Four Steps to the Epiphany – If you’re doing a startup (or involved in any way), you really need to read this book. Steve’s one of Silicon Valley’s originals, having deep experience in startup and – 7 startups, several craters, and at least one huge success as a founder (Epiphany). This book was described by Marc Andreessen as “the manual for arriving at product-market fit,” and I truly believe it is. If you’re interested in new products or emerging organizations at all, go order this one now – you will learn things you can use immediately.
Secrets of Question-Based Selling- This is one of the few consultative selling books that is particularly worthwhile. (Most sales books are the same, and terrible. ‘Always Be Closing’ is terrible advice.) Because it is important to understand sales processes (even if you’re a marketer, or a product manager, or even (gasp!) an engineer.) I recommend this book with an apprenticeship with a master consultative salesperson.
Dealing with Darwin- I’m a huge Geoff Moore fan, and this book is perhaps his unknown masterwork. This book is about how to compete in technology as a large corporation, drawing all of his case studies and examples from Cisco. This book is where I got my ideas about complex systems vs volume operations business models and a number of other things. Really a great book.
Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity- Avinash is a great writer, and makes web analytics funny. (The jokes are actually funny.) The book is endlessly detailed and completely modern. If you want to go from zero to sixty on web analytics as fast as possible, this is probably the book for you.
Certain to Win – This is probably the closest thing to a conventional business book on this list. This book is an application of Boyd’s strategy for war to business. (Incidentally, some of this is where lean startup comes from.) The foundation of Boyd’s strategy is quite simple: if I make two moves for every one move you make, I will win, even with inferior forces, bad equipment, and horrible luck. In Certain to Win, Chet Richards applies this business. He goes into detail about the subtle, difficult elements, like organizational culture and management for agility. Highly recommended – the great gift for the boss.
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