Guy Kawasaki recommends

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photo: Thomas Hawk

Apple evangelist and startup legend recommends

“Influence: Science andPractice” by Robert B. Cialdini

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

The book of this series also recommended by Charlie Munger, mentioned in Warren Buffett: Best Business Books

Dr. Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, writes this book around one basic problem and solution: how to get people to say that magic ‘yes’ word. His experience in advertising, fundraising, and sales gave him the necessary yes tools, to be passed on to others. This is distilled, easy-to-read research centered around persuasion and compliance. The six psychological categories work in pairs. Consistency breeds reciprocity, social proof (or socially informed influence) only really works with likeability, and authority is bolstered by issues of scarcity.

 “The Effective Executive: TheDefinitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

Also recommended by Jeff Bezos

Though published in 1967, Drucker’s best-seller still has wisdom to share on management theory and implementation. Since effectiveness is a learned skill and not an inherent gift, all that’s needed for effectiveness is practice of the right principles. From systematic management of the most valuable resource (time), to expanding on strengths (rather than weaknesses), leaders must banish the spirit of generalization and channel their team’s efforts toward a few priorities. This gets organizations out of the problem-solving trap, opens up new avenues to explore, and allows executives to distill fact-based evidence from opposite viewpoints into a decision with a deadline.

“The Pumpkin Plan: A SimpleStrategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field” by Mike Michalowicz

Guy Kawasaki

Also mentioned in Best Marketing Books According To Seth Godin

Ordinary businesses built by ordinary people – can grow into extraordinary enterprises. Michalowicz, also known for his other best-seller The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, approaches business with the eye of a pumpkin farmer. To get beyond the ‘sell it – do it’ cycle of frustration, entrepreneurs can move beyond long pointless hours with a few methods: plant, weed, nurture. Focusing on the good pumpkins, and casting out the bad, allows business owners to harness the true strength of their business: the best customers. Pass over quantity for quality, and find the business sweet spot.

“Uncommon Genius: How GreatIdeas are Born” by Denise Shekerjian

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

After interviewing forty award-winners from the McArthur Foundation Fellowship, Shekerjian saw some common key characteristics: resiliency, environment massaging, an ability to hone personal talents, instinctive risk-takers. By blocking out the lure of swift resolution, and minimizing research-oriented tasks, prize winners such as Peter Sellars and Derek Walcott leaped past obstacles that leave most creative types in the dust. Other important topics, from despair and madness to travel and instict, all play a role in making dreams come true.

“Crossing the Chasm: Marketingand Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers” by Geoffrey A. Moore

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

While some marketing examples may be inapplicable, the concepts are still evergreen. Being disciplined in establishing a targeted customer beachhead with early adopters, before expanding to take over a larger marketing share with everyday consumers, is still relevant to high-tech launches. Momentum is still key in harnessing the early adopter’s desire to help in the product’s ongoing creation. So is guarding against ‘vapor vare’, or the marketing launch of a product with severe developmental issues. Since no age has conquered the desire to beat down visionaries’ ideas with pragmatism, this book remains a valuable tool.

“Inevitable Illusions: HowMistakes of Reason Rule Our Minds” by Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

We may guard ourselves against optical illusions, but mental illusions of cognition are more difficult because they keep us from following the path of reason, says Piatelli-Palmarini. Biases and mental sand-traps can turn intuition astray, but there are ways around the seven sins of cognition – including the confidence that comes with reasoning from a wrong premise. From avoiding mental shortcuts leading down blind alleyways (heuristics), to calculating the unknown and escaping the pessimism tunnel, to the importance of framing statistics, any fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s work such as Blink or The Tipping Point will also want to read this book.

“Mastering the Dynamics ofInnovation” by James M. Utterback

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

A dominant design’s purpose is to become so useful that industries and individuals alike take it for granted. Market dominance is difficult to predict, and becoming part of the landscape of design may be even harder. It is a complex blend between what consumers truly want and the refining process of competition. Using complex assembly examples from the late 19th century, from gas lamps to fluorescent lighting and all of the various stages of the computer (beginning with the Remington typewriter), the author shows the interrelated nature of product and process. Essentially, this book displays innovation theory worked out in historical and business examples.

