Six New Business Books For 2010

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The face of reading took a dramatic turn during this holiday season, and we’re not just talking about those of us who have seen the stack of books next to our nightstand continue to rise as the gifts flow in.

The news is much bigger than any one of us. Amazon announced that their e-reader, Kindle, became the most gifted item in Amazon’s history. On top of that, sales of digital books for the Kindle actually outsold those of physical books on Amazon this past Christmas Day (since writing this article and it being published, many are questioning this statistic because some of those books were free. More on that here: eBooks Outsell Print Books And Free eBooks Are Biggest Bestsellers). The landscape of publishing and reading continues to change and evolve.

Did Santa stuff your stockings with way too many extra copies of Malcolm Gladwell‘s What The Dog Saw or Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner‘s Superfreakonomics? Did your loved ones pay heed to my last column and get you an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle or the Sony Reader? Or, was it too many gift cards from your favorite book store? Now what? Not sure what to do?

There are some amazing new business books on the horizon that are well-worth checking out. All of them offer a new way to look at life as business around us continues to move towards that digital cloud we call the Internet, and as more and businesses continue to grapple with the digitization of industry. Even our definition of "success" continues to evolve (check out Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers for more on that). Following are six brand new business book titles that will have a huge impact in 2010. These books will help shape your present and future business. Along with that, will come the evolution of your work as well (you might as well get prepared now).

Here six new business books to watch for in 2010 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink (out this week). Pink dissects and validates the power of real motivation. Drive puts science-based thought behind the actual emotion of what gets people to do things (and what compels them to keep at it). Pink is a best-selling author (A Whole New Mind, Free Agent Nation, and the first American business book in manga called, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko) and journalist (for the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Wired) who also served as chief speechwriter to former U.S. vice-president Al Gore from 1995 to 1997. He’s one of the more radical new business thinkers who backs up his theories with actual science and business reason.
  2. Flip The Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe (to be released Feb. 8). Best-selling author of Life After The 30-Second Spot and Join The Conversation, Jaffe returns with his young, fresh and lucid thoughts about how business is going to rebound in this post-recession era. According to Jaffe, we’ve spent too much time on the awareness side of the funnel with mass media advertising, and now is the perfect time to flip the funnel and focus on what really matters: loyalty, word of mouth and customer experience. With humor, real case stories and tactical take-aways, Jaffe’s book is a sure bet, and one not to miss.
  3. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin (to be released Jan. 26). Godin is a master author (and a personal favorite). Taking business books to artistic levels with clever concepts and easy-to-read anecdotes, Linchpin is for people what his best-selling book, Purple Cow, was to brands (it’s about being remarkable). Being a cog in the wheel is no longer an option, and Godin helps people realize their full potential with this career management and personal branding manifesto. Tons of great stories and thoughts about why the work we do has changed so much in the past few decades, and how individuals need to position themselves as being indispensable at the office.
  4. The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence by Tom Peters (to be released March 19). There is no bigger name in the business book world than Tom Peters (he’s up there with Peter Drucker and Henry Mintzberg). His book, In Search Of Excellence (1982) is still one of the best-selling business books of all time and his last book, Re- Imagine (2003), was as visually stunning as it was intellectually stimulating. Peters is promising to break the mold again with The Little Big Things. This book is being described as a "guidebook on how to excel at the people side of business and a reminder to ‘never forget why you’re here.’ "
  5. Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations by Garr Reynolds (out this week). In his first book, Presentation Zen, Reynolds helped changed the landscape of bad PowerPoint and boring presentations (Who among us has not had our share of snoozes through a bunch of those?) In his sophomore effort, Presentation Zen Design, Reynolds brings the design of business presentation down to a language the most intense left-brained thinkers can understand and implement. Don’t let bad PowerPoint happen to you. If you give business presentations, you need to get Presentation Zen Design right now.
  6. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath (to be released Feb. 16). If you have not read the Heath brother’s debut book, Made To Stick, drop everything, buy it now and read it right away (yes, it’s that good). Switch is their sophomore effort that explores the basic business question that plagues us all: "Why is change so hard?" Looking at real-life examples of regular people who made little changes with massive results, Switch will attempt to prove that change can indeed be planned by highlighting the consistent patterns of those who have changed with dramatic success (also worth checking out is their monthly column in Fast Company magazine).

Good luck in 2010 . . . . It sounds like we’re all going to need it, so why not get these books and stack those odds more in your favor?

Any other business books that you’re looking forward to reading in 2010?

The above posting is my twice-monthly column for the Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun newspapers called, New Business – Six Pixels of Separation. I cross-post the article here with all the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:

Vancouver Sun – Six new business books for 2010.

Montreal Gazette – Fresh perspectives on the business world, on paper or for your new e-reader


  1. Hey Mitch,
    Love this list. Drive is also a #1 on my reading list this new year.
    Also, looking forward to Linchpin and especially looking forward to maybe seeing you and Seth speak at a possible future marketing event in Toronto 🙂
    Happy New Year Mitch,
    Alex “Reading” Ikonn

  2. Perfect timing, I’ve actually gotten rid of cable altogether and have just found my substitute, thanks mitch!….seth and peters are high on my list once I start working again…
    New book for 2010….’V for Vacation’, I made that up just a reminder to us all ! ! !
    Best of luck to all in 2010 looks like its going to be a banner year.

  3. Mitch
    Great list! Just updated my old sony reader – and got some new titles. Drive will be a good one to start the year with. Flip the Funnel will be a good one too, I am sure.
    and HappyNew year

  4. Thanks for this list. I’ve ordered (or pre-ordered) all of them. I’m particularly stoked about the new Seth Godin and Tom Peters.
    What Tom Peters wrote back in the late 90s about “Brand You” really transformed my way of thinking. Can’t wait to see his new book this spring.

  5. I’m reading Drive right now; it’s great. I’m really looking forward to The Little Big Things and Switch.
    My reading list just keeps getting bigger!

  6. Heard many good things about “Flip,” and am looking forward to reading that. (I’m a physical book reader, by the way, not an ereader. I will say, though, that the couple of people I know who have a Kindle really like them. Just too expensive right now!)
    Here’s a good one on access to capital and how emerging growth- and middle-market companies can finance growth, especially in these tight financial time: “The Handbook of Financing Growth,” by Kenneth H. Marks. It’s a guide that outlines the full range of funding alternatives currently available, written in a style executives can relate to.

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