I read 20-30 books each year in prep for my podcast or as a required text for school. When I find a book I like, I usually pick up a print copy, the Kindle version, and often, the Audible version to give myself as much opportunity to absorb new information and insights as possible. Obsession with books has become such a thing in my household that my daughter competes with me on who can build the biggest and most curated library. But I digress…
I came across some real gems this year and wanted to share them here.
I recently picked this book up for light reading during my winter break from classes at Santa Clara University. The Practice by Seth Godin is a motivational guide that empowers readers to unleash their creativity and succeed by committing to consistent, purposeful work rather than waiting for perfect ideas and inspiration. From getting into a flow state and finding your voice to overcoming imposter syndrome, this book will inspire you to engage in consistent practice and become more comfortable with getting shit done and shipping your best creative work.
Tom Kemp‘s book Containing Big Tech is a seminal reference on how data brokers and big tech companies misuse our most sensitive data, how AI is being exploited, and the abuse of our privacy. Kemp argues that big tech companies like Meta, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, despite creating valuable products, pose threats to our civil rights, economy, and democracy due to their intrusive data collection practices. The book is well-researched and provides executives and policymakers valuable insights on emerging privacy regulations in California. It launched as a Bestseller and #1 New Release on Amazon and is a must-read for anyone interested in privacy and freedoms in the digital age. I was fortunate to be able to write an endorsement for the book and produce an event for Tom on The State of US Privacy and AI to celebrate the book launch.
You can watch on-demand and buy the book here:
Webinar: The State of US Privacy and AI
Kat Holmes is Chief Design Officer and EVP at Salesforce, entrepreneur, and leading expert in inclusive design who has written an excellent book on user-centered design called Mismatch, How Inclusion Shapes Design. What makes the book great is that it’s accessible and written in plain language and shows how inclusion should be viewed as a source of innovation and growth, not as a tax on an organization’s revenue. Economically speaking, Kat explains that it’s better to build for inclusion at the beginning of the product lifecycle rather than as an afterthought. She argues that the best time for inclusion is now, large or small, to make a difference in the lives of customers and stakeholders.
Robert Herjavec‘s book You Don’t Have To Be A Shark, Creating Your Own Success is not new. Still, it includes his stories and anecdotes for success that are vitally important in the lives of entrepreneurs and business leaders. I got the print book and purchased the Audible version because it’s narrated by Robert, which elevated my time spent in the “pain cave” running the trails over the summer. He talks about the value of relationships and trust and argues that success is not just about aggressive competition (like a shark) but about fostering trust and connections with others. From his tips on cold calling to becoming better at selling and his list of things you need to do when making a significant change in life, the book will pay for itself many times.
Anthony Iannarino is a prolific author who has written several best-selling titles on the craft of professional selling. What I love about reading Anthony’s books is they are packed with valuable guidance without the BS and ego that fill the pages of other books on the topic. Elite Sales Strategies will quickly pay for itself by helping sales executives elevate their email tactics, design and use executive briefings in their pursuits, and when and how to listen. The book spends time diagnosing common problems, building a better talk track, and the sequence of modern discovery calls and outlines how to offer transformative insights with integrity and skill.
Here is one quick test from the book demonstrating its high impact and value: Does the client benefit more from the conversation than you do?
Jeffrey Pfeffer‘s work on power breaks the taboo of the subject and presents a realistic and practical perspective. I listened to 7 Rules of Power on Audible twice and sent it to a couple of my friends. In the book, Pfeffer argues that political skill is one of the most powerful predictors of career success and that the absence of power in one’s life is stressful. Power and influence can permit you to change lives, organizations, and the world. To the extent that it is translated into job control, power is associated with better health and longer life. In the book, you will learn the rules, including how to get out of your own way, the role of strategic networking, and breaking rules, among other rules.
Seek power like your life depends on it because it does!
Richard Stiennon published the Security Yearbook 2023 for a fourth year and offers extensive research on the cybersecurity industry. The book covers the latest trends, technologies, people, organizations (over 3200 of them!), and threats in the industry, offering a comprehensive view that is essential for staying informed and ahead in this rapidly changing field. Stiennon’s extensive research and expertise make this book a must-read for professionals seeking to deepen their understanding of cybersecurity challenges and opportunities.
2023 will be remembered as “The Year of AI,” when artificial intelligence and human ingenuity merged, forever changing how we see data and ourselves. Bill Schmarzo, the “Dean of Big Data” and author of several seminal books on data science, wrote AI & Data Literacy, Empowering Citizens of Data Science to educate readers on the fundamentals of data science, data economics, analytics, applying ethical principles to AI, privacy implications, prediction, and value engineering, making innovations in AI accessible to [most] everyone. These components comprise the AI and Data Literacy Framework, which Dean Schmarzo uses to empower businesses and citizens alike to become productive with and even monetize AI, data, LLMs, and so forth. The book is organized, written clearly and concisely, and has illustrations and references that make this a must-have volume on the subject.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt is a game-changer in understanding what makes a strategy truly effective. The book argues that objectives are not strategy, and explains that good strategy is unexpected, how most companies get strategy wrong, and how to overcome obstacles using chain-link analysis. Rumelt breaks down the essence of a good strategy into three clear components: diagnosing the challenge, developing a guiding policy, and executing coherent actions. This simplicity in approach, contrasted with real-world examples, makes the book incredibly relatable and practical. It’s not just about complex business scenarios; Rumelt’s insights are applicable to everyday life. The book’s strength lies in its ability to demystify strategy and present it as a tool for clarity and focus in any situation.
Choosing a favorite book of 2023 is hard, but this one would make a great candidate. Ethics in the Age of Disruptive Technologies: An Operational Roadmap, written by Jose Flahaux, Brian Green, and Ann Skeet from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, serves as a guide for organizations to improve their ethical management approaches. It focuses on helping organizations handle the challenges posed by advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, encryption, and tracking, ensuring they adhere to high ethical standards. The book provides a roadmap of five stages that help those in the corporate and technology industries define and implement a Responsible Technology Governance Framework and Responsible Technology Management System, or RTMS, and aligns it with the ITEC Responsible Technology Governance Framework. While the RTMS is most applicable to mid and large enterprises, the principles for leadership and decision-making can be applied in any organization of any size.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Brian and Ann about this book for an episode of my podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts or at the link below.