How I discovered most of the books I have read for the past year and a half

I started reading blogs and listening to podcasts around February 2005. I started blogging myself around August 2005. I started buying books like crazy about a year and a couple months after that, starting in 2006. (However, my first Audible.com purchase was in 2004 with It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow that I just happened to see on Audible’s site). I will attempt to list most of the post and podcast episodes that turned me on to all of the books I purchased and read/listened to (hard copy, Audible.com, and sometimes both) in the last year and a half. When I look at the business, marketing, and economics section at a book store I see two different types of books: those that I know from mentions in blogs and podcasts (and a couple becuase of best sellers hype), and those that I have not heard of becuase they have not been recommended by these trusted sources.

The first book in what as become a long series of books about the changing media and business strategy landscape was that I took an interest in was Naked Conversations around the time hit the shelves in January 2006. I found out about it because by I been following Steve Ruble at MicroPersuasions which I discovered from TechCrunch, which I found from a Google search around the first couple weeks that it (TechCunch) launched. I had gotten to know who Robert Scoble was around March 2005. I had heard so much about this book from blogs building up to its release date, and I was curious to read about what they had to say. I think is was after this time that I found Shel Israel’s blog. If had committed to subscribing to a feed and reading posts everyday, it was easy to make the transition to buying blog author’s book or a book recommended by a trusted blogger.

Sometimes I tend to notice books in pairs. The World Is Flat and Freakonomics are one pair that comes to mind. Not only were they mentioned on a lot of blogs, but they were also best sellers. I can’t say it was any one particular post or blogger that got me interested in these two, but the buzz was enough. I bought TWIF Expanded Edition on CD. I bought the Freakonomics from Audible.com an received the hard copy as a gift.

The same with The Tipping Point and Blink. These I paired because they are by the same author, Malcolm Gladwell who I took an interest in after hearing a couple of his talks on ITConversations: Human Nature from Pop!Tech 2004 and his SXSW 2005 Keynote. He did one of these talks he did for free. As a result of this talk, he went on to become one of the most in-demand speakers for tradeshows, conferences, and corporate presentations in the pas couple years, not to mention selling books to those who want to hear more about his ideas on how ideas spread(The Tipping Point) and how people make decisions (Blink).

Naked Conversations mentioned many times that The Cluetrain Manifesto was its catalyst, so I had to check that one out, not to mention Tara Hunt‘s repeated references to it. This lead me to discover Doc Searls (one of the authors of Cluetrain) and his blogs.

When I discovered that Steve Rubel was doing a podcast back around November 2005 called Across the Sound, I just had to check it out. That is when I discovered Joseph Jaffe and his book Life After the 30-Second Spot. Rubel did the podcast for about 5 or 10 episodes with Jaffe and then he decided to spend time with other projects.

From Jaffe, I was turned on to Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists, and then to John Moore author of (check out the TribalKnowledg blog and the 47 Tribal Truths). John Moore’s blog is where I first read about Mavericks at Work from this post and I picked up the hard copy and Audible.com versions soon after.

Eric Mattson of the Marketing Monger Podcast turned me on to Jeremiah Owyang. Jeremiah is one of my favorite bloggers on the topic of marketing and social media, so when Jeremiah suggested The Starfish and the Spider, I just had to check it out. Jeremiah pointed to Ben Casnocha’s blog where he has reviewed many business books. Jeremiah also pointed to Jennifer Jones’s interview with Seth Godin on his book Small is the New Big a couple months after I read it. One of the many podcast and blog mentions of this book was the Joseph Jaffe’s interview with Seth. This book is a collection of blog posts and columns Seth wrote for magazines on the changing face of advertising, marketing, and strategy.

Blue Ocean Strategy is another book that I cannot say there was one place I saw it that lead me to believe it would be a good read. I have the hard copy as well as an Audible.com download.

Besides all of the blog hype that had been building up for a year around Chris Anderson‘s The Long Tail, one moment where I definitely could not wait to get the book was after hearing his talk on IT Conversations titled The Economics of the Long Tail. The Long Tail and The Wisdom of Crowds are another set of books that I pair together in my mind, maybe because I read (listened) to them around the same time. What really got me turned on to The Wisdom of Crowds was James Surowiecki’s talk at SXSW 2006. I do not have the hard copies of either of these, just the Audible.com downloads.

