Books We’re Reading




Sometimes it’s still fun to turn pages.




TRUST AGENTS by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith – Two social media veterans show you how to tap into the power of social networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and, of course, profits. Today’s online influencers are web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships, using social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online (link to purchase book).




TRIBES by Seth Godin – Short on pages but long on repetition, this newest book by Godin argues that lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. Smart innovators find or assemble a movement of similarly minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message, often via the Internet (link to purchase book).




THE BRANDING GAP, ZAG, THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY by Marty Neumeier – “When everybody zigs, zag,” says Marty Neumeier in this fresh view of brand strategy. ZAG follows the ultra-clear “whiteboard overview” style of the author’s first book, THE BRAND GAP, but drills deeper into the question of how brands can harness the power of differentiation. The author argues that in an extremely cluttered marketplace, traditional differentiation is no longer enough—today companies need “radical differentiation” to create lasting value for their shareholders and customers (link to purchase book).



IGNORE EVERYBODY by Hugh MacLeod – When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter, living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog——and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures. MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person? (link to purchase book)



THE BACK OF THE NAPKIN by Dan Roam – We all dread business meetings with their mountains of documents and the endless bulleted power points. Roam cuts through all that to demonstrate how the use of simple drawings communicate infinitely better than those complex presentations. Having told us how to communicate with pictures, Roam rounds out his message by explaining that “We don’t show an insight-inspiring picture because it saves a thousand words; we show it because it elicits the thousand words that make the greatest difference.” (link to purchase book)




THE LAWS OF SIMPLICITY by John Maeda – In this breezy treatise, graphic designer and computer scientist Maeda proposes ten laws for simplifying complex systems in business and life-but mostly in product design. Maeda’s upbeat explanations usefully break down the power of less-fewer features, fewer buttons and fewer distractions-while providing practical strategies for harnessing that power, such as SHE: “Shrink, Hide, and Embody.” The first three laws, based on principles of reduction, organization and efficiency, form the foundation for increasingly complex and self-referential concepts like the importance of context and the potential for failure in simplification (by the end of the book, Maeda is chiding himself for using too many acronyms). (link to purchase book)

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