4 books that changed my thinking

I read a lot. Perhaps a bit too much. I figure that with 100 billion humans having lived, there must be a heap of amazing minds that I can learn from. It’s mostly non-fiction; business, marketing, design, creativity, life.

So here are four books that I rate as powerful, insightful, and behavior changing. Each one has had a lasting effect on the way I plan my actions.



The Innovators Solution

Clayton Christensen thinks that business should be more science than art. If we understand principles more thoroughly, we can radically improve our success rates.

But then he actually goes ahead and explains a bunch of amazing principles, which have radically improved my, and many others success rates.

While this is a follow on from The Innovators Dilema, you can jump straight in with this one. No question, this is the most influential business book I have ever read, and is often referenced by my business heroes.


Getting Things Done

Constantly busy? Can’t find the time? Scribbled reminders? Forgotten tasks? Organised people were not born organised, they just learned some good tricks.

David Allen’s ‘GTD’ teaches some simple principles to de-clutter your life and concentrate on the moment. It’s quite a zen-like aim, which has won over lifehackers, programmers, and loads of the Silicon Valley elite looking to get more things done.

If you don’t have the time to read it, it’s proof you probably need to.


Made To Stick

The lightest of this bunch, but still really powerful – Made To Stick explores why some ideas survive and others die. The biggest benefit for me was just realising that good ideas are ‘sticky’, and that making your ideas sticky is a sensible goal.

If you’re in marketing or business development, it’s essential reading. But it’s also a great read for generally interested people looking to be more influential.


Cradle To Cradle

Amongst a cluttered and confusing environmental movement, C2C stands out as the most sensible and actionable philosophies I have come across.? An architect (William McDonough) and a chemist (Michael Braungart) have taken an essentially Lean Thinking approach to ‘sustainability’, and crafted a set of guidelines that mean we can celebrate life and abundance, improve the planet we live on, and get rid of that guilt… so long as we take the actions.

These are four of my favorite books so far, but I’m hoping others may have recommendations that have changed their perspectives for the better.

Let me know if I have missed anything critical here. Do you have any to share?

As this is a post for those of you who read lots of non-fiction (and are interested in finding some pearlers). For the rest of you, here’s a link to a video of Ozzie Wright getting an 18 second barrel.