Here’s a six pack of 2011 releases that represent the year’s best business books:
The Master Switch: The Rise And Fall Of Information Empires by Timothy Wu.
This read is gripping as a biz-book like The Social Network was interesting as a movie. Wu chronicles the rise of AT&T, it’s demise, then later monopolies leading up to Google. Very provocative, and good food for our understanding of how things work in the free market now – and into the future.
Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
This new book helps unlock the secrets to true innovation: Fast prototyping, testing and scaling and close monitoring of feedback. His examples of how little bets create big ideas range from comedian Chris Rock to Google to Pixar. This is a think-piece book, that you’ll put to work immediately on your own business, product or project at work.
In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy
Most books on Google are either premature or outside-looking-in, and so far, I avoided them. In this case, Levy’s work appealed to me, as he’s been covering them for Wired since 2004 and has insider status with their culture. This is an entertaining, useful and enlightening read about the formation of Google’s culture, assets and evolving mission.
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation To Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
This is, hands down, the best business book for leaders I’ve read since Good To Great a decade ago. Will no-doubt be my top pick for 2011. It’s that valuable. Whether you are a startup or working inside a big company, Eric and his Lean Startup Practices will make you a rock star. Learn how to master the MVP, innovate in Small Batches and ask the Five Whys when things go wrong. Those who read this book will have a business advantage over those that don’t. And the book is a really good read, too.
Brain Rules: 12 Principles For Surviving And Thriving At Work, Home and School by John Medina
To improve your professional performance, you need to first leverage your brain. Medina offers simple, but highly effective ways to improve your creativity, memory and emotional intelligence. Some ideas you already know about (‘get enough sleep’) but others are novel (repeat to remember). There are a slew of brain science books you can read, but this one was written to be easily understood and acted upon.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
What do you get when you combine intensely private person who’s changed our life with one of the greatest biographers of our time? The book, Steve Jobs, which is storming the best seller lists and dribbling out provocative pieces of Jobsian thinking daily via the press.
This is one of those books you really need to read to be in the know. It’s likely that we’ll discuss Jobs for years to come in a lot of areas: CEOs, design, innovation, management style, history, etc. This book is likely the best money you’ll invest this year. Just think, $20 in Apple stock a decade ago is worth…NOTE: Read this book on your iPad if you can, it will be a special experience for you.