A lot of what I know and use today wasn’t taught to me when I was in college (a lot of it I’ve never even seen in books). But here are my top 20 out of ~100 books that I’ve gotten value from in the last few years or so (not in order):
-Inbound Content (by Justin Champion)
-Sam Walton: Made in America
-Only the Paranoid Survive (Andy Grove)
-The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
-What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars
-Ogilvy On Advertising
-Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
-The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
-The Ultimate Sales Letter
-Zero to One
-Unlocking the Customer Value Chain
-The Power of Habit
-The 80/20 Principle
-Principles: Life and Work
-Blue Ocean Strategy
-The Black Swan
This list is mostly business/marketing themed, but there’s also lots in here about how to think more effectively (The 80/20 Principle, Principles: Life and Work, The Black Swan).
When you read enough, you’ll see that the major themes keep popping up: define your target audience, use great copy writing, be strategic about your positioning, provide value, know your metrics, always be learning, etc.
Honestly, any one of these books is great, but I’d recommend you read them all if you haven’t already. You’ll definitely learn something new. My top 5 picks:
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- Unlocking the Customer Value Chain
- What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars
- Sam Walton: Made in America
- Only the Paranoid Survive
Made in America shows you the humble beginnings of a future mogul and the principles and practices he used to build up Walmart.
Only the Paranoid Survive shows you how a successful corporation (Intel) was able to pivot and find its 2nd act when under attack from overwhelming competition.
Blue Ocean Strategy shows you how to eliminate competition by making them irrelevant (when creating a new category).
Unlocking the Customer Value Chain shows you that it’s not about being disrupted by technology as much as it’s about having pieces of the Customer Value Chain taken away from you by new competitors.
What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars is about setting limits at the start in order to protect yourself from unlimited, catastrophic losses in the future.
P.S. I think everyone should read Poor Charlie’s Almanac. Whenever I need a book recommendation I like to check out @patrickbetdavid list. I’ve gotten tons of value from his YouTube channel too :PBD TOP 100 BOOKS.
(Patrick has read 1,100 books).