“The Innovator’sDilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

–from Kawasaki’s personal blog

Also recommended by Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Steve Jobs, Andrew Grove, Evan Williams

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

Dustin Moskovitz recommends

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photo: Ken Yeung

Facebook co-founder has great book recommendations for startupers

“The Lean Startup: HowToday’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically SuccessfulBusinesses” by Eric Ries

“At Asana, we’ve been lucky to benefit from Eric’s advice firsthand; this book will enable him to help many more entrepreneurs answer the tough questions about their business.”

– Dustin’s review

If you want to read only one book on startups you should choose The Lean Startup. It’s about one of the hottest startup theories today: startup is all about testing your ideas, hypothesis and then finding their best combination. Like a science, not casino

Dustin gave brilliant lecture on his startup experience and what life in startup is really like.

Dustin’s talk is from 27 min

At the end of this talk he also shared his recommended reading. Enjoy it!

                  “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz

                  “Zero to One: Notes onStartups, or How to Build the Future” by Peter Thiel

                  “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World” by David Kirkpatrick

                  “The Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age” by John Heider

                  “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life” by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Tony Hsieh recommends

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photo: Silicon Prairie News

Zappos CEO and founder recommends truly amazing books

 “Search Inside Yourself“ byChade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Tony Hsieh

Also mentioned in Eric Schmidt On Books About IT Trends

According to a Google worker, a Stanford scientist, and a Zen master, meditation should contain a reality larger than head-shaving in the East and West Coast attempts at communes. Somewhere between Meng’s compulsive engineering mindset and Goleman’s insights on emotional intelligence, the average reader can get insight into how they can gain self-awareness without neglecting empathy or leadership skills. Inner joy should not have to shift aside for work demands, and happiness should not come at the expense of creativity or satisfying relationships. From the Greater Good Science Center to The Economist, this book receives both business and mindfulness accolades.

The Happiness Hypothesis:Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom” by Jonathan Haidt

–from interview to USA Today

Tony Hsieh wouldn’t waste time on a book that didn’t lead to good business principles, or list it as the book of the biggest impact on his company’s culture. Along with Good to Great and Tribal Leadership, Haidt’s Happiness book struck a big and positive nerve with the CEO of Zappos, perhaps because of the emphasis on giving and serving as a way of producing happiness. There are helpful lessons on adversity and forgiveness, compulsive gift-giving, and the scientific affirmation or rejection of either Western or Eastern ideas. The mystery of the satisfaction of reaching toward goals, rather than achieving them, may be an overwhelming reason to read the book.

“Outliers: The Story ofSuccess” by Malcolm Gladwell

Tony Hsieh recommends this book on Inc.com as one of his favourite

Also recommended by Charlie Munger

A lifelong fan of the fascinating story of failure,Gladwell, turned his eye to unlikely success stories. Though the Tipping Pointmay have moved the author on to personal fame and fortune, this book about thehard workers who scrambled their way to the top certainly contributed toGladwell’s inclusion in Time’s list of influential people. Beatles fans will beglad that their brilliance is recognized, and those who favor reading lists ofGreenwich Village authors should note that it’s Gladwell’s residence. His ownfascinating background, as the child of a math teacher and thegreat-granddaughter of Jamaican plantation owners, no doubt contributed to thebook’s assertion that society and environment play a strong role in success.

“Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Tony Hsieh recommends this book on Inc.com as one of his favorite

From local wineseller to worldwide sales, Vaynerchuk promotes living the dream while harnessing the power of technology. His video blog, Wine Library TV, shows tasting and investment tips, demonstrating the book’s ideas on how to turn your passion into a worthwhile brand with profit. Building an online community with an eye toward monetization may be a common theme now, but the author’s breezy style can give readers hope that they really can avoid the jog slog in favor of being responsible and relevant — while remaining true to their passion and allowing for zig-zags.

“The $100 Startup: Reinvent theWay You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future” by Chris Guillebeau

Tony Hsieh

Also mentioned in Best Marketing Books According To Seth Godin

The author’s lifestyle of earning his way across the globe may not be duplicatable for everyone. However, this business vagabonding book offers compelling examples of turning ideas into an income stream, beyond borders and outside of paycheck land. The examples include stories from 50 case studies of those who had ‘gone and done likewise’, beginning with a small investment and turning their concepts into cash. Nor are the errors excluded in favor of fist-pumping motivation – the entrepreneurs reveal real monetary start-up costs and real errors that preceded insight. Maybe that’s why it’s listed on Detailed Success alongside The Millionaire Fastlane.

