6 New Business Books Worthy Of Your Time And Attention

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There is a whole new stack of new business books that require your attention. Here are just 6 that I’m about to devour.

  1. Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky. I only have about ten pages left in this book, and it’s just as good and thought-provoking as Shirky’s debut, Here Comes Everybody. It’s sharp, pointed and looks at the Internet (and yes, Social Media) in a highly intellectual and practical way.
  2. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. It’s hard to believe that I get to have my book, Six Pixels of Separation, on the same publisher as Tony Hsieh. Tony is the person behind the super-success that is Zappos. Who would have thought that selling shoes online would lead to being bought by Amazon for close to one billion dollars? Who would have believed that it’s also their customer service philosophy that took them there? I can imagine this book being as valuable to the CEO as it is to the janitor in a company.
  3. Drive by Dan Pink. From A Whole New Mind to Free Agent Nation, I have never not loved the writings of Dan Pink. In Drive, Pink takes on what motivates people and – by the looks of the summary – it’s not just the almighty dollar. Not by a long shot.
  4. Power Friending by Amber MacArthur. I’d consider Amber MacArthur a power friend, so finding out that she was going to write her own take on what it takes to be successful online got me all excited. I’ve actually recorded an in-depth audio conversation with Amber that will show up as an upcoming episode of the Six Pixels of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast, so watch for that while reading her first business book.
  5. The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. Carr takes a different look at what the Internet is doing to culture and our society. The embers of this book were lit In his highly-controversial article, Does Google Make Us Stupid (The Atlantic July/August 2008). I was a huge fan of The Big Switch, so I am super-curious to see where Carr goes in his latest book.
  6. The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. I love Dan Ariely. Not just because he made the intro to my literary agent for me, but because his first book, Predictably Irrational, really made me rethink marketing business models and how pricing can work once you understand human nature just a little bit better. You don’t have to be into behavioral economics to appreciate Ariely, and The Upside of Irrationality looks as exciting as his #1 best-selling debut.

What brand-new and thought-provoking book are you looking forward to diving into?


  1. I’ve got a few of these sitting on my shelf (or my Amazon wishlist), waiting to be read, but lately, I’ve been going back through books that seem to have stood the test of time (or the test of a decade or so at least). Re-reading books like Unleashing the Ideavirus and Groundswell has helped to remind me of things I’ve forgotten and also introduce me to things I missed the first time around. That has really kickstarted my out-of-the-box thinking recently.
    Mitch, do you have a book or two that you feel is/are continually valuable or applicable?

  2. Although now new, I have a few books on the go currently:
    Just finished BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell, this is an excellent books about thought, and what happens in those first seconds when we meet someone or are in a situation
    Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe, I have enjoyed reading Joseph’s blog for a long time now, and have been looking forward to this book since it’s launch – Plus it’s just a great idea
    Switch by Dan and Chip Heath is also sitting waiting to be read. I had a great time listening to Chip speak, and am certain his book will be just as good
    The Element by Sir Ken Robinson, having watch Sir Ken both in person and on TED, his book is a must read…and so are his TED Talks
    Thanks for sharing Mitch, I’ll be adding those books to my collection once a few of the above mentioned books are done.

  3. Hi Eric,
    Thought I would jump into your question (although I know I’m not Mitch Joel)
    A couple of books that I have read (or listen) a number of times would be:
    Seth Godin: Tribes, and Linchpin
    Gary Vaynerchuk: Crush It
    Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point, and now BLINK

  4. Mitch,
    Delivering Happiness is fantastic. Power Friending very practical. Drive is definitely a great “thinking book.”
    What are some of your other favorites that have come out recently?

  5. EXPLOITING CHAOS by Jeremy Gutsche is another great book about how to stimulate creativity, identify opportunity, and communicate with infection.
    I am currently reading Drive by Dan Pink, and Dan Ariely was recently in Seattle speaking about his new book-The Upside of Irrationality. He is a fascinating, smart and funny guy.
    And Mitch-I just this week, spoke to Seattle University’s MBA students and recommended your Six Pixels of Separation!

