I’ve become a startup, small business and entrepreneurship book curator––literally. We receive a lot of great books from best-selling authors and business extraordinaries, but unfortunately few have the depth to make the read “plausible” and the breadth to capture your attention – and keep it.
Recently, I considered that many of us often stay within an industry-specific comfort zone when it comes to selecting new books. Traditional wisdom may suggest that you stick to what you know. But I’ve found that much of the strategic insight and tactical knowledge that impacts your business is found in the unlikeliest of places.
Hence, I was so impressed with several excellent – yet diverse books, that I had no choice but to share them with you. In hopes that you’ll read them and that they’ll spark genius and refresh your business.
We all have our tried and true business books that take up coveted space in our iPads, Nooks, Kindles and office shelves. However, these five books should definitely be on your reading list.
“Be more innovative. Stop wasting people’s time. Be more successful,” says Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business.”
Ries evangelizes his mantra of Lean Thinking principles applied to the entrepreneurial process. His inspiration? The lean manufacturing process, fine-tuned in Japanese factories decades ago which focused on eliminating any work or investment that doesn’t produce value for customers. While it’s heavily praised in tech circles, entrepreneurs across a wide array of industries could benefit from reading this book.
Harvard MBAs Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, the founders of Gilt Groupe, reveal how they built the web’s most famous fusion of high tech and high fashion empires.
Their book, “By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop” explores how they took their passions and developed a simple idea into a members-only, high-end “flash” sale website that soon became a viral hit and later hit a valuation of $1 billion – reaching 3.5 million members. It’s a refreshing read with a ton of great insights.
3. Getting Real
“Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application” is about the business, design, programming, and marketing philosophies of 37signals — a developer of web-based software used by over 1 million people and businesses in 70 countries.
And while, you may think that “tech is irrelevant to your business” think again. There’s much to be learned from a company that has launch five successful web-based applications, an open-source web application framework (Ruby on Rails) – all in just two years with no funding, no debt, and only seven people.
Influence. Everyone wants it … very few actually have it. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” written by Robert B. Cialdini a Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, is an archetypal book on persuasion. It explains the psychology of why people say “yes”— and how to apply these fundamental lessons to your life … and for our purposes – business. It takes a compelling look at the power of persuasion and shares actionable steps.
“Hey! I don’t think that Facebook thing is going to help us in business,” said Bob CEO. I wasn’t around when Bob declared this at his company meeting. Nor was I front and center to observe the bewildered faces of his Gen Y marketing team upon hearing such a statement. But my guess is that in millions of company’s across the world, there are folks just like Bob, that haven’t seen the social media light.
But if you have, then this is likely the best book to-date to bring you up to speed on the business value of the hottest new social networking –– Pinterest. Pinterest is now the third most-visited social networking site, so it would be beneficial for you to pay close attention. Buy the book or kindly share this article with “Bob!”
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