I have read some really important books this year that expanded my view of the World and gained valuable insight and I wanted share my top reads in 2009 with you and include links to either Amazon or to my reviews. Please feel free to recommmend any of your favorites that have a base in science and serve to expand our understanding of the sales and marketing sphere.
- Diffusion of Innovations, by Everett Rogers. The book that spawned a thousand books including Crossing the Chasm, Tipping Point and Why Killer Products don't Sell, - see review below. Compulsory reading for entrpreneurs, sellers and marketers of novel technology. Originally published in 1962, the 5th edition is published in 2003 and updated for the Internet. Interestingly Rogers in this update refutes the existence of a chasm between innovator, early adopter and early majority and states that it is a continuous variable with no sharp breaks. Start-ups that fail, typically have serious product positioning and marketing problems and fail to engage and sell early adopters.
- Why Killer Products Don't Sell, Ian Gotts, Dominic Rowsell. After reading his book I engaged and am partnered with Dominic Rowsell to include the insight from this work in my Sales and Marketing training courses. Critical insights for venture investors, entrepreneurs sales and marketing professionals on the IMPACT Cycle and how how people buy and a valuable contribution to the growing body of sales knowledge. A short read, but one you will find yourself marking up and revisiting. See my review.
- Talent is Overrated, by Geoffrey Colvin. For sales managers trainers and anyone involved in coaching or training, this is an important book. Citing a lot of work done by Prof. Anders Ericsson on the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. It takes 10,000 hours or 10 years deliberate practice (out of your comfort zone, getting feedback from expert coaches) to become outstanding at anything. Anyone can be great, if they are prepared to put in the hours. Most people are not and this is explains why sales people get to a certain level of performance and never improve beyond it. See my review in Sales Talent is Overrated
- The Nature of Technology, by W. Brian Arthur. I have been in the technology business since I left school nearly 40 years ago. That was an exciting time with the birth of the 7400 TTL series integrated circuits and having witnessed first hand the hundreds of thousands of technology platforms and products that have built on the Integrated Circuit. Arthur coins a new phrase to describe the advances in technology as "combinatorial evolution"; whereas in nature, evolution is biological and subject to the Darwinian laws of natural selection, technology evolves as a result of combinations of existing technologies and methods to create new innovations, the critical ingredient in the process is human knowledge and ingenuity. Good background for anyone in the business of innovation. See my review of The Nature of Technology
- Inbound Marketing, by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan. We have been HubSpot customers for the past 12 months and HubSpot partners for the past 4 months. This is a "how-to" for anyone interested in Inbound Marketing from the people who coined the phrase and are building a very exciting company at HubSpot. By planning to implement all of the ideas in this book in 2010, you will capitalize on a phenomena that is rapidly changing the marketing World. Simple straight forward ideas, well presented with numerous real-World examples. See my review of Inbound Marketing
- Plan B 4.0, Lester Brown.
A little off the technology topic, but very important. If you don't read anything else this year, you must read this book. This book is about saving the planet and our civilization and addresses the major problems facing our generation, our children and generations to come; desertification, poverty, climate change, over-population, food and water. Brown has harnessed some of the best and brightest minds in thew World to pull together viable solutions to our problems. Read this book and get involved in the movement.