“Tribal Leadership: LeveragingNatural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization” by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

–from interview to USA Today

Between Shift and Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust, Excell Puget Sound has listed this leadership book as a recommended resource. It’s no secret that people automatically form cliques – or ‘tribes’ numbering between 25 to 150 individuals – and the group often acts as a unit with its own set of ideas and rules. If leaders harness this trait, and know the cultural stage at which their team operates, it will be easier to harness the group’s strengths rather than fight against the weaknesses. That alone will help set a company above its competitors, and gain an economic edge.

 “Peak: How Great Companies GetTheir Mojo from Maslow” by Chip Conley

–from interview to USA Today

While Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid of needs fulfillment is most often used in psychological circles, per a Fast Company interview, Conley says that the concept also works well in business circles. Making the shift from monetary motivation to meaningful fulfillment can work with customers, employees, and investors. The resulting employee pyramid has three themes: survival, success, and transformation at the peak. Money does not motivate as much as either meaning or recognition, even in the Joie de Vivre hotel chain hit by a post-2008 and anti-tourist economy. From the personal to the theoretical to the application, the author spells out how soft business skills can turn into a real business turnaround.

I Love You More Than My Dog” by Jeanne Bliss

Tony Hsieh recommends this book on Inc.com as one of his favorite Since the book’s forward was written by a former Southwest Airlines President (Colleen Barrett), it’s not surprising that the focus centers around customer service without excluding either money or fun. Company examples include AAA, Costco, and Symantec, former author workplaces. The first chapter begins with a Connecticut store that allows test rides on its $6,000 bikes, and the last chapter ends with a Netflix apology. The book’s placement on 800CeoRead may have to do with the message of rallying a tribe of impassioned and influential fans, or it may be due to Harley-Davidson and Zappos examples of outstanding customer centricity and loyalty. Either way, it’s readable and thought-provoking

Eric Schmidt recommends

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photo: JD Lasica/Socialmedia.biz

Former Google CEO talks about books that help you understand IT

                  “Search Inside Yourself“ by Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Eric Schmidt

Also mentioned in Tony Hsieh Recommends 7 Books That Will Blow Your Mind

According to a Google worker, a Stanford scientist, and a Zen master, meditation should contain a reality larger than head-shaving in the East and West Coast attempts at communes. Somewhere between Meng’s compulsive engineering mindset and Goleman’s insights on emotional intelligence, the average reader can get insight into how they can gain self-awareness without neglecting empathy or leadership skills. Inner joy should not have to shift aside for work demands, and happiness should not come at the expense of creativity or satisfying relationships. From the Greater Good Science Center to The Economist, this book receives both business and mindfulness accolades.

                  “Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World” by Don Tapscott

Eric Schmidt

One example of growing up digitally is finding out that this book appears online in the 2009 McNaughtons Best Sellers List, between the magical “Tales of Beedle the Bard” and Roizen’s “You, Being Beautiful”. Perhaps every parent knows that the younger generation has taken multitasking and turned it into a magical art. However, this 1998 Amazon Bestseller gives pointers on how older Boom and X generations can harness this knowledge the way that the younger ones harness the Web. Also, there’s a hopeful note about the Net Generation’s talents and abilities being put to good and democratic use, rather than drowning in passive entertainment.

                  “Adventures of an IT Leader” by Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, Shannon O’Donnell

Eric Schmidt

Perhaps Jim Barton is a fictional executive, but that doesn’t make the situations or crisis examples any less real. Between staff, a board of directors, and the CEO, Jim must receive and transmit the right messages. The book is illustrated and written like a graphic novel, which greatly adds to the appeal of business application. Realistically, the challenge of CIO status is displayed head-on, with Jim staggering back from his ‘promotion’ that might as well be a reassignment or a casualty of layoffs. While the initial lesson (‘IT management is about management’) may not inspire, notes on The Road of Trials and The Runaway Project certainly will.

                  “Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy” by Carl Shapiro, Hal R. Varian

Eric Schmidt

From the Information Economy to pricing and rights management, from lock-ins to a standards war, Shapiro and Varian put feet on the idea that technology changes while economic principles remain the same. In the same way that train and coal moguls made telephones and transportation work for them, executives and entrepreneurs can make the information age and networking tools work for them. The battle between the cost of information, the cheapness of reproduction, and working through intellectual property rights is clearly outlined from the first chapter onward.

