Lessons Learned

Books I Read in 2010 [LIST]

In the spirit of sharing, here’s an alphabetic list of the books I read and lectures listened to in 2010. I think I learned something from each and every one of them, so I can recommend them all.

These days, I mostly consume books as audiobooks from Audible to fill the gaps.

I’d love to learn more about what you’ve been reading lately. What did you read in 2010? Do you have any ideas on what I should be reading in 2011? Did you read any of the books on my list too? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!

All Marketers Are Liars
by Seth Godin


All people tell stories. Marketers included. Better get yours straight.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by [drumroll] Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

Nice to know more about Ben Franklin and what Dale Carnegie was talking about. Spoiler: There’s no kite in it.

Project Gutenberg
Amazon
Kindle
Audible
Archive.org

The Black Swan
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

You will never be able to view after-the-fact explanations the same again after reading this one. At least I can’t.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Blink
by Malcom Gladwell

On the adaptive unconscious – or intuition, or the power of thinking without thinking, if you will.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Business Model Generation
by Alexander Osterwalder (@business_design), Yves Pigneur (@ypigneur)

Don’t marry your business plan – it’s going to be thrown out the moment you get funded anyway. Focus on your business model if you must. Here’s some help to do just that.

Get it:
Amazon

Bursts
by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

The hidden pattern behind everything we do. Barabasi is a great storyteller.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Click
by Rom Brafman, Ori Brafman

On why we seem to instantly connect with some people. On why we ‘click’, see?

In the video above, Ori Brafman “[…] talks about the power of oxytocin in making instant connections with people, and how it affects our personal and professional relationships. Vulnerability and proximity are both important factors in making lasting connections and relationships, and affect workplace efficiency and collaboration.”

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Critical Mass
by Philip Ball

On how one thing leads to another. Better insights in this one compared to “The Tipping Point” mentioned later. Thanks to @kitblake for recommending it!

Get it:
Amazon

Crowdsourcing
by Jeff Howe

On the wisdom and power of crowds. Made me discover the discontinued DARPA project PAM which I now have a fascination with. I think there’s something there.

Get it:
Amazon
Audible

Crush It!
by Gary Vaynerchuck (@garyvee)

Gary’s highly personal (and after-the-fact) advice for success. But if you need to learn how to hustle, listen to Gary. He’s awesome! I recommend the audio version to hear the author read it himself with added bonus materials. Contagious energy and passion.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Dip
by Seth Godin

On when to quit – and when perhaps not to. Or on “bad quitting” and “good quitting”.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Facebook Effect
by David Kirkpatrick (@davidkirkpatric)

The rosier version of the story behind Mark Zuckerberg’s “Social Network”. Highly interesting. Set in this light, you really get to love and respect “The Zuck”. No, I’m not kidding.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Engage!
by Brian Solis (@briansolis)

The survival guide for businesses and brands in the [communication and information] world of today.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
by The Stanford Technology Ventures Program

Are you into entrepreneurship like me? Are you thinking of starting your own venture? Your own startup? Not exactly a book, but who cares. You should listen to every single one of these 130+ awesome talks with lessons learned by the superstars of the entrepreneur world. I know I did and I am eternally grateful for the insane amount of time it has already saved me by learning from other people’s mistakes.

Get it:
http://ecorner.stanford.edu

Here are some of my favorites:

From Harvard to the Facebook
The Art of Negotiation
Secret to Successful Negotiation
Negotiations On and Off the Field
Research Lens on Understanding Entrepreneurial Firms
Phases of a Startup
A history of venture capital
A Panorama of Venture Capital and beyond
Stimulating innovation and creativity in the workplace
Fall 2009 Quarter Roundup: What did we learn?
Getting to Plan B
Honest Advice on Starting a Company

Fascinate
by Sally Hogshead (@SallyHogshead)

On discovering the triggers of fascination behind yourself and your brand – and how to tweak them to better communicate your values and position yourself.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Flip the Funnel
by Joseph Jaffe (@jaffejuice)

On how marketing and sales has changed and how to use existing customers to gain new.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle

Fooled by Randomness
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

More awesomeness from Taleb on rethinking of common (mis)conceptions and after-the-fact explanations. A must read too.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Freakonomics
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


On rethinking common (mis)conceptions and raising new questions by applying economics.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

ECON 159: Game Theory

Because everybody should remember to put themselves in the other people’s shoes, know never to play a dominated strategy, use iterative deletion and know about best responses and the Nash Equilibrium. And because Prof. Ben Polak is an amazing teacher! And it’s free from Yale.

(Aside: Yale University uses the Plone CMS – An awesome and humbling factoid for me personally. Yay!)

Get it:
Open Yale Courses
Also available on iTunesU

Getting Things Done
by David Allen

Nah. I still practice my own Inbox Zero version to get my things done.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

How Pleasure Works
by Paul Bloom

Interesting facts about why we (or at least some) attach value to and desire mundane objects that has been owned by or in some case were only in the vicinity of a famous person; how under some conditions an object is thought of possessing some sort of “essence” of the famous person, but I found it going here, there and everywhere rather shallowly without arriving at any particular place.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
by Dale Carnegie

I’d say just stop worrying because you’re going to die and you can’t stop it. Period. Being curious about other works [than described further down in this list] of Carnegie’s made me read this one (so you probably won’t have to).

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

How to Win Friends & Influence People
by Dale Carnegie (re-read)

YIP Day 305 - Dale Carnegie

If you’d ask me, I’d still say this is a must-read, relevant as ever. It’s the Web2.0 handbook, how to get ahead, the guide to being a better man/woman/rathernotsay. Read, learn, do! Rinse and repeat.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum
by Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) (re-read)

On why and how you should get serious about software design and why programmers shouldn’t design software. Not as fresh as when it came out, but it holds up nicely.

