The only new years resolution I’ve ever kept was my decision to read one book every week, back in 2014. It’s not always been easy and I’ve needed to learn a few speed-reading techniques along the way, but it’s definitely been worth it.
I would never read a book if it were possible for me to talk half an hour with the man who wrote it.
Leadership genius Tom Peters told me a few years ago, that if I wanted to do well in business, I needed to work harder than everyone else, be better prepared and more informed. I’m not sure I’ve always worked harder, but in many cases I have probably been better read and informed. Having a good book, an appropriate quote or a decent piece of research up your sleeve goes a long way…
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
So, from the 53 books I’ve read this year (one of them was very short and very bad), here are my favourite 25, ranked in order of my personal preference. Maybe there are a couple on the list you might want to give a try yourself? I highly recommend all of them.
- How to Win Friends ~ I read it every year. Written in 1936 and still the best business book I’ve ever read.
- One Thing ~ Forget the Pareto Principle. The most successful people do one thing amazingly well, not a few things quite well.
- The Inevitable ~ Want to understand where the future is going? No one more qualified than the co-founder of Wired magazine, the senior chief maverick himself.
- Dior ~ An odd choice you may think, but the perfect book for any modern thinkers wanting to traditional brand in an established industry.
- TED ~ The best public speaking guide there is, written by the man who made public speaking on a red spot cool.
- Think Simple ~ Steve Job’s ex-creative director explaining how Apple’s design principles could also transform your business.
- X ~ Business needs more “design thinking”. Another superb read from one of my favourite people in the martech industry.
- Master Algorithm ~ Moneyball but for AI.
- Economics ~ Everything you ever wanted to know about economics but didn’t study.
- Good Business ~ From the producers of Monocle Magazine. It reads as good as it looks.
- Only Humans ~ Robots are not going to steal our lunch and eat our children. A superb perspective from MIT professors.
- Industries of the Future ~ Innovation officer for the White House. He’s seen some good stuff, and shares most of it here.
- End of Average ~ There’s no such thing as millennials. Brilliant for understanding the difference between audiences and individuals.
- How We Got To Now ~ SJ putting the most complex technology trends into a language anyone can understand. One of my favourite TED speakers.
- Hacking Marketing ~ From my good friend Scott Brinker. Best “pure” marketing book I read this year. Heavy on marketing technology.
- Storytellers Secret ~ From the superb Carmine Gallo who also inspired me with “Talk Like TED” and “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs“
- Getting There ~ The ultimate book of mentors.Frank Gehry, Warren Buffett, Anderson Cooper, Jeff Koons…
- Best Days ~ Four of the smartest people on the planet debating the future of humanity.
- Ethics of Invention ~ Technological progress isn’t always “progress” and innovation isn’t always innovative.
- Thing Explainer ~ The most beautifully designed book I’ve seen in quite a while, from the author of XKCD. From Space Boats to Pocket Computers – how technology works, using only 1,000 of the most basic words in the English language.
- Progress ~ If ever you need an optimistic view of the world, humanity and where we’re going, instead of the dark view that we read about every day, this will lift your spirits and give you hope.
- You May Also Like ~ Helps you understand how Amazon, Netflix and Facebook recommendation algorithms really work.
- Silo Effect ~ Not all silos are bad, despite what all the management books tell you. A challenging look at new business models.
- You Talkin To Me? ~ Using principles from theology, technology and politics, a great read about how to argue you point and tell more compelling stories.
- Electric Dreams ~ My entire 1980’s computer obsessed childhood encapsulated in one book. Think Commodore 64, BBC B, Sinclair ZX Spectrum…
It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.