Discover more from The Brain Itch
The strategic professional's ultimate reading list
From economics and business, to mindset and leadership
Happy July, dear readers! We’re a hop, skip and dip away from summer vacation. And with that, some much needed spare time to just be – without an all-too-tight schedule.
I’ve spent the last few weeks on an intrinsic exploration and evaluation. It’s led me to reflect on my career path so far, my journey of learning and professional fulfillment, and the organizations and people I’ve worked with. I revisited old notes and learnings (yes, I actually jot those down).
Every now and then, it’s good to take a major bird’s eye view on your life and examine how your goals have shifted, changed or intensified in some regard.
I also spent a considerable amount of time re-reading and re-discovering books that have helped to expand my horizons. I am quite a curious and avid reader, so the list is quite considerable. And there are constantly new books on my reading pile.
But with so much selection out there, more new publications than anyone has the time to read, how to choose what’s really worth the read – and the buck? I commiserate, and I’ve had my share of disappointing reads.
So I thought, why not share my favorites, the ones that I return to, the ones that make it into my permanent library. (Fyi: I donate or sell books I’ve read but that don’t make the cut as Permanent Library Residents.) Below you’ll find my ultimate reading list, to refresh, inform, or expand your mental power house.
And I leave you with a question: What book last tickled your neurons, made you wonder, gave you insights? Share with me, I’d love to add it to my list.
Brand and marketing refreshers
The Brand Flip, Marty Neumeier
The crude fundamental brand playbook for the 21st century.
This is Marketing, Seth Godin
It’s all in the title: An introduction but good condensed read.
X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, Brian Solis
Although a decade old, if you can get your hands on this book, read it. Brand experience dissected through the lens of Disney and co. Use it to create a fundamental experience understanding.
Business knowledge and professional upskilling
So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport
A mindsetshifter in favor of finding your true skills versus turning your passion into a career.
The Personal MBA, Josh Kaufman
A dense but comprehensive introductory read to the many facets of business. Good for both solopreneurs and professionals, in my opinion.
Leading and managing business
The Messy Middle, Scott Belsky
On building and growing a venture, with all its nuts and bolts and pitfalls, from the founder of Behance himself. Dense, but something I go back to quite often, actually.
Quantum Leadership, Frederick Chavalit Tsao and Chris Laszlo
Advanced read that evolves traditional management teachings.
Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek.
Although his Why book is not on this list (personally, I am not a huge fan of it), this one is a good reminder that leadership is not directing, but guiding, fostering and protecting.
The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle
On building highly successful groups, teams and companies, with anecdotes from Pixar to U.S. Navy Seals.
On solopreneurship and going out on your own
Company of One, Paul Jarvis
Why staying small is good in many cases.
The Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns
Making the difficult decisions about winning new business, and in many ways a pick-me-up if you’ve alreeady decided to not pitch for free.
The Business of Expertise, David C. Baker
A case in favor of specialization, but shouldn’t be viewed as the bible to business, in my opinion. View it as an add-on.
Do The Work, Steven Pressfield
About winning the fight against Resistance and finding your inner mojo.
Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield
Turning your amateur habits into professional practices. A motivational read, but also quite practical.
Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday.
Great for anyone, really. And a good reminder that you are the only person standing in your way.
Essentialism, Greg Mckown
The practice of focusing on the right things, not everything. I’m an avid believer in this, how about you?
Digital Body Language, Erica Dhawan
Valuable insights into how digital communication with others is trickier than real life relationships in many cases.
A World Without Email, Cal Newport
Reimagining how we communicate at work (without email).
Range, David Epstein
In favor of generalists, with numerous examples and metaphors from the sports industry. Read it, it’s really good.
Talk Like TED, Carmine Gallo
It’s in the title. Also a very good read.
The Courage To Be Disliked, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga
Smooth story with hidden gems. Read it twice.
Big picture reads
How Everything Can Collapse, Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens
Volatility in today’s economy and the interdependency of everything. And not as apocalyptic as it sounds. I devoured it in a weekend.
The Future of Money, Eswar S. Prasad
On how the digital revolution is transforming currencies and finance. Dense read, bring time and patience.
Blockchain Revolution, Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
What is blockchain and its implications for non-tech pros. View this book as an informed door-opener into the blockchain subject.
The Signals are Talking, Amy Webb
Read for a better understanding of trends and how they affect or can affect business.
Best of economics and world view
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel E. Kahneman
Understanding how our brains dictate our behavior.
Factfulness, Hans Rosling
On bias, numbers and context.
Misbehaving, Richart H. Thaler
A thorough introduction into behavioral economics, sprinkled with real-life anecdotes and context.
Narrative Economics, Robert J. Shiller
On how stories go viral and drive economic events.
READY TO SERVICE
A little reminder that just because you’re on a well-deserved summer break, doesn’t mean your projects need to wait for you to get back. If you’ve got a project or idea that needs to keep its momentum, a strategist that understands how to execute projects may be just what you need.
I have openings for the months of August and September to provide strategic direction, project facilitation, and seamlessly integrate and guide your team while you or one of your team members are away. Get in touch, availabilities usually fill up quickly (she humbly said…).