Get it
Amazon
Kindle

Linchpin
by Seth Godin

On rethinking your mindset, value generation, your role and position [as an employee] in the modern work place. (I personally think linchpins should quit and start their own businesses, though).

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Linked
by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

On how everything is connected to everything else and what it means.

Get it:
Amazon
Audible

The Long Tail
by Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) (re-read)

On why the future of [or actually current] business is selling less of more.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Meatball Sundae
by Seth Godin

On why you shouldn’t and wouldn’t make and sell a meatball sundae – although some corporations still seem hellbent on making them and trying to force-feed them to you.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The (Mis) Behaviour of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin and Reward
by Benoit B. Mandelbrot

A fractal view on financial turbulence. Provides interesting insights on market mechanics, or rather the actual lack of empirical insights to such. Do not let the math aspect scare you: It’s a [relatively] math phobic safe book. You should read it.

(Aside: Mandelbrot unfortunately died in 2010.)

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle

The New Psycho-Cybernetics
by Maxwell Maltz

This one really put me off by referencing pseudo-science as science-fact. Aside from that fact, it says something along the lines of that you can program yourself to be and behave like you want to. Simplistically speaking, just tell yourself “you are the kind of person who does x” or “you are NOT the kind of person that does y” in front of a mirror and you’re well on your way to change your programming. It’s all about self-image, see? I guess it works to some extent, but I’d stay away on account of the pseudo-drivel.

More interestingly it’s also talking about the tortoise mind or the lizard brain; the power of your brain processing problems without your active thinking, better explained here:

(Aside: I’d really love to read more about any scientific research on the “Tortoise Mind”. Perhaps you know of any?) UPDATE: I found the motherlode in Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow“.

Get it:
Amazon
Audible

Outliers
by Malcom Gladwell

More on why the gaussian distribution model doesn’t tell you the whole story and why 10.000+ hours of practice actually counts for quite a lot.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Permission Marketing
by Seth Godin

It’s the opposite of Interrupt Marketing. Which one is the most successful? Yes, you get it. But why do so many companies still not get it?

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Power of Pull
by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davidson

On rethinking business and innovation in a fast moving and globalized world. Mostly for suits, so there’s a good chance you know and live most of this already.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Prince
by Machiavelli (re-read)

This classic was a fun re-read whilst experiencing, shall we say managerial turbulence, this year.

Get it:
Project Gutenberg
Archive.org

Social Media 101
by Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan)

Enough talk about social media. Here’s something that you can – and perhaps should – do.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions
by Gary Klein

A cognitive psychologist’s research on “naturalistic decision-making”. Ever wondered why you as an experienced professional make (good) decisions in seconds that you find hard or next to impossible to explain to say, you boss or even to yourself? Enter RPD (Recognition Primed Decision):

From Wikipedia:

Recognition-primed decision (RPD) is a model of how people make quick, effective decisions when faced with complex situations. In this model, the decision maker is assumed to generate a possible course of action, compare it to the constraints imposed by the situation, and select the first course of action that is not rejected. RPD has been described in diverse groups including ICU nurses, fireground commanders, chess players, and stock market traders. It functions well in conditions of time pressure, and in which information is partial and goals poorly defined. The limitations of RPD include the need for extensive experience among decision-makers (in order to correctly recognize the salient features of a problem and model solutions) and the problem of the failure of recognition and modeling in unusual or misidentified circumstances. It appears to be a valid model for how human decision-makers make decisions.

Hah. Stick that to the next person requiring you to explain and/or have you follow the next theoretical decision processes du jour based on evaluation and elimination of total options based on explicit input: “It’s RPD, mofo!”. Another case for intrinsic knowledge beating explicit knowledge, I wager. A must read.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle

Superfreakonomics
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner


Challenging even more common (mis)conceptions and raising even more interesting questions with applied economics. It surprised me as being at least as funny and provocative as their first book, Freakonomics.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell (@gladwell)

On how, why and what things lead to another. Providing less substance and answers than I had hoped for but Gladwell is an entertaining read as always.

Get it:
Amazon
Audible

Tribes
by Seth God

What is a tribe, why do you need one and how and where do you find it?

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Trust Agents
by Chris Brogan, Julien Smith (@julien)

What is a Trust Agent and why and how would you become one?

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

The Wealth of Networks
by Yochai Benkler

On how social production transforms markets and freedoms.

Get it:
Harvard
Archive.org

Understanding Media by
Marshal McLuhan (re-read)

Interview

I think I read it the first time back in 1994 or 95 understanding little but being highly intrigued. As I read it again in 2010 I don’t know if I actually understood much more but it sure as hell raised a number of interesting questions and provoked a lot of new thoughts so I guess I found it even more fascinating now as it’s arguably obvious to most that we’re living smack in the middle of his ‘prophecy’. Spoiler: The Medium is the Message.

Get it:
Amazon

UNMARKETING
by Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)

Unthinking, unlearning, relearning marketing, helping small and large businesses master the art of (un)marketing with example stories in this day and age: Listen and engage, do not interrupt and try to find better ways of cold calling because you know it sucks.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

Wikinomics
by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

How mass collaboration changes everything.

Get it:
Amazon
Kindle
Audible

I mostly listen to books these days to make better use if my time. I use a Sony DR BT-50 stereo Bluetooth headset with the iPhone for audio quality and wireless convenience anywhere.

Get it:
Amazon

Feedback

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I’d love to learn more about what you’ve been reading lately. What did you read in 2010? Do you have any ideas on what I should be reading in 2011? Did you read any of the books on my list too? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!

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