                  “Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work” by Robert Austin, Lee Devin

Eric Schmidt

Amid all the talk on harnessing ingenuity and creativity, these authors have wrapped research around ideas on how to make creation possible. Between playwright Devin and Professor Austin from Harvard Business School, the dance between improvisation art and business deadlines is outlined and choreographed. Also, in the tension between a possibly mapless destination and immovable targets, it’s still possible to get ‘knowledge work’ done efficiently without either having to be a slave to detailed objectives or drowning in analysis.

Ted Turner recommends

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American media legend Ted Turner about his favorite books

“Life Is What You MakeIt” by Peter Buffett

Ted Turner

Also recommended by Bill Clinton, Jamie Dimon

.

Though the author bears such famous last name, Buffet, he claims that he hasn´t inherited much from his parents, concerning materialistic issues. He was gifted with a family philosophy: “Everybody must find his own way in this life”. This warm, mind broadening, and inspirational book asks every reader, what will he choose: the way of least resistance or the way greatest satisfaction? In some sense this is the life story of Peter Buffet himself.

“The Odyssey” by Homer

–from interview to achievement.org

Any classical scholar or schoolchild should know the basics of this work, especially as it appears on every book list from Trojan War history to Top 100 Must-Reads. The great Ithacan warrior Odysseus has spent ten years attempting to return to his homeland, after winning the war against Troy, enmeshed in struggles against nature and mythical creatures alike. His wife Penelope is besieged in waves after waves of suitors, not unlike her husband’s continual near-deaths at sea. His son Telemachus is considered a threat to the suitors, and there are plans to have him removed as an unwelcome obstacle. While gods debate and a nymph swoons over the imprisoned hero, his one thought is of home.

“The Iliad” by Homer

–from interview to achievement.org

Equally well-known on college reading lists, this book covers a similar timeframe as the Odyssey – nine years after the Trojan War has begun. An Apollo priestess is under lock and key, which is the reason for a continual plague on the Greek armies. Two representatives of Greece and Troy are chosen to do battle: Paris and Menelaus. After Paris flees, many battles rage in Mount Olympus and on earth, by land and by sea. After refusing to fight due to a deadly insult, Achilles does a body-armor swap with a friend that ends disastrously, but he gets a new purpose and set of armor that helps him accomplish a temporary truce.

 “Gone With the Wind” byMargaret Mitchell

“I enjoyed “Gone With the Wind” and history books of all types.”

–from interview to achievement.org

Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable sizzled on screen, but the real Southern magic and comfort was woven by Mitchell. The character development of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, along with the remainder of the Southern aristocracy, provides a fascinating historical background into the not-so Civil War. Romance readers will enjoy the romantic tension and triangle between Scarlett, Ashley, and the piratical Rhett. Drama enthusiasts will welcome the personality clashes between Scarlett and anyone who stands in the way of her survival or business plans, while relishing the emergence of frail Melanie and bustling Pittypat as symbols of quiet loyalty and classic Southern virtues.

“The Aeneid” by Virgil

–from interview to achievement.org

Also recommended by Mark Zuckerberg

Most schoolchildren know the basics of the Trojan horse, but Virgil outlines all of the intriguing details of myth and legend. Tension between the gods of the heavens and the underworld, true love, flaming pyres, shipwreck, political intrigue, revenge – no drama is left out or neglected. Aeneas recounts tales of strange beasts, the goddess Juno plots a settling of scores with Troy (for their future role in the destruction of noble Carthage), and battles erupt. While Virgil is no longer around to rejoice at his work’s placement on numerous book lists, this unfinished epic poem is still worth a read after nearly 2,000 years of translations.

Michael Arrington sci-fi recommends

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photo: Thomas Hawk

Techcrunch founder Michael Arrington says that to build really great company it’s better to read not books on management and marketing, but science fiction. Check out his reading list

                  “Dune” by Frank Herbert

–from article on Techcrunch

Also recommended by Jeff Bezos

Herbert’s classic is still considered a necessary book list addition to real fans of science fiction. (Over 5,500 Wired magazine readers voted for Dune as their first book list choice, out of their top 10 favorite sci-fi novels.) Though the plot drags in some sections, just like the book-based film, the story of Arrakis’ political intrigues over the flow of a valuable spice (that gives long life and interplanetary travel capability) will also capture the imaginations of political science students, who may see some connections between this book and the influence of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

                  “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller

–from article on Techcrunch

Though a finalist in the 1962 National Book Awards, Heller’s novel was caught on the lower rungs of the awards ladder – just as the protagonist Yossarian gets caught in a continual wartime whirl of contradictory statements and situations. Press clippings win out over actual wins or losses in battle. Yossarian loses a bid for insanity (so he can go home) because he’s sane enough not to want to participate in a senseless war. The law stating reading to be an illegal activity is absurd, because it’s written in a book, and therefore designed to be read. It’s a strange and fascinating work dealing with social and individual madness, war, and the desire to live forever.