  6. Other new ones include:
    – The Age of Persuasion by Terry O’Reilly
    – Business Model Generation by a whole bunch of contributors
    – Open Leadership by Charlene Li
    – Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
    – Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik
    …and I am sure there are others that I am forgetting 😉

  7. i am reading The Shallows after first hearing about it on media hacks. it is one of the best books i’ve ever read.
    next up on my list is Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky.
    i liked ReWork and The Zen of Social Media Marketing too.

  8. Great list, Mitch. I don’t have an an addition, but may I offer a suggestion? Since you’re currently reading “Cognitive Surplus,” consider reading “The Shallows” next. I’m now reading them back-to-back and the contrast between such pessimism (Carr) and optimism (Shirky) about the impact of the web has made the whole reading experience greater than the sum of its parts. How neat would it be to sit down for a beer with both of those guys?

  9. Looks like some good reads for vacation coming up. Mitch, it also looks like you are responding more to your comments like you said in your podcast. Where did the “bumper/intro” music come from?
    I enjoy all you do Mitch!

  10. I am trying to do more commenting… not always easy and we’ll see how it goes. Just always know that I am reading, following and listening to EVERYTHING being posted here, there and anywhere that I am connected to. I really do appreciate all of the additional content and resources.
    The bumper/intro music was written, produced and recorded by one of my business partners here at Twist Image. He’s not only one of the best Executive Creative Directors I know, but a great musician/talent.

  11. Hi Mitch
    I’m currently reading Seth Godin’s ‘Linchpin’, and although I thought it started off slowly, I am now hooked and I think it’s very inspirational. Once I finish it I think I’ll probably go back and re-read the first few chapters as it all ties together.
    At the same time I’m also working through Tamar Weinberg’s ‘The New Community Rules’. Tamar really knows her stuff and I am using this book (as well as ‘Six Pixels of Separation’!) to form the basis of a social media plan I am putting together for my organisation.
    Although not a book, I also thought I’d mention I listen to a podcast called ‘Internet Marketing’ by sitevisibility.com. Like ‘Six Pixels of Separation’, it’s a podcast that features interviews as well as some really good advice on a range of internet marketing subjects.

  12. I’m really looking forward to reading The Culture Code- Clotaire Rapaille (2007). I am currently reading Re-imagine- Tom Peters (2003), finding it overwhelming and inspiring. I’m also in the midst of reading Learned Optimism- Martin E. Seligman (2006), proving to be a fantastic perspective on human patterns of behavior and the so called “learned helplessness” phenomenon.
    Thanks for the suggestions! Your endorsements have proven to be very reliable. You’ve become my go-to source when I find myself looking for expertise or mentorship. I look forward to reading the above mentioned titles.

  13. I didn’t have the new Carr book. His last was one of the best recent books for giving me a new paradigm that I put it on the Kindle immediately.
    Along those lines, you’ll want to read “You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto” by Jason Lanier. I didn’t agree with some of it, but respect the thinking behind it.

  14. Hi Mitch,
    I just finished Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. It’s not the newest book out there but it was an awesome read about teamwork.
    Next on tap is Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check.
    I also read a lot of self-improvement books to see situations from different perspectives.
    My goal is to find 30 min. each day to read for the rest of the summer & hopefully decrease my “to read” pile about 15 books high.

  15. My list is much like yours. Sadly, my list continues to grow, but my time does not.
    I’m finishing Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. It’s not so much a business book, but I suspect every business minded person could find something of value in it.
    I’m also finding the book by the Brafman boys interesting, Click: The Magic of Instant Connections.

  16. I’m liking “Business Model Generation”, “Unfolding the Napkin” & “Change by Design”. It’s where business, innovation, & true problem solving are going.

