The Best Books of 2017…. So Far
Last year I put together my Top 10 list of books; not exclusively published in 2016, but that I had enjoyed in 2016. You can find that article here.
This year I am going to do the same thing, but wanted to get in with some early recommendations.
Immediately after publishing the 2016 list, I encountered some books (#5 and #1) that are so insightful and valuable that it seemed a shame to wait until the end of the year to write about them.
I suspect most will make it to the Top 10 of 2017, or else I am in for a treat in the coming months, because these have been brilliant.
6. The Art of Possibility – Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
I found this book through stalking the reading list of Seth Godin’s altMBA program. He lists a bunch of books, most of which I already rave about (Business Model Generation, Steal Like An Artist, The War Of Art, etc), as well as others I’d never heard of.
That gave me the confidence to take a risk – the is no way I’d have otherwise picked up this book.
The Zanders describe a new way of seeing the world – it’s optimistic, upbeat and yet grounded. It is especially good in audio form, Ben might be one of the best narrators I’ve heard.
Most business books are about honing in on solutions, teaching you ways of jumping to quick and safe conclusions. This book is the opposite, and it will change the way you look at problems in the future.
5. Oversubscribed – Daniel Priestley
I found this audiobook via the narrator – I find his style engaging, so I clicked on his name and this title popped up.
I had never heard of Daniel Priestley, but the premise of the book was captivating – how does a new company attract an initial audience without begging, discounting or stressing?
Daniel puts forward some practical steps for finding your tribe, and creating something that has a waiting list from day zero. The stories are excellent, and his advice is hard to fault. If you’re starting a new enterprise, these methodologies will change the way you approach customer acquisition.
4. Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
Simon is an excellent storyteller, and will change your mind about what leadership really means. The book is full of stories about how a good leader can transform an organisation, and how misguided leaders can do seemingly good things that derail a project.
I put this book off for a while, and I’m not sure why. It never stood out, but once I picked it up I was hooked. If you’re in the same boat, this is your cue.
I’d particularly recommend it for those under the age of 25, who are still making their mind up about whether they see a leadership role in their future.
3. Hacking Growth – Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown
This book is great in a different way. It’s long and it’s detailed, and the advice inside can dramatically improve the way your company grows its audience and revenue.
In a way, this felt like eating a big bowl of vegetables – not much fun but you’ll feel great afterwards.
If you’re new to the field, I’d suggest starting with Ryan Holiday’s book Growth Hacker Marketing, as it is less detailed and covers the mindset of growth hacking. Ellis and Brown are the real practitioners, so this book is full of case studies, action plans and trap to avoid.
2. Branding (In Five And A Half Steps) – Michael Johnson
This is the best book on branding that I’ve ever encountered. I’d love to be wrong, because that would mean I get to read something stellar, but for the time being I have Michael’s engaging and elegant dive into the realities of assembling a brand.
There are a lot of books on strategy, and a lot on logo design. This book covers both, and explains the need for leaders to consider both the philosophical (what is the narrative behind our brand?) and the practical (How should we change our typography?)
More importantly, I had the rare joy of thinking “Oh no, there’s only 100 pages left!”
1. Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss
Tim can be quite polarising – he’s someone who treats life as a series of experiments that can be “Optimised”. That means he often pushes things too far, which can put readers off.
Having said that, I really like him and his work.
This book is split into three categories: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.
I did not enjoy the Healthy section, but Wealthy and Wise have made this one of the best books I’ve ever read.
The book is essentially highlights from Tim’s podcast – long interviews with some of the world’s smartest people. A two hour interview gets boiled down to 3-6 pages of wisdom, and that process has led to some incredible quotes and nuggets that will change the way you think about work, life and relationships.
I have already read the whole thing twice. I hope you love it as much as I do.
To find more excellent books, go to The Book List