                  “The Foundation Series” by Isaac Asimov

–from article on Techcrunch

Also recommended by Elon Musk

Besides Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, perhaps no other series has found its way into the hearts of the reading public and critics alike. Winner of the prestigious Hugo Award, this series covers philosophy, man’s origins, the laws of science, and whether or not man really can conquer space travel. As in Star Wars, politics and robots often determine the fate of …well, the Galaxy. Unlike in either Star Wars or Blade Runner, the hero (Hari Seldon) is a mathematician who has caught the attention of the Emperor. Seldon’s powerful tool will eventually prevent humans from devolving into savage beasts, thus securing a win for the future and civilization.

                  “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

–from article on Techcrunch

One of the best books to read in the science fiction realm, it can’t be beat for pure craziness. There are morose androids, philosophical discussions in swamps with mattresses, and alien invasions of quiet country golf courses – by a couch gone mad. There’s the all-important answer to the question on the meaning of life, and travel tips on what to bring on intergalactic journeys. There are big keg parties in the sky. Frankly, there’s not a lot that isn’t covered. If you find something missing, it’s sure to be in another Adams novel, though this is one of his best.

                  “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson

–from article on Techcrunch

Stephenson’s acclaim as a science fiction author and philosophical thinker combine in this work, though even enthused readers (such as Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times) hesitate to give it book recommendations in the category of a novel. Rather, it could be considered a more heavy-duty version of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, in which the story somewhat takes a back seat to the importance of philosophical thought and its implications for man. Scientists act like monks on an Earth-like planet, and the protagonist Erasmas weaves his way between rival scientific thinkers bound in a complex world of inquiry and posited theorems – and aliens.

                  “The Waps Factory” by Iain Banks

–from article on Techcrunch

Banks has taken the horror of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the isolation of The War Zone, and turned a possibly heartwarming story (about a boy and his father living on an island) into an abyss of hopes and dreams. Death is the most overwhelming theme, from the death of the animals that Frank the 16-year-old uses to keep island invaders at bay, to the mysterious death of family members. Tension is maintained by the imminent arrival of Eric, one of Frank’s brothers who will be returning after a stint in a mental hospital. Stephen King fans of Carrie will find this fascinating reading.

                  “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein

–from article on Techcrunch

Considered one of Heinlein’s absolute best books, it has eerie similarities to Ray Bradbury’s gloomy classic, The Martian Chronicles. Space explorers set out to discover Mars, and are lost for a generation. A second team is sent, discovers two of the original explorers’ children living free, and the children are brought to Earth for questioning and legal wrangles about economics and planet ownership. After hospital imprisonment by a calculating government official, Mike the Martian is helped by an intrepid reporter and his girlfriend to start a new and freeing Church of All Worlds. However, there’s still the problem of whether or not humans will accept this new church’s teachings on freedom, and cast off all restraints – or not.

Richard Branson recommends

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photo: Jarle Naustvik

One of the most inspiring entrepreneur on his favorite books. Time to change your life 🙂

Long Walk to Freedom: TheAutobiography of Nelson Mandela

In his book “Screw It, Let’s Do It”, Branson cited Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk To Freedom” as a major inspiration.

It’s not surprising that Nelson Mandela’s work would turn out a number of positive reviews and book recommendations, from the Christian Science Monitor to the African Studies Center of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. The story has the bootstraps appeal of Mandela’s rise from the stepson of a tribal chieftan to an attorney, a long stint as a political prisoner, to a political leader. It also has the revolutionary appeal of a leader who advocated long-term change through peaceful means, and lived to see change in South Africa, beginning with himself as the first black president of the country.

“Mao: The Unknown Story” byJung Chang

“A brilliant biography that smashes all of the mythsthat this terrible man built around himself.”

While Chang and her husband Halliday may not get any glowing book recommendations from either current leaders in China or The New York Times, it has still been a stunning success. The story of Mao as a self-centred leader of a totalitarian regime, passing itself off as a worker’s paradise, has resonated with its many readers – despite its length of over 800 pages. What distinguishes this historical book isn’t the emphasis on Mao’s cruelty, but the research pointing to Russia as the real power behind the Chinese leader – from financial assistance to choosing Mao as leader – and Mao’s kowtowing to Moscow.

