December 5, 2009


Filed under: — Erik Dobberkau @ 21:04

According to Seth Godin, there are more than 100,000 books published each year. Fortunately, not all of them are must-reads. Here’s just a small selection of books that I have read or am about to read and that I can recommend as worthwhile literature in their genres. Most of them are English books, but I’ll also recommend some German translations if they’re decent (my judgement only).

books on business

Some lecture on how to build and keep your business.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E(ntrepreneurial) Myth is what I what like to call the foundation of modern business, and not only small ones. But of course in their early days most businesses are more often small. Herein lies the major threat that, according to author Michael E. Gerber, most business founders fall victim to, namely not setting up a system that can work without them. M.E. Gerber describes in vivid language how this occurs and (honoring the title) what to do about it. This book is a definitive must-read for everyone who runs her own business or is in a management position of any business.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

If you want to turn your boss into your enemy, giving her this book is a good way to do so. Jim Collins and his team have put serious effort into their research to conclude what sets great companies apart from the good ones. Surprisingly enough for me as a European, I only knew a small fraction of the case studies mentioned. What’s more, this book proves that the transformation from Good to Great is in no way tied to the branch your business is in. One more must-read for entrepreneurs and “who’s in charge”.

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books on marketing

Included in this section are books on marketing in general and sales as a sub-genre.

Permission Marketing

If you’re in (Internet related) Marketing and haven’t heard of this one, thank the higher power you favour for your clients’ dumbness limited knowledge. Seth Godin wrote this book over ten years ago, and most of its principles (which are obvious if you just think about it) still have not been fully been implemented in today’s web sites. Which is a good explanation why they don’t work. But before you fire your web designer, take some time to reconsider your online strategy (which can easily lead to reconsidering your overall strategy) and adapt it to the requirements of business as of today. Then you might realize that the way you used to market is totally inappropriate, because no one wants to be interrupted with boring, unpersonal and irrelevant crap. This read may give you an idea how to build a trusting relationship with a stranger, turning him into a friend, and only then into a customer.

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship

This book seriously kicks ass. Another must-read if you’re in sales, marketing or consulting. Or if you just don’t know what to read next. Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig share their exciting knowledge of what to do (and what not!) if you take your profession as a marketer serious. They deliver top-notch advice on how to interact with your client, structure your whole thinking around his needs and, just as a result of that (and not the primary target) close the sale. Or not. Even if you don’t get your “go”, this might prove as one of your best opportunities. Their approach (for you as a reader) is not a one-step-solution, but one that, if done properly, can dramatically improve the quality of your business.

Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing out of Sync?

How do your marketing tactics match your business? After the first decade of “go web!” and an overwhelming amount of clutter it produced, it’s definitely about time to re-think what you’re doing. Seth Godin points out that there is no sense to go with the latest web fashion just for the sake of “being there”. If your marketing tactics don’t comply with your business strategy, one part of the equation must be changed. Internet is no more “Yellow Pages for the world” or yet another TV channel for your ads to run on, but about creating new conversations or adding value to ongoing conversations. This book comes up with lots of relevant questions to re-align what you’re doing marketing-wise.

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books on film/video

Here are some film-related tomes and others that deal with post production issues.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Everybody likes a good movie. But what sets a good movie apart? Robert McKee gives an almost scientific (yet very entertaining and insightful) approach on how a Screenplay must (yes, must!) evolve to build a compelling story. If you love movies, read it. Or maybe not. Because the only downside of this book is that it really shifts your perspective on cinema, and you’ll be a much harder critic on movies in the future. But if you intend to make a movie on your own, read this one first or you’ll bite your own ass for your stupid (and easily avoidable) mistakes. There’s also a good German translated version available.

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books on music

Well, more on music business. But more often than not, this is quite the same thing, at least as far as popular music goes.

(entries will follow shortly)

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books on other topics

a.k.a. “stuff that cannot be easily categorized”.

Unleashing the Ideavirus

detail information coming soon

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

detail information coming soon

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

detail information coming soon

Outliers: The Story of Success

detail information coming soon

The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better

Rather a booklet than a book, this quite a fun read. Mostly because most of the example pages look so out of date you can’t help but laugh like “yep, those were the days.” — but: If you take a closer look, most websites still face the same problem like ten years ago, they just look a bit fancier. Yet they still don’t do what they’re supposed to do, which basically is to get the visitor to “do something”. Seth Godin put a spotlight on the common mistakes and how to avoid them. Once more, this is so obvious and simple you wouldn’t even think about it (hint: it’s not the graphic designer’s fault).

Small Is the New Big

Another fun read in easy-to-digest chunk size. This one is a collection of 184 blog posts by Seth Godin, covering marketing, customer service, business ideas, you name it. Makes a great gift (with the side effects of Good to Great, hopefully).

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1 Comment

  1. […] The question now is: How do you get to switch from your old beliefs to your new one? (Find some help here.) […]

    Pingback by Marketing Question #1 « ideasarehere — April 7, 2010 @ 18:57

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