What books have influence me?

Seems I’m stuck in an influence theme for my recent blog posts. This is one I’ve been meaning to write for a very long time. I pay close attention when my peers and “online marketing idols” publish their lists of must reads – I usually go to Amazon or Indigo to order a few of those books right then and there.

So you’ve also read one or many of those lists as well. How’s mine different? Well maybe 2 things.

  • First, this is not a list to be cool on to get on the writer’s good site – it’s not book I still think of now and again, or refer to when considering a plan or strategy.
  • Second, I’ll give you a few lines as to why those books have stuck with me, why I like them so much – so this is not just a list.

So here goes, in no particular order, part one of three:


By Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, 2010. I picked up this book at an airport because the title interested me. I’m the type of person to question why things are done a certain way – not to be a pain in the *&?, but to understand the process. So the book called to me. I read it probably faster than any other book before. Jason and David present who they build their company and its services (sales automation software if I remember right) by going the simplest route, simplest iterations, simplest everything – why do we insist on busting our chops so much? This book will give you a different perspective on how to operate a business and rethink the status quo. You can follow their continuing comments & insights on their Twitter account: 37signals.

Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition IrrelevantBlue Ocean Strategy

By W.Chan Kim, 2005. Like ReWork which tells the tale of reinventing a company and industry, Blue Ocean Strategy presents the framework you need to reposition yourself within your industry so that you become something new that cannot be compared. This book gives numerous examples from several sectors including the Cirque du Soleil and Casella Wines who both reinvented how they present and market themselves so as not to be compared with their “traditional” competition.

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People TalkingWord of Mouth Marketing

How smart companies get people talking, by Andy Sernovitz, 2006. Mitch Joel gave me this book when I went to speak in his CMA / Concordia online business class a few years ago and it was well worth my time. Andy explains at length how online interactive platforms enable people to connect and share great ideas. Why wouldn’t companies big or small do great things to get people talking about them? How can companies encourage their clients to talk about them to their friends? Andy tells all in oh-so-clear language.  You can follow Andy, like I do, on Twitter (sernovitz) or on his blog http://www.damniwish.com. He constantly delivers new ideas for great word of mouth marketing or a new spin on old ideas that still work great.

On WarOn War

By Carl Von Clausewitz, translated by Michael Howard & Peter Paret. I first read this in college, after reading many military great’s biographies and seeing the title come up (curiosity). This work from 1832 is (like Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War) the be all & end all of strategic thinking as applied to military conflict. However, the strategies, insights & tactics explained in detail within can also be applied to politics and even business. This is not a sexy read, or a cool read, but a very thoughtful one that’s stuck with me for a long time.

The Long TailThe Long Tail

Why the future of business is selling less of more, by Chris Anderson, 2006. This is one book that explained with crystal clarity the “long tail” concept and its value. A few years back, many people were talking about the concept (they still do today) and it wasn’t always clear that this meant. You should read this book if for no other reason than to get a solid grasp of what true value you can find in the long tail for your business. You can follow Chris on Twitter: TEDchris.

I will publish two more posts outlining the books that have shaped my way of thinking in the coming weeks.

Which books have influenced you? What would you recommend I read next?


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