What I Am Reading

I prefer to “read” audiobooks. But there are a few must-reads that just aren’t available on audio, and I also prefer to read many technology books on paper. Here are a few books anyone in the digital world should be intimately familiar with and refer back to regularly to understand the nature of the evolving digital landscape and how to operate within it.

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

After the first few chapters, this book becomes repetitive and boring. I’m guessing the publisher required a higher page count for such a simple topic. Still, the essence of this book is what separates those with aspirations from those who get results. When I first read this book, which was released 15 years ago and is arguably somewhat outdated, I knew that the mindset outlined in it was what separated me from the smarter, cleverer, and more gifted individuals. I knew how to get things done, how to execute a task or build something. This is still the number one differentiator between those who talk and those who do.

Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless: How to Make Customers Love You, Keep Them Coming Back and Tell Everyone They Know

I’m really dating myself here with another 20-year-old book—and this is another one that should have been 100 pages shorter—but still so important for every single individual in every company. Striving for customer loyalty over customer satisfaction is even more important now than ever before, and that goes for customers both inside and outside your company.

This is one of the first books I give any of the developers that work for me. Everyone laughs at first, but developers are naturally the worst at customer service, both to clients and customers. Their empathy level hovers in the zero range for non-developers, so even if you don’t read this, give it to your developers.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

This book, while admittedly not for everyone, is essential for anyone building or marketing digital products. Don’t fool yourself and think only designers should be reading this book; it’s actually more for marketing and product people than designers. This book is the bible for branding. Read it.

The next two required readings are not actually books, but they should be:

1) Apple’s HIG and 2) Google’s Material Design

Design is at the core of nearly every discipline in the digital space, and these two design leaders know their stuff.

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