Books. From the time we’re babies, they surround us, with their bright pictures, big words and thick cardboard pages to chew on.
Who doesn’t love a good book?
What lines your bookshelf will no doubt change and evolve throughout your life, but there will always be titles that withstand the test of time (and teething). If you were to have a look at my bookshelf, you would see a fairly eclectic collection of books. After all, I’m a marketer, a (former) graphic designer and a forever print enthusiast. I’m also a mom, fitness and health buff and lover of sci-fi, vampire, wizarding and trashy romance novels.
But which books have helped me evolve, grow, and succeed in my career? Which books do I reference, and recommend, over and over again? Which books do I read when I want to think smarter? From Pocket Pal to Purple Cow, here’s what’s on my bookshelf:
Eats, Shoots & Leaves – The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation: I once had a manager who was a staunch editor. The first time I wrote a newsletter, the edits it came back with made it look like a murder scene. He then recommended Eats, Shoots & Leaves and my appreciation for punctuation was forever changed. Author: Lynne Truss
Don’t Make Me Think – A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability: I have been very fortunate in my career to have participated in the evolution of the internet and the launch of numerous websites. Despite the changes over the years, the principals covered in this book are a must-read for anyone responsible for website usability. Author: Steve Krug
Pocket Pal – A Graphic Arts Production Handbook: Yup. I got this one which I was studying Graphic Design in the 80s. I gave a copy to my son, who is currently studying Graphic Design. It is a must-have resource for anyone in this industry. Published by International Papers
A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge: This one is relatively new (2014) and has quickly become a go-to resource for anyone in the conception, design, implementation, production and delivery of multi-channel client, member and customer communications. Author: Xplor International
Designing with Type: Have you ever wondered what the five classic typefaces are? Curious about the origins of the alphabet? How to identify fonts based on specific characteristics? This one’s for you. Author: James Craig
Designing for Print: This must-have design and print resource should be a part of every print, marketing, graphic design, design and communications curriculum. Author: Marina Poropat Joyce
The Radical Sales Shift – 20 Lessons from 20 Leaders on how to use Marketing to Grow Sales in B2B Companies: OK. I may be a bit biased on this one since I’m one of the leaders interviewed in this book. But it really is great, insightful resource if you’re in the B2B space. And it’s an easy read too. Author: Lisa Shepherd
Crossing the Chasm – Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers: So this may not apply to everyone in the print industry. But if you sell software and/or technology-based solutions…well now we’re talking. This book is the bible for bringing cutting-edge products to larger markets. Author: Geoffrey A. Moore. I also recommend the follow-up book, Inside the Tornado.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: In my opinion, David Meerman Scott is a brilliant online and content marketing strategist whose ideas set the stage for practical PR in the age of Twitter. Author: David Meerman Scott.
The PR Style Guide – Formats for Public Relations Practice: Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re responsible for crafting press releases, particularly for public companies, this reference guide is a must. Author: Barbara Diggs Brown. There’s even a Canadian version: The Canadian Press Stylebook – A Guide for Writers and Editors
Anything by Seth Godin: Seth writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Seth speak a few years back. He knows how to get you thinking. If you only read one of his books, make sure it’s The Purple Cow – Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble: I too am a “north of 50” dot-com survivor. I completely relate to what the New York Times describes as “the best book about Silicon Valley”. For me, it serves as a cautionary reminder of what happens when “fad-chasing venture capitalists, sales bros, social climbers, and sociopaths” run tech startups. Author: Dan Lyons.
What books do YOU read when you want to think smarter? Let me know.