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June 21, 2019 Marketing

Summer Reading List: Top 10 Business Leadership, Sales and Marketing Books

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By Brainsell Editorial Team

Advancements in consumer behavior, economics, and modern technology are reshaping the business landscape – particularly in the areas of leadership, sales, marketing, and process or operations management.

This is why it’s important to educate yourself and your employees on best practices and industry standards. A great and budget-friendly way to start this process is starting a company-wide book club! For those who don’t have time to crack open a book and read after work, you can always listen to a book – try it while you prepare meals, get ready for work in the morning, or make your daily commute.

Here at BrainSell, we’re always scouting for more self-help resources to help us evolve our strategies – but not every company has a resident team of booknerds. So, we put together a summer reading list of our favorite works to help you get started.

(And if you’re looking for more than just 10 recommendations, check out last year’s summer reading list – those selections have stood the test of time and are still amazing reads!)

BrainSell’s Summer of 2019 Reading List

  1. Dare To Lead – Brene Brown

Dare To Lead is a witty, powerfully-written deep dive into the importance of vulnerability in the workplace. The workplace is lousy with miscommunication, conflict, personal pressures, criticism, and competition. Brown shows us how to tackle these uncomfortable aspects of office life by being bold, inventive, and considerate business leaders who nurture trust and authenticity within our organizations.

  1. Turn Your Ship Around! – L. David Marquet and Stephen Covey

This is a step-by-step guide for changing top-down management (leader-follower) to empowerment management (leader-leader). The story starts with Capt. Marquet being assigned to lead the worst submarine in the fleet and transforming it into the best one in the fleet. If the military can move away from the command-and-control model to gain leadership at all levels by giving control, inspiring competence, and achieving organizational clarity – we can too!

  1. Measure What Matters – John Doerr

Measure What Matters is all about OKRs and how to master them. Doerr based the methodology in this book on his experience working at Intel under Andy Grove, a renowned engineer and businessman who helped more than 50 companies successfully implement OKRs. The system is foolproof, but the challenge is convincing leadership to subscribe to the approach. This book advises readers on how to do that as well.

  1. What’s Your Digital Business Model? – Peter Weill and Stephanie Woerner

This book provides case studies and insights based on five years of study at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research. Growing technologies like IoT, automation, and AI are impacting business. With more baby boomers leaving the workforce, the speed of innovation will only increase as younger leadership rises. Weill and Woerner provide us with a Digital Business Model framework as a comprehensive strategic model that will help executives launch their business’s digital transformation.

  1. The Industries of the Future – Alec Ross

This is about more than the future of technology – it’s about the future of civilization itself. Ross discusses the impact of emerging technologies on workplace culture, economics, industry, and everyday life. He touches on cryptocurrency, blockchain, cyber security, and data management, among others. If you are curious about what prospects and challenges are on the horizon, then this book is for you.

  1. Selling with Noble Purpose – Lisa McLeod

This is a must-read for anyone managing a sales team. People work harder and more effectively when they feel there is a higher purpose behind their work. Understanding and prioritizing the customer’s perspective by helping them succeed is the ultimate “noble selling purpose” that will improve the health of your customers and your organization. This book is an easy read that drives home a simple but overlooked ideology.

  1. They Ask, You Answer – Marcus Sheridan

In this new age of buying, They Ask, You Answer is a great mash up of critical new marketing tactics drawn from Inbound Marketing and real-life buying behaviors. It applies to B2B and B2C companies, and it’s an easy read (or listen). The real-life stories of trials, tribulations, and successes from business leaders add a lot of meaningful context and examples to Sheridan’s work.

  1. F#ck Content Marketing – Randy Frisch

This book is for anyone who wants to improve market demand, revenue, or business relationships. In a time when 70% of marketing content is never used by target buyers, successful companies don’t just create content, they create content experiences. Frisch helps you re-imagine content into experiences that will complement complex buyer journeys and actually make an impact on target buyers.

  1. Customer Success – Nick Mehta, Dan Steinman, and Lincoln Murphy

This is the customer success bible! Customer Success is a brief and organized book on the economic shift to the “subscription economy” and how that translates into the relatively new field of customer success. Now, the main reader audience may be SaaS and or any other subscription-based businesses, but this book applies to any organization who prioritizes customer success – especially sales and marketing folks.

  1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is about recognizing the universe’s response to the wants, hopes, and dreams that we communicate to it, both intentionally and unintentionally. Readers are encouraged to identify omens and not ignore them. While not about business per say, this book has shaped the culture of our company in a massive way and helped us to support one another and our respective dreams.


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