Going back to school is not just for kids

Learn_blog (1)There is just something about the end of August. Perhaps it is the sight of the aisle after aisle of back to school supplies that every retailer seems to have, perhaps it is the reemergence of yellow school buses on the roads, perhaps it is the daily departure from the house (THANK YOU WORLD) of my own two school aged children but the end of August means back to work and back to learning. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to discuss books that I have read in the past year that have made an impression on me and changed the way I do business.

  1. Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – This is a spectacular book that describes the science behind how habits are formed. Duhigg investigates personal habits (did you know that the fresh taste toothpaste leaves in your mouth is not necessary to clean teeth but is a tool to help create a habit?), organizational habits, and societal habits. While the book touches on how to change personal habits, the real strength of the book is in learning how to think of your own product in the context of habits. How can you create a habit around what you offer?
  2. Jib, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk – As only a sometimes social media participant I feel a bit disingenuous in talking about how a social media book changed the way I do business but I will go for it anyway. What this book does brilliantly is break down how different messages translate to different social media sites. It is easy (too easy) to cross promote the same story on multiple sites using social media tools such as Buffer or HootSuite. This book shows you why that is a mistake and how you can package your message to match each site.
  3. Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion by Nathalie Nahai – I ran across this book as I was creating my Websites that Perform program. What a treat it was to read real scientific findings about how people view websites and how color, gender, and nation of origin can influence what they see! I go back to this book often to refresh myself on a concept Nahai introduced.
  4. Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner – I have been a bit of a Freakonomics geek since Levitt and Dubner introduced their first book. (It strikes me regularly that if I hadn’t been a web strategist, I would have been an economist.) While I think this third book is weaker than the first two (seriously, if you haven’t read Freakonomics yet, GO BUY IT NOW) I still think it is well worth the read.

What about you?  What have you read in the past year that has changed the way you see or more importantly, do, things?