  17. Great list Mitch. I just finished Delivering Happiness myself. With Tony’s passion and commitment to always exceed his customers expectations it would have been more of a surprise if Zappos had not been bought by Amazon.
    Now I am reading Made to Stick by the Heath brothers as well as Drive. While I am just getting into them I recommend them both. The big problem as others have said is “So many books, such little time”.

  18. If I recall correctly, you talked about commenting more on your blog recently on the podcast with Avinash, right? If this is any indication, it looks like you’re accomplishing that. Good on you, Mitch.

  19. I’m trying to be selective on the biz books I read because I’m still recovering from information/research addiction. 😉
    Linchpin is something I would love to read. I still haven’t read a full book by Mr Godin, but I think this would be a good start.
    Flip the funnel sounds like a cool book. I’m just starting to implement a funnel, but now I’m supposed to flip it?
    Thanks for the great list and the other suggestions from commenters!

  20. I’m trying to be selective on the biz books I read because I’m still recovering from information/research addiction. 😉
    Linchpin is something I would love to read. I still haven’t read a full book by Mr Godin, but I think this would be a good start.
    Flip the funnel sounds like a cool book. I’m just starting to implement a funnel, but now I’m supposed to flip it?
    Thanks for the great list and the other suggestions from commenters!

  21. funny i also thought Linchpin started off slowly! it was actually agitating me a bit but so worth pushing through it.

  22. Clay Shirky and Dan Ariely’s new books are both top of my list.
    Also really looking forward to reading Tony Hsieh’s too.

  23. Thanks SO much for including Sir Ken Robinson in your comment! I’d never heard of him before, and just finished watching his 2006 and 2010 TED speeches based on your recommendation. He’s hilarious, awesome and kicks ass! His book, The Element, is definitely now on my reading list.

  24. lanier’s book is kind of a mess imo. he’s well respected but the thesis is far from clear, and it’s quite verbose by the same token. nonetheless he has some great ideas. the shallows makes a far more compelling case except it’s mostly about literature, whereas lanier touches on more media like even music.

  25. I read Seth Godin’s Tribes. I strongly recommend it.
    Recently I have picked up The 4-Hour Work Week from Tim Ferriss. So far, I am enjoying it completely.
    I also liked Outliers from Malcolm Gladwell. Just like his other books, he has great examples and stories in it.
    I am listening to Yes! in my commute time. This has nice collection of quick hits and nuggets distilled from Cialdini’s work and case studies. It is from Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini. Very simple points well developed with good examples and connection to psychological concepts.
    Nice thread Mitch. I got to learn about so many books here.

  26. Am I missing something? I do not see Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, available in Kindle format?? That cannot be right, given they are owned by Amazon. Somebody please help me out here?

  27. I’m going to ask my publisher what is going on, as I know it’s out in the U.S. in Kindle format. Tony and I share the same publisher. It has nothing to do with Zappos being a part of Amazon, and has everything to do with how his/our publisher has set-up their distribution deal with Amazon.

  28. Completed Delivering Happiness earlier this month, it caused some great reflection and soul searching for what happiness might be for me and my businesses. Then, I returned to your book Mitch, SPOS and was blown away by its relevance, again! I’m casually reading Fascinate by Sally Hogshead and getting some great alternative thinking from it as well. Now, today, I’ve just begun listening to Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus, a very different read for me, but I’m liking the change in style.
    Mitch, thanks for sharing and allowing all of us to share as always.

  29. Solid list, Mitch. I just went ahead and ordered the Ariely and Shirky books.
    Another relatively recent one that hasn’t gotten much play is The Chaos Scenario by Bob Garfield (On the Media co-host and former AdAge columnist). He charts the decline of mass media and advertising and the ascent of “Listenomics,” the practice of actually listening to and learning from customers. The book has the rare distinction of not only being well-researched and informed, but also very well-written. That Garfield sure knows how to turn a phrase!

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