There are many “Top 10″ lists available and they all differ to some extent. What annoys me to a certain extent is just because a book is a top seller doesn’t mean that it was the most informatative or contained the most useful or entertaining ideas. It just means that more people bought a book, not that they even read it.
That said…Here is my list of my favorite business reads for 2011. Some I have reviewed already in detail on this site, some are still to come.
The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry. “If you want to deliver the right idea at the right moment, you must begin the process far upstream from when you need that idea. You need to build practices into your life that will help you focus your creative energy.”
Best Practices Are Stupid by Stephen Shapiro. “Innovation is not about new products, new processes, new services or even new business models. It is about adaptability. When the pace of change outside of your organization is faster than the pace of change within, you will be out of business. That’s why adopting best practices willy-nilly is stupid. You’ll always be slower. But if you learn to ask the right questions, in the right way, of the right people, you’ll accelerate your innovation efforts.”
Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki. “Enchantment is the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization or idea. The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial. The greater your goals, the more you’ll need to change people’s hearts, minds, and actions. If you need to enchant people, you’re doing something meaningful. If you’re doing something meaningful, you need enchantment.”
Evil Plans by Hugh MacLeod. “Everybody needs an evil plan. Everybody needs that crazy, out-there idea that allows them to actually start doing something they love, doing something that matters. Everybody needs an evil plan that gets them the hell out of the rat race, away from lousy bosses, away from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate. Life is short.”
Higher Unlearning by Jack Uldrich. “What you do know is more likely kill you than what you don’t know, Playing it safe is the riskiest thing you can do, Imperfection trumps perfection, You must bite the hand that feeds you, Failure is the key to success, Following the money can cause you to lose money, Zoning out is preferable to zoning in, Ignorance lies at the heart of wisdom.”
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. “Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference, that they don’t care about the idea, the startup fails.”
Practically Radical by William Taylor. “In an era of hyper-competition and nonstop dislocation, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special. Today, the most successful organizations don’t just out-compete their rivals. They redefine the terms of competition by embracing one-of-a-kind ideas in a world filled with me-too thinking.”
The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. “The secret to unleashing the creative potential of people is to enable them to experience a great inner work life, and the single most powerful influence on that inner work life is progress in meaningful work. It starts with giving people something meaningful to accomplish. It requires giving clear goals, autonomy, help and resources—what people need to make real progress in their daily work. And it depends on showing respect for ideas and the people who create them.”
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. “At a time when the United States is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build creative digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness, imagination and sustained innovation. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology, so he built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.”
Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields. “If you kill the butterflies in your stomach, you’ll kill the dream. Most people back away when they get that nervous, uncomfortable feeling. But that feeling signals you’re doing something that matters to you. Embrace the feeling. Lean into the discomfort. Try to understand what the feeling is telling you. Train yourself in the alchemy of fear.”