“The Dice Man” by LukeRhinehart

–from interview to the Radio Times

For those who enjoy the prospect of surrenduring their daily decisions to the vagaries of chance, this would be one of those Camus-like good books to read. (Instead of the protagonist surrenduring his every move to the almighty call of dice, Albert Camus had The Stranger moving through a series of seemingly unrelated events culminating in a unimpassioned murder.) In a fit of boredom at his conventional life as a family man and psychiatrist, Luke Rhinehart surrenders his life decisions to a pair of dice, leading to crazy adventures and amoral decisions. It’s not a book for either the faint of heart or those who dislike nihilistic questions on morality.

“In-N-Out Burger: ABehind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules” by Stacy Perman

Stacy Perman’s investigative book about the dedicated fans of In-N-Out Burger and its founders has garnered some enthused book recommendations, from seriouseats.com to qsrmagazine.com. Though the founders didn’t manage to put together lasting succession plans, the In-N-Out Burger chain managed to avoid three of the traps of other burger joints: franchising, going public, and paid celebrity endorsements. The refusal to advertise, says Perman, made In-N-Out Burger a word-of-mouth success. Business-minded readers should take a look at her work.

“Wild Swans: Three Daughters ofChina” by Jung Chang

In his book “Screw It, Let’s Do It”, Branson wrote that “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang is one of his favorite books

Whether the reader wants an insider’s take on communism worked out in China, or the feminine perspective of a world caught between medieval and modern life, Wild Swans would be one of those good books to read in either category. The historical accounts are real, which should satisfy political science students. Personal accounts of the trials endured by the author’s grandmother (bound feet and life as a concubine), the author’s mother (living through Chairman Mao’s purges) and the author herself (from doctoring to steelwork), give a family shape to this true account.

                  “Swallows and Amazons” by Arthur Ransome

“Swallows and Amazons” is among the favorite books of Branson’s childhood. He quotes these books as “a lovely kids’ adventure book”.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper says that Ransome’s work may be the follow-up act to the Harry Potter series, in the fictional realm of action-adventure, because of the upcoming film series. The twelve-book series itself has all the reading appeal of British classics like the Five Children and It or the Secret Garden, in which a group of children are bound by the magical appeal of their pursuits. In this case, the four-person child crew of the Swallow and the Amazon pursue sailing, becoming PG-rated pirates (drinking a mixture of lemonade and ginger beer for ‘grog’), and getting into adventuresome scrapes on an island.

“An Inconvenient Truth: ThePlanetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It” by Al Gore

–from interview to Forbes

This book on global warming is controversially planted between book recommendations by the New York Times, and skepticism on lack of scientific evidence from challies.com. From sea level increases in Florida, to the melting snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, Al Gore points out man’s footprint on the planet and what can be done about it – alongside anecdotes about his own personal history. Nor are the topics restrained to melting what was frozen, such as the diminishing ice sheets in Antarctica, but there are charts and photos of coral reefs, descriptions of destructive hurricanes, and the importance of insects (such as the pine beetle) on the run.

Seth Godin recommends

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photo: Acumen_

Marketing guru’s recommendations

                  “The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field” by Mike Michalowicz

– Seth Godin’s review

Also mentioned in Guy Kawasaki On Books Every Businessmen Should Read

Ordinary businesses built by ordinary people – can grow into extraordinary enterprises. Michalowicz, also known for his other best-seller The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, approaches business with the eye of a pumpkin farmer. To to get beyond the ‘sell it – do it’ cycle of frustration, entrepreneurs can move beyond long pointless hours with a few methods: plant, weed, nurture. Focusing on the good pumpkins, and casting out the bad, allows business owners to harness the true strength of their business: the best customers. Pass over quantity for quality, and find the business sweet spot.

                  “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. Pink

– Seth Godin

Per a Kim Hartman creativity post, it’s worth noting that Pink has taken much of his own advice in his writing efforts. The author’s 2013 work, To Sell is Human, won an Amazon award for Best Book of the Year. Before that, he wrote Al Gore’s speeches. Right-brain thinkers can take comfort in the idea that the future can be theirs. They already tell stories and get entranced by all the inventive possibilities of art, and the world looks for these traits. Tom Peters hailed it as a miraculous and original work, in tandem with his own efforts to promote the values of ‘soft’ skills in the marketplace. The book is worth reading, if only for the initial chapter which described a brain scan in vivid detail.

