I’ll start off by prefacing that I am an avid reader, I usually have three different books going on at once—usually two fiction and one non-fiction—and read them almost daily. While my opinion of reading may be slightly biased by my voracity, the benefit that it provides to anyone is undeniable.
Books provide so much more than mere information, and the act of reading them (even fiction) can even lead to being a better writer. I’m in no way the next Hemingway or Chabon, but there is no doubt that reading has drastically improved my prowess as a writer.
So, without further ado, I would like to discuss the three books that I think everyone should read to expand their horizons and writing chops both personally and professionally. The books below will not only help to further develop your career in the business world and as an individual, but also expand your understanding of the digital marketing ecosystem as a whole.
Book 1: The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century is a best seller analyzing globalization and the leveling of the playing field across the business world. I read this book in college and it was a real eye opener that I think everyone should read. It is chock-full of valuable facts, and Friedman does a good job of parsing through history and selecting what he deems the “10 flatteners”.
The World becoming flat is a concept indicating that business, communication, and really anything you put your mind to is now accessible across the world. There are really no more geographical barriers because of all the technological advancements. Some of his so called “flatteners” are outsourcing, off shoring, and other related technologies, but also major historical events like the Collapse of the Berlin Wall. In addition, the book dives into economic values, principles, and theories. All in all, it is a great read that encompasses how the economy has gotten to this point while also focusing on what we need to do as a society to keep up and ultimately not crumble under the weight of too much technological automatization.
Book 2: The Color Code by Taylor Hartman
The Color Code: A New Way to See Yourself, Your Relationships, and Life is a fascinating book that dives into the essence of your personality aka your “color”. The book breaks up people into 4 different colors, Red, Blue, White, and Yellow. There is a test at the beginning of the book to determine what color traits you best fit into and why. What I like about this book versus other personality books is that they make it clear that you do not have to fall within only one color. Usually you will have a base color, but should still look to take traits from others to address weaknesses that are inherent with your predominant one.
After beginning this book you will start to look at people with a different lens and understand what kind of interaction you will need with them. Are they someone that needs to be told what to do, how much do you need to push them, do you need to defer to them, etc. This understanding is as beneficial for personal growth as it is for interacting with colleagues, managers, team members, and friends alike. Everyone is wired differently, but to succeed you need to have strategies to work with disparate personalities and this book will help you get a better understanding of how to do that.
Book 3: The Big Data-Driven Business by Sean Callahan and Russell Glass
The Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customer, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits is especially helpful for digital marketers. This book was co-written by Russell Glass, the founder of Bizo which was recently acquired by LinkedIn. The book dives into the backbone of Big Data and how it is being used in the ever changing digital marketing landscape. This is a must read to get a general overview of the digital marketing landscape as it gives a holistic view of the different software out there governing the industry (DSPs, DMPs, Adservers, Attribution companies, etc). If you have trouble understanding how everything works and speaks to one another, this book is a no brainer—and even a good refresher for those who are old hats.
Bonus Books: Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Both of these books can help train your brain on how to think like an economist. Numbers govern the industry of digital marketing, and those that understand how to look at said numbers from a different angle will be the ones to succeed. Both of these books take preconceived notions and try to find correlations, causations, and other statistical significances.
Additionally, these books have resulted in a very successful podcast on NPR that also warrants a listen.
Just Media, Inc.