2014 Version: Must Read Business Books in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship | Social Media ReInvention

2014 Version: Must Read Business Books in Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship | Social Media ReInvention

Photo Credit: Abee5

I love reading books. They’re my secret weapon for accessing critical thinking. Here’s a short listing of my favorite books / authors who inspired me and exhausted my Kindle in 2014 (by the author’s last name in alphabetical order). Note: Some of these titles are pre-2014.

Mitch Joel described Seth Godin’s 18th book as the most beautiful illustration of Seth’s teachings. You can’t buy Seth’s latest book on Amazon (or any mainstream book retailer). You can only buy it at http://www.yourturn.link/. Beautiful, glossy images explode with color on every page. If I were a Hollywood producer, I’d pitch it as Linchpin and The Icarus Deception collide in a 20-car pile up at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.

Seth calls out our schadenreude, spectator sport culture, and it’s power in curbing intelligent risk taking (except in Silicon Valley). When It’s Your Turn is an in-your-face, call-to-arms, entrepreneurship manifesto. The battle cry rallies around showing up everyday, to create and ship our art. Now’s the time to revel in that uncomfortable place of “this may or may not work.”

I’m moving into a new career as an entrepreneur in an early stage startup, That’s a scary leap after corporate life. But, those simultaneous feelings and fear are the right place to be:

I’m late in reading this classic marketing book. I hope to meet Seth, shake his hand, and talk marketing strategy. That requires fluency in Ideavirus terminology (i.e., sneezers – both promiscuous and powerful, the hive, persistence — not the one related to effort, vector, vacuum, amplifier, smoothness, etc.).

Ideavirus parallels Malcolm Gladwell’s idea diffusion theories from The Tipping Point and Geoffrey Moore’s insights from Crossing the Chasm. Like the Beatles music catalog, Ideavirus remains simple, timeless, and relevant.

Technical prowess and technical insight aren’t enough. Creative storytelling and written communication carry equal weight (direct quote from Everybody Writes, page eight):

What’s harder is to find a book that functions for marketers as part writing and story guide, part instructional manual on the ground rules of ethical publishing, and part straight talk on some muscle-building writing processes and habits.

What’s also hard to find is a book that distills some helpful ideas about the craft of content simply and (I hope) memorably, framed for the marketer and businessperson, as opposed to say, the novelist or essayist or journalist.

I wrote this book because I couldn’t find what I wanted—part writing guide, part handbook on the rules of good sportsmanship in content marketing, and all-around reliable desk companion for anyone creating or directing content on behalf of brands.

Everybody Writes teaches disciplined practice to elevate and sustain our writing skills. Ann’s book reads like cozy conversation with her while enjoying a great cup of coffee or a couple of frosty Sam Adams beers (keep in mind, she’s a Bostonian).

Ann poured her heart and soul into this work (or as she says “gave birth to a Volkswagen”). I guarantee you’ll benefit from her knowledge, talent, and heart.

2. Platform by Michael Hyatt

If Tribes is the strategic and conceptual framework for digital leadership, Platform is the tactical roadmap for its successful execution. Creating and managing a personal brand is imperative in a crowded marketplace and recovering economy. Michael’s book unpacks the why’s and how’s of building a digital platform — i.e., the collective fans who subscribe to and follow your blog, email newsletter, podcast, Twitter feed, etc.

He explains step-by-step how he built his influential online presence and to power his career as a publisher, educator, and public speaker.

Read this Wall Street Journal article by Taylor Swift (yes, that Taylor Swift). Her anecdote about an actress friend losing a movie role to another actor with a higher Twitter following extends beyond the entertainment industry.  It’s the heart of Michael’s book: the reach and influence of our digital platforms (or lack thereof) either rockets (or torpedoes) opportunity.

Art takes many forms (e.g., words, pictures, spreadsheets, presentations, sculptures, music, photographs, process diagrams, or anything we create with pride). These remarkable books capture Austin Kleon‘s philosophies and experiences on creating and promoting art. These fun, short reads answer two common questions among artists, writers, entrepreneurs, or marketers:

Austin’s writing and storytelling teach “how to get out of your own way.” Yes, creativity and innovation are messy. They’re hard and time-consuming. Manage those frustrations / fears so you focus on creating and shipping. Struggle produces. Struggle inspires. Steal. Show. Repeat.

David Meerman Scott influences my thoughts and writing about reinventing marketing strategy every day. I fell in love with digital marketing and inbound marketing strategy after reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR five years ago. I own all of his marketing strategy books, and envy his ability to write with a rebel’s heart.

Inc. Magazine selected How to Be a Power Connector as the Number 1 Business Book of 2014. I’m twenty percent through it, and I’m convinced Judy’s book and Seth Godin’s What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn) will prove indispensable in my new career as an entrepreneur.

I usually don’t publish reviews until I’ve finished reading the book. I made an exception with How to Be a Power Connector. Judy’s 25 years of wisdom and experiences are that important. I’ve arrived at the sobering realization my networking skills are deficient. I’ve done some things well. But, I lack consistency in adding value to my business network as well as strategically assessing, prioritizing, and systematizing it.

Thank goodness that’s exactly what Judy teaches! Her book will change my life. Invest in yourself by buying and studying How to Be a Power Connector. It will change your life too.

That courage to ask and act upon, “why does it have to be this way,” drove not only Thiel’s entrepreneurial successes, but also the successful ventures of Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, Max Levchin, and other PayPal Mafia members.

Traction delivers a clear, how-to method supported by real-world, actionable insights. Gabriel‘s and Justin‘s interviews and case studies describe the successful execution of Traction’s Bulls Eye Methodology. Bulls Eye focuses on the second most important aspect of an early stage startup’s life cycle:

I’ve ultra-summarized the book’s thesis. Read the first three chapters of Traction for free by joining the Traction Book mailing list. If you’re a team member of an early stage startup (like myself), invest in your company’s development by studying Gabriel and Justin’s book.

Your Turn

Please share in the comments the digital marketing and entrepreneurship business books you read in 2014. What did you love about them? How did they inspire you?

I’m here to learn from YOUR PERSPECTIVE.   Comments are open. Let’er rip!

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Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist.  He thinks and writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy in his personal blog, Social Media ReInventionFollow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.

This content was originally published here.

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