow-up book Herd but haven’t made time for it yet.
The Innovator’s Dilemma
A bit ivory tower at times, but I think Clay Christensen really nails drivers of disruptive innovation and why incumbents are virtually destined to fall. I’m halfway through his latest – The Innovator’s Prescription – which I highly recommend for anyone who works in health care. My personal point of view is that his health care prophecies are not “ifs” but “whens” and “hows”.
The Ten Faces of Innovation, The Art of Innovation
I’m enamored with everything IDEO. Great principles for innovation.
The Myths of Innovation
Very insightful work on innovation.
Offices at Work
I’m obsessed with the abundance of industrial vestiges in our companies. This book sheds light on the notion from a physical space perspective.
Management and Business
Two great books with the same theme – enhancing organizational perception and learning through the creation of future memories.
The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage
Authenticity: What Comsumers Want
Pine and Gilmore have groundbreaking insights on the new world order. Required reading for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Business Process Change
A book related to ZS consulting practice. A strong underpinning to our expansion into capability building and outsourcing. Very dry and cumbersome, but valuable for those of us who are weak on operations.
Rethinking the Sales Force
Another book which has influenced ZS thinking on sales force consulting. Elementary reading for those in the trade.
Leading the Revolution
If you can get past Gary Hamel’s blowhard tendencies, this book sheds light on how the world is changing and implications for business.
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization
This is an oldie, but new to me. I gained a greater appreciation for systems thinking and organizational learning. Has shaped my perspective on the financial crisis.
Managing The Professional Service Firm
This book has had a strong influence on the management of my firm. Valuable for those who work in professional services.
The Design of Everyday Things
Our head of software development, Jes Sherborne turned me on to these books. Great books for appreciating good design and experience.
Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages
A fun book that provides good historical context for information management.
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
A phenomenal book on how and why the web / interactive media is changing the world.
Some light reading on new marketing. Did I mention the world is changing? I recommend this book to our clients a lot, despite the title.
The Long Tail
You all know about this one. Some of his predictions were wrong, but still extremely insightful.