An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths

Author: Glenn Reynolds

Glen Reynolds’, most recent book, is one of the most optimistic books I have come across in a long time. The book gives a big-picture view of how technology is making the little guy matter a lot more than he has in a long time.

Reynolds’ optimism is infecting. Any aspiring blogger, entrepreneur, or anyone starting out on their own, especially in the content-creation and online publishing areas, will be greatly inspired by this book.

The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

What author Guy Kawasaki says:

This book is a weapon of mass construction. My goal was to provide the definitive guide for anyone starting anything. It builds upon my experience as an evangelist, entrepreneur, and most recently, as a venture capitalist who found, fixed, and funded startups.

The book is as relevant for two guys in a garage starting the next Google as social activists trying to save the world. GIST: cuts through the theoretical crap, theories and gets down to the real-world tactics of pitching, positioning, branding, recruiting, bootstrapping, and rainmaking.

Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics

Author: Paul Ormerod

Failure is a part of life, both in business and science, which is very much ignored in the business world, actually causing more failure. The book examines failure from three different aspects.

  1. a documentation of failure
  2. the subtle patterns found in the apparent disorder of failure
  3. the causes of failure

According to the author, understanding failure is more likely to lead to success than understanding success. Below is an excerpt that seems to sum up the author’s stance on failure.

“I am often asked by would-be entrepreneurs seeking escape from life within huge corporate structures, “How do I build a small firm for myself?” The answer seems obvious: “Buy a very large one and just wait.”

Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out

Author: Douglas Rushkoff

The first line of Get Back in the Box pretty much sums up the book. “There is no Next Big Thing. In fact, the more things seem to change, the better opportunity you have to stay the same.”

Rushkoff, who is a writer of ten-or-so bestsellers, explains throughout this book that the best way to innovate is to focus on your core competencies, create an innovation conducive work environment, and focus on your customers needs. Pretty straight-forward, but very insightful into the way to do this and full of all sorts of examples. Th interview by Kris Krug in the review snippets is great as well.

The Apple Way

Author: Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

More than just a history book, “The Apple Way” offers “12 Management Lessons From The World’s Most Innovative Company.” With topics ranging from the love/hate relationship with Mac User Groups to why Apple has an edge over Microsoft because they control the hardware AND the software of their products.

In all, this book addresses the history and business side of Apple and not so much the technology side. In it’s most basic reading, you learn the four rules.

  1. Make the customer king
  2. Make the product king
  3. Break the marketing mold
  4. Build the learning organization

And how Apple did them right…and wrong.

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

Author: John Battelle

Battelle introduces a term he calls “Database of Intentions, which is the sum total of all queries that pour into search engines daily, revealing the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of our culture.” It is obvious in the book that Battelle is more interested in search in an anthropological sense more than Google itself, though a lion’s share of the book is focused on Google.

blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

It is all about rapid cognition or thin-slicing. Malcolm Gladwell goes into how we as people have the innate and effective ability to rapidly take in what is around us and make sense of it, understand it, and take action on it without consciously thinking about it.

This book isn’t about intuition though, what Gladwell calls thin-slicing is a skill that can be examined, understood, learned and our innate ability to use it can even grow through continual effort.

Not directly a business book, but has all sorts of business applications.

A Clear Eye for Branding

Author: Tom Asacker

A Clear Eye for Branding focuses on debunking branding myths that permeate the business world. The author is a former strategic planner for GE, co-founder of a medical device company, and a well-know brand consultant and author.

The best description of the ideas in the book is an excerpt from the book itself.

“Behavioral economics have taught us that there is a lot more involved in a purchase decision than a simple price/benefit analysis… Feelings drive behavior… Your ultimate business or organizational advantage lies in discovering your audiences desired feeling. And then, once discovered, to get creative and develop consistently positive experiences so your audience can bring those expected feelings to life.”

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

Author: Thomas L. Friedman

The World is Flat examines the flattening, or connecting, of the world over the last few years since 9-11 and the dot com bust. Thomas L. Friedman, author of the New York Times “Foreign Affairs” column, explains how the world is now flat, or connected, through the disappearance of trade and political barriers and the increase in technological breakthroughs.

According to Friedman, Globalizations 3.0 (his term) is led by freelancers and entrepreneurs who effectively compete in the new climate created by these changes. A good resource for anyone wanting to learn about new economy globalization and how to take advantage of a flat world.