When I first blogged about books I found through blogs and podcasts, Todd at 800CEORead blog linked to it. That was the first time I had heard of the 800CEORead blog. When I went to read other posts at this great blog, I noticed a post about a book that talked about the different strategies of XM and Sirius. It was Get Back in the Box by Douglas Rushkoff. I found this title intriguing since recent conventional wisdom was to think “outside of the box.” When Rushkoff popped up again in and episode of Boing Boing’s Get Illuminated podcast, I knew there must be something to him and his book so I bought it and could not stop reading it. I think this is definitely my favorite out of all of my recent reads. It is about how some companies have wandered so far outside of their core competencies that they are no longer doing what they did best. This had some of the most diverse ideas out of all of my recent reads. Another book mention on the BoingBoing’s Get Immuminated podcast is Stven E. Landsburg More Sex is Safer Sex:The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics. I am also interested in David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous and Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert because of these two BoingBoing posts.

IT Conversations has been the source of many book purchases and whishlist additions (as mentioned above). Moira Gunn’s show TechNation (featured on IT Conversation) if a great place for me to hear book recommendations as interviews with the authors, most of which are right up my alley. Her interviewed Gerd Leonhard, author of The Future of Music prompted me to find that I was able to download the first 5 chapters as a podcast at the books blog. This prompted me to add it to my Amazon wishlist and it was ten purchased for me as a gift. I downloaded Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath from Audible.com minutes after hearing Moira interview Chip. In her interview with Peter Navarro on The Coming China Wars (ITC interview part 1 and ITC interview part 2). I added it to my Audible.com wishlist. Next was an interview Robert Sutton on his book The No Asshole Rule along with a review on Guy Kawasaki’s blog along with an interactive self test. I purchased this book at Audible.com. Next, Moira interviewed Nassim Taleb on his book The Black Swan which sounds fascinating, so I added to my Amazon wishlist. On Open Source Conversations (an IT Conversations Channel) I was turned on to Scott Rosneberg’s talk on his book Dreaming in Code about how designing and programming the perfect software application can a nightmare. Phil Windley interviewed Howard Moskowitz about his book Selling Blue Elephants on how to manipulate the senses with the right product design. I added it to my Amazon wishlist. Another talk heard on ITC was by Richard Florida at Pop!Tech 2004, author of Rise of The Creative Class. I added it to my wishlist and it was purchased for me as a gift. My last audiobook purchases was The End of Faith by Sam Harris because of his talk at Pop!Tech 2005 on It Conversations.

Brian Oberkirch‘s podcast is another cool source for book recommendations. First was an interview with Michael Ryanor about this book The Strategy Paradox. Guy Kawasaki interviewed him as well. On the SXSW 2007 podcast I was awestruck by Tim Ferriss talk on his outlook on life regarding how to beat the 9-5 system and get your life back, The Four Hour Work Week. He was then interviews on Brian’s podcast a couple days later. I downloaded the Audible.com version that same day and then bought the hardcopy book a couple of days later. Going back to Guy Kawasaki, he recommended Elegant Solution by Matthew May which I am reading currently.

The ChangeThis Manifesto is the site to find out about books that dissect the massive changes going on in culture, media, and business strategy. They have short, free PDFs, some of which are by authors of newly released books that either sum-up the book or focus on one key point of the book. Almost every author that writes a ChangeThis Manifesto is one who’s books’ subject is right up my alley. One of the most popular is Rajesh Shetty‘s 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself where he suggests Let’s Get Real or Lets Not Play by Mahan Khalsa, a great book on negotiating sales. I have both the Audible.com and hard copy versions.

Thanks to this episode of The Negotiation Tip of the Week podcast, I was turned-on to Beyond Reason by Daniel Shapiro and Roger Fisher, featuring an interview with Shapiro.

After writing a post about Seth Godin, a representative from Allworth Press left a blog comment about a book on a similar topic, Brandjam by Marc GobĂ©. I managed to get them to send me a copy. I have not yet read it, but the ideas are pretty solid. It features a lot of examples of stuff people are talking about in the marketing blogosphere, and documents some great examples of things like user generated content and “design is the new marketing/advertising,” but he was not on my radar otherwise becuase he was not leveraging social media in the way the rest of these authors are. The book does have plenty of Technorati mentions but there is no blog at his company site dga.com. Maybe he does not need the blog mentions as much as the others?

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One Response to How I discovered most of the books I have read for the past year and a half

  1. Ben Casnocha says:

    And I also came out with a new book! See: http://www.mystartuplife.com

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