Reading List - General

  1. Good To Great

  2. by Jim Collins

    A study of what distinguishes good companies from great ones, complete with many example companies and policies from both ends of the spectrum. There is a special emphasis on what distinguishes great success in the short term from long term success, and what effect the company's CEO has on this. The answer s may surprise you.

  3. Broken Windows, Broken Business

  4. By Michael Levine

    The title refers to a study which shows that once the windows of a car are broken, the rest of the car is quickly vandalized as well. Why? Because the presence of a broken window sends powerful psychological cues to onlookers that quickly lead to further problems. He then extrapolates the analogy and finds analogies for common business problems that behave like broken windows, especially in customer service.

    I thought the perspective of the book was refreshing - focusing on seemingly small problems that have large consequences, and viewing businesses from the perspective of a customer's or employee's user experience. It's a no nonsense, bottoms-up, Kaizen-like philosophy to problem solving, focusing on everyday experiences and on small improvements adding up to large changes.

  5. Switch - Changing Things When Change is Hard

  6. by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    This book presents a variety of success stories for inspiring large change under limited resources and adverse conditions - from the high school teacher who cut down on tardiness by putting a couch in the front of the classroom for the earliest students, to the missionary who eliminated widespread hunger and famine withlittle budget and no support from athorities. Because of the limited resources available in these stories, the solutions presented build momentum through small changes and small successes and focus on the importance of seemingly insignificant and often overlooked details.

  7. Made To Stick - Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

  8. by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

    An analysis of what distinguishes messages that are quickly forgotten from messages that are easily absorbed and passed on, this book is very similar to Malcom Gladwell's well known 'The Tipping Point'. But I found this book more useful and interesting because it is more specific and gives plenty of hands-on insight for how to communicate effectively. The authors also do a great job of explaining not just how to craft effective messages, but also of delving into the social psychology and neuroscience background of why the methods presented in the book work. I especially liked the in-depth explanation of why analogies are such an effective tool because they are well suited to the way our brains store knowledge. I believe this kind of information can be very useful to anyone working in marketing, education, writing / journalism, or any field that involves communicating with a picky and sometimes adversarial audience.

  9. Blink

  10. by Malcomn Gladwell

    A detailed account of the power of intuitive thinking. Essentially, this shows the science behind gut feelings, including various suprising studies showing how in many circumstances, quick intuitive thinking based on seemingly insignificant details can easily outperform even the most sophisticated analysis, while other areas of life are rife with misconceptions based on faulty intuitive thinking.

  11. Next: The Future Just Happened

    by Michael Lewis

    What do a 12-year-old New Jersey boy turned world class stock trader, a child providing free expert quality legal counsel, a band that rescued itself from obscurity by appealing directly to fans, and the creator of WinAmp have in common? They are all subjects of this book, and are representative case studies for the many ways in which the internet is shaking the very foundations of our institutions and authority structures. In this book, Michael Lewis shows how the internet is already radically blurring the line between industry insiders and outsiders. He shows us examples of how easily the internet can shift authority from grown-ups to unlikely adolescents and even children that would otherwise not be taken seriously, and how quickly expertise can shift from certified professionals to the masses. Written in a style that is both meaningful and fun, Lewis's piercing insights into the internet powered shift in authority never disappoint.

  12. Honorable Mention

    Nudge, Mind Wide Open, How an Economy Grows and why it Crashes, Freakonomics, On Intelligence, Sway, Economix

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