                  “Your Marketing Sucks” by Mark Stevens

– Seth Godin

Along with Gladwell’s Blink and Godin’s All Marketers are Liars, Patient Media promotes this work as important material for chiropractors. It’s not hard to see why, since many former marketing efforts have netted surprisingly few results when compared with the impressive financial outlay. Extreme Marketing should include eye-grabbing and effective branding, mixed with a memorable message that clearly displays the uniqueness of the offering. Using his own experience with a well-known firm, the author shows that lack of connection stems from four mistaken ideas – being budget-centered, one-day oriented, over-delegating, gullible spenders.

                  “Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands” by Marty Neumeier

– Seth Godin

While the Brand Gap can help companies press through the shouting in the marketplace, this work can move its readers away from tepid differentiation to showing a real difference in outlook and offerings. Customer feedback is essential, along with the power of naming. Dangers include too many case studies, which is why the author has provided distilled principles instead. Cut through the clutter, use white space the way it was intended, and be given a reason to play the meaningful marketing game of Paper, Rock, and Scissors.

                  “The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times” by Tom Peters

– Seth Godin on his personal blog

Per a Wall Street Journal post, Peters’ book is number two on forecaster Faith Popcorn’s list of trend-shaping business works. This may be due to Peters’ call to action on forgotten methods of connection, such as handwritten thank-you notes and behind-the-scenes business tours. To really stand out, you have to step up and take on complete responsibility – and value employees above customers. Daily recreation and a focus on design take courage, especially since companies always battle the never-ending pileup of rules and management procedure. Embrace change, embrace the enthused acceptance of Wow.

                  “Too Big to Know” by David Weinberger

– Seth Godin on Squidoo

Praised by John Seeley Brown and Daniel H. Pink, this book explains some of the interconnected and labyrinthian pathways where information walks and gets transmitted to humans. Facts have their basic underpinnings in documents, discourse, and cash. Rather than seeing the world of information as a vast and globalized village where facts are invented, the author argues, facts are following the historical path of networking to arrive at their proper destinations. While experts doesn’t have near the status of yesteryear, Weinberger asserts that the connected world helps organizations to better gather and compile knowledge.

                  “The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future” by Chris Guillebeau

– Seth Godin’s review

Also mentioned in Tony Hsieh Recommends 7 Books That Will Blow Your Mind

The author’s lifestyle of earning his way across the globe may not be duplicatable for everyone. However, this business vagabonding book offers compelling examples of turning ideas into an income stream, beyond borders and outside of paycheck land. The examples include stories from 50 case studies of those who had ‘gone and done likewise’, beginning with a small investment and turning their concepts into cash. Nor are the errors excluded in favor of fist-pumping motivation – the entrepreneurs reveal real monetary start-up costs and real errors that preceded insight. Maybe that’s why it’s listed on Detailed Success alongside The Millionaire Fastlane.

                  “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers” by Geoffrey Moore

Seth Godin says that this book is “very valuable for every entrepreneur”

While some marketing examples may be inapplicable, the concepts are still evergreen. Being disciplined in establishing a targeted customer beachhead with early adopters, before expanding to take over a larger marketing share with everyday consumers, is still relevant to high-tech launches. Momentum is still key in harnessing the early adopter’s desire to help in the product’s ongoing creation. So is guarding against ‘vapor vare’, or the marketing launch of a product with severe developmental issues. Since no age has conquered the desire to beat down visionaries’ ideas with pragmatism, this book remains a valuable tool.

                  “The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right” by Debbie Weil

– Seth Godin

The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right by Debbie Weil In tandem with Blogging for Dummies, this work explains the importance of blogging as a time-saving, penny-pinching and responsible way for companies to communicate with the most important people in their world: customers, media, and employees. By blogging, businesses can combine the effort represented by focus groups and viral marketing pushes, along with the value of a personalized news feed. As an easy-to-read website, a blog can offer communications and marketing in one channel. Without a blog, corporations will be hampered by their lack of presence in global conversations and citizen journalism.

