Can you remember the books you’ve read a decade ago? If so, can you remember some of the key points from those books? I recently revisited my top 5 books that I read 10 years ago. You might recognize some of the titles, and four of the authors are household names. Let’s dive in.
The top news story in 2010 was the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Drew Brews and the New Orleans Saints were the Super Bowl Champions. Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges were academy award winners. Planking, selfie sticks, and Facebook privacy snafus were big trends.
But what about books? Unbroken is one of my favorite non-fiction books and was published late in 2010. Michael Lewis experienced success with The Big Short. The New Jim Crow has nearly 3k reviews averaging 4.7 overall. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks also ranks high in non-fiction during 2010.
In 2010, I read 65 books. I started to list my top 10 from that year, but I decided that it was too easy. I wanted to make my job harder by narrowing my list to just 5 books. Read on.
Built to Sell
I’m a huge John Warrillow fan. I’m wondering if this book is forgotten after the success he experienced with The Automatic Customer. However, I view Built to Sell as a small business classic – a book that I regularly gift to small business owners thinking of exiting their businesses.
I was once a customer of 37signals (now re-branded as Basecamp), and I loved their product called Backpack (think a super-simple version of Evernote). So I was already familiar with the culture of the author’s organization by just being a customer.
When Rework came out by Jason Fried, I didn’t agree with every management concept he believed in, but the book was a fun, breezy read. Fried is an excellent writer and his Get Real column at Inc. is outstanding.
Rework is still relevant today, and I still recommend it, especially to start-ups that have a proven business model.
What a fun and delightful book this was. If you work in customer service, this is the best book to read and/or study.
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness. Key themes include workplace culture, customