37 Business and Strategy Books For 2011 [updated]

by Thomas MORADPOUR on January 4, 2011 · 30 comments


On Jan 1st, we were discussing Books to read with fellow #usguys, and I tweeted a listing of the 30 or so 37 titles I have already set on my Kindle app for 2011. That’s a rather long list, and it’s actually not even finished – my plan is to read one a week, as recommended by @julien. Not as hard as you may think – that’s just about 40 pages a day, as most books average 300 pages these days.

Anyway – a lot of folks tweeted back saying it was a good list, and suggested I made of post of it… so here it is!

Now please, add your recommendations in the comments… I still need another 20 15!

Blue Ocean Strategy
by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
A “classic” on strategy and innovation, recommended by PepsiCo’s former head of International Mike White. Sits high on my stack.

Brains on Fire [Finished and reviewed here]
by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones
The one I started the year with, as recommended by Scott Stratten (@unmarketing), author of the excellent Un-Marketing, which would have made my list if I had not read it already.

Changing The Game
by David Edery and Ethan Mollick
You’ll notice a theme on “gamification” of business in my list… as Marketing guy and avid gamer, this is a theme I’m really interested in this year!

Competitive Strategy
by Michael E. Porter
Need I say more?

Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott Berkun
Recommended in comments by David Cusack

Content Rules
by Ann Handley, CC Chapman and David Meerman Scott
Another recommendation by Scott (@unmarketing). That’s enough for me!

Delivering Happiness [Finished and reviewed here]
by Tony Hsieh, founder and CEO of Zappos.com
This guys also has time to write books?? I really admire the success of Zappos, so curious to know more about Tony Hsieh’s story and ideas in this book.

The Dragonfly Effect
by Jennifer Aaker (@aaker) and Andy Smith (@kabbenbock)
This one was recommended by quite a large number of my Twitter followers. I’m told it’s a must to understand “movements”, and in particular their impact on social good.

by Brian Solis (@briansolis)
Yes, I know, I’m late to the party.

Good Boss, Bad Boss
by Robert I. Sutton
No particular reason to want to read this one, but the desire to improve as a manager and leader :-)

Hacking Work
by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein
I confess… the title really intrigued me; and the I read the subtitle – getting rid of the stupid rules at work. Now that’s for me!

I Live In The Future And Here’s How It Works
by Nick Bilton
Blame this one on Amazon smart recommendation engine. It kept appearing again, and again, and agin… sometime you just have to give in.

The Little Big Things
by Tom Peters
Once again, no particular need for an explanation there.

The Lords of Strategy
by Walter Kiechel
Recommended in comments by my friends Mick Doran and Sean McGinnis

by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
I have read many Tapscott books in the past, in particular Wikinomics, the prequel to the particular title. Amazing ideas. This one is an absolute must for anyone interested in modern economics, and collaboration.

Making Ideas Happen
by Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance network
I actually know Scott, and love his network, Behance – an amazing community and toolkit for creatives of any kind. I did not know until recently that he had written a book… I can’t wait to read it!

The Mesh
by Lisa Gansky
Another theme in my reading list – business through sharing and collaboration.

The Myths of Innovation
by Scot Berkun
Innovation and Myths! great, no? More seriously, the pitch here is to debunk pre-conceived ideas about innovation and the innovation process. Very interested!

The New Capitalist Manifesto
by Umair Haque
Recommended in comments by Ric Dragon

Real-Time Marketing and PR
by David Meerman Scott
I heard DM Scott (who also co-authored Content Rules) speak at the Future of Marketing micro-conference last year; I was quite interested by his idea of real-time marketing.

Reality Is Broken [Finished and reviewed here]
by Jane McGonigal
Probably the leading world expert in gaming. Amazing ideas on how gaming can change the world!

ReWork [Finished and reviewed here]
by Jason Fried and David H. Hansson
Another reco by Scott Stratten.

Seizing the White Space
by Mark W. Johnson
Another reco by Amazon!!!

Small Giants
by Bo Burlingham
Another reco by Scott!!!

Start With Why
by Simon Sinek
Recommended in comments by Chris Eh Young

by Chip and Dan Heath
Because I loved their previous title, Made to Stick!

Talent Is Overrated
by Geoff Colvin
Probably because my first instinct is to disagree with the title.

Talk Less, Say More
by Connie Dieken
Who here isn’t interested in being more influential and impactful?

Think Twice
by Michael J. Mauboussin
This feels a bit like Blink… I’ll tell you how it compares.

Total Engagement
by Byron Reeves and J. Leighton Read
Another in the “gamification” theme – this time about using games to drive better engagement in the worplace.

Trust Agents
by Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and Julien Smith (@julien)
Now, this one is like Harry Potter to me… I have to know what the fuss is all about!

What Technology Wants
by Kevin Kelly
A close choice to “I’ve Seen the Future…” and “The Myths of Innovation”, in my innovation reading theme.

What Women Want
by Paco Underhill
What man wouldn’t want to read this book? Joke apart, this one comes from an expert in shopper marketing and looks at the most overlooked business opportunity for the next few years – marketing with real women insights.

Where Good Ideas Come From
by Steven Johnson
I’m really curious, I really wwant to know, don’t you? This is actually a history of ideas.

by Marty Neumeier
I love zaggers, challengers, those who go against the grain.

Not out yet, but “pre-ordered”…

Social Media ROI
by Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder)
Despite the very bad cover, I’m curious to read Olivier’s book, being a big fan of his thinking and his blog.

Killing Giants
by Stephen Denny (@note_to_CMO)
Stephen actually reached out on Twitter to add his book to my list; as it’s about “10 strategies to topple the leader in your industry” – a theme you’ll understand why I’m interested in – and as I respect him a lot, I was very happy to comply ;-)

OK, that’s it! Any adds?

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  • http://dragonsearchmarketing.com Ric Dragon

    Hi Tom; I would add what is one of my new favorites business books of the the year; The New Capitalist Manifesto. I wrote a blog post about it here: http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/blog/the-new-capitalist-manifesto/

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Will check it out!

  • http://www.felixwetzel.com Felix Wetzel

    Interesting list, I certainly will read some of those. Have you read already books from Tomi Ahonen about mobile. I can recommend “Communities dominate brands” and “Mobile as the 7th of Mass Media”.

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Which one would you recommend out of the two?

      • http://www.felixwetzel.com Felix Wetzel

        Communities dominate brands – it’s very useful and includes some mobile.


  • mick

    Tom, hope you’re keeping well. Happy New Year to you and family. What about…..

    1) “the game changer” by AG Lafley and Ram Charan, about driving revenue and profit growth with innovation

    2) an old one (late 90′s) from John O Keeffe who was Group VP at Procter called “business beyond the box”, all to do with driving for breakthrough results by applying your mind to new thinking strategies

    3) “the lords of strategy”, a great read on the birth and evolution of “strategy”….how some of the consultancy houses were birthed

    4) I love “the pirate inside” also from Adam Morgan

    keep well Tom and hopefully talk soon, ciao, mick

    • http://www.312Digital.com Sean McGinnis

      Ditto on The Lords of Strategy. Great read for those of us interested in strategy, but weren’t there from the beginning (and didn’t spend any time in the consulting firms). Personally, LoS was the best book I read in 2010, but I’m fascinated by the topic…..

      • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

        Will add to my list! Thanks Sean

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Hey mate! How are you doing, fancy reading from you here :-)
      I’ll add Lords of Strategy, mostly because the title is funny ;-) Is there some sort of Riverdance connection there?

  • http://www.b2cy.com Chris Eh Young

    While i haven’t read it, I have heard enough about Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Siteman-Garland to add it to my list for 2011. I would also add Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Thanks Chris — added!

  • http://www.matthewliberty.com Matt Browne

    Love it, look forward to meeting you in the middle!!


    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      The race is on!

  • tiagocosta0

    Hello Tom,

    I have read some of those books.

    I would really, really make it to Rework from Jason Fried as fast as possible and skim through The Mesh from Lisa Gansky, because although the content is interesting the same concepts are said again and again too many times.


    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Will keep this in mind…. You’re not the first to recommend ReWork, so I’m getting really excited about it!
      thanks for the build

  • http://www.PerTalks.com Ken Rosen

    Great list. As a marketer, you might like Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars. I picked it up thinking it would be lightweight and ended up thinking he nailed some really critical things about changing people’s minds. I even (just today) started a “Big Ideas” series starting with this book. So if you trust my view of the biggest point, check out:


    Looking forward to connecting again soon,

    Performance Works

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Thanks — I’ve read this book by Seth Godin, plus a couple others too. My favorite from him is Purple Cow. Not a huge fan of his latest, Tribe.

      • http://www.PerTalks.com Ken Rosen

        Haven’t picked up Tribe…but won’t now. ;-)

        I sometimes think Seth is a little lightweight, but the funny thing about the Purple Cow analogy is I think he actually succeeded in creating a evocative shorthand with legs…for an important message. In the same way that anyone who read Geoff Moore in the 90s can say “cross the chasm” and mean a complete story to folks familiar with the work, if you say “Purple Cow” now during a conversation with me, I know a great deal about what you want to achieve. That alone is quite a feat!

        Cheers, Ken

  • http://www.dcentral.ca/blog/2011/january/6/three-books-i%E2%80%99m-looking-forward-reading-2011 David Cusack

    Rework, Trust Agents, and Make Ideas Happen are great books. Although I would say I liked Rework better then Make Ideas Happen.

    I would also recommend Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scot Berkun who also wrote Myths of Innovation which is on this list.

    I am looking forward to Delivering Happiness. Here’s a list of three other books I’m looking forward to reading this year.

    Thanks for the list I’m always looking for new books. .

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Thanks David – I will add Confessions of a Public Speaker :-)

  • http://www.312Digital.com Sean McGinnis

    Know what else is worth a read/re-read? The Cluetrain Manifesto – http://www.cluetrain.com/

    I re-read it again last year. Hard to believe it turned 10 in 2010. Has influenced SO MUCH of where we are today. Was way ahead of its time, and still resonates with me.

  • http://wevivify.com/ David McGraw

    Great list. I’ll add Fascinate, MicroMarketing, and A million Miles in a Thousand Years. I could add another 10-15….but I will stop here. :-)

  • http://@SixDegreesPGH Robin

    I liked Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel myself.

  • Deborah Moulton

    Re: “What Women Want” by Paco Underhill

    All jokes aside, “the most overlooked business opportunity for the next few years – marketing with real women insights” has two major flaws. First, most companies have seen this opportunity for a very long time, even centuries. Do you think P&G, Conde Nast, Nestle, Macy’s, etc. think this is a new market? The main lagging industries who have failed to embrace the “female opportunity” are dominated by men such as auto, technology, manufacturing, video games, movies, etc.

    Second, the subtitle of this book is “The Global Market Turns Female Friendly.” The language itself is alarming and stultified: “female” is a scientific term to denote a collection of attributes related to reproduction; “woman” embraces someone who is both human and a sum of conscious and physical experience. The only way “real women insights” will be unveiled is if the female-unfriendly industries work beside them as colleagues, C-level executives, board of directors, and owners.

    • http://tommoradpour.wordpress.com tommoradpour

      Let me read this book before I answer, Deborah :-)

  • Pingback: [Book Review] ReWork | Brand Directions

  • http://www.312digital.com Sean McGinnis

    Tom – any chance I can convinbce you to add one more to your list?

    Proofiness – The Dark Art of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife talks about how we use and misuse numbers to convince people of things – and the ways in whicih we accomplish it. Great read so far – about 50 pages in.

    • Anonymous

      Will take it for a spin ;-)

  • Pingback: [Book Review] Reality is Broken

  • Pingback: Delivering Happiness by @zappos Tony Hsieh, Reviewed by Thomas Moradpour

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