Larry Page recommends

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Internet entrepreneur and co-founder Google recommends the books that stimulate your mind

“My Inventions: TheAutobiography of Nikola Tesla” by Nikola Tesla

–Larry Page at the American Assiociation for the Advancement of Science

Tesla is rather an unknown inventor despite his most useful discoveries, such as the nature of the magnetic field and AC current, not to mention the ‘impossible’ electric motor. While his discoveries have changed the world, his autobiography was published in 1919 but went quietly out of print for many years. Interest in the brilliant inventor has resurfaced, and his eccentric compulsions and fears (mixed with a photographic memory) seem akin to other modern technological ‘greats’ such as Steve Jobs. This short work illuminates some personal struggles with hypersensitivity, and rival scientists’ work (such as Marconi).

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)” by Richard P. Feynman

The book is included in the list of Larry Page’s favorites in an article on entrepreneur.com

Also mentioned in Tremendous Reading List Of Tim Ferriss

Fact is surely stranger than fiction. Richard Feynman seeks to dispel the image of a Nobel laureate as inhumanly grave and ascetic, by publishing his exploits – and his annoyance at being given the Nobel news at 4 in the morning. The author’s alma mater, MIT, enthusiastically promotes his book as an addition to American reading lists by describing his penchant for practical jokes and bongo drums, plus an ability to open sophisticated safes in Los Angeles. Those who haven’t heard of this amazing physicist will be interested in his contributions to science, including the quantum theory of electrodynamics, and a better understanding of helium.

“What Do You Care What OtherPeople Think?” by Richard P. Feynman

The book is included in the list of Larry Page’s favorites in an article on entrepreneur.com

This sequel to ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman’ adds the rest of the story of this physicist who won a Nobel Prize…but didn’t lose his sense of humor. Anyone who has wondered if NASA struggles with human failings and beaurocrazy habits will be glad to know that even those who reach for the stars can trip over rocks in their path. Along with the stories about Mr. Rogers of the Presidential Commission are drawings and schematics that show the flaws of flight safety that led to the Challenger disaster.

“QED: The Strange Theory ofLight and Matter” by Richard P. Feynman

The book is included in the list of Larry Page’s favorites in an article on entrepreneur.com

Long before TED talks took over the educational world of YouTube, Feynman the physicist wrote books about the complex scientific world that educated and fascinated everyday readers. For those who appreciate quantum electrodynamics without wanting to know all its technical detail, Feynman breaks down the world of particles and waves, reflection and refraction. Before his face graced a U.S. postal stamp in 2005, this professor had contributed to the science behind the atomic bomb, shared a Nobel Prize in 1965, and taught at CalTech for over 35 years.

Pleasure of Finding ThingsOut” by Richard P. Feynman

The book is included in the list of Larry Page’s favorites in an article on entrepreneur.com

While some readers find a few more technical sections such as ‘Minority Report’ harder to read, Feynman’s sense of fun and curiosity are most evidence in the chapter ‘What is Science’. If you’ve already read many Feynman books, this one may not provide groundbreaking insights; however, newer fans can appreciate the humming buzz of ideas surrounding those things both abstract and complex. If for no other reason, this book is worthwhile for its curious insights on safe-cracking.

Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

The book is included in the list of Larry Page’s favorites in an article on entrepreneur.com

This physicist author takes great joy in relaying geeky detail mixed with a healthy disrespect for literary conventiion. Fans of Tom Clancy will be glad to find yet another author who is unfraid of passing on hours of distilled research into a sci-fi novel headed led a pizza deliverer. Virtual villains abound, as does political futuristic commentary unsullied by political correctness. The battle between Raven and Hiro in cyberspace pre-date the cloud technology era, so this novel could be read historically too.

Marissa Mayer recommends

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CEO of Yahoo shares the business and self-improvement books she is impressed with

                  ”The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman

– from interview to littlepinkbook.com

While the black-and-white imagery may not be very contemporary, this work still appeals to the designer in us all. The author points out pros and cons of designs we ignore in daily life, and makes his audience think about the functions of objects that are taken for granted. You will never see a door or a toaster in the same light, though it may be a temptation to overlook some gems in this work due to its quaint pre-Internet insights, though the diatribes about confusing telephonic systems still apply.

                  “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane

– from an article on inc.com

Who knew that charisma could count as an application of scientific principles? If you’ve ever wondered why people can turn charm on and off like a tap, this book holds the answers. Charisma can be a learned art; the author lived this truth by holding Stanford and MIT audiences captive as well as catering to big-name businesses like Google and Citigroup. For critical readers who get tired of the clichés and overused illustrations that pepper most professional self-help books, be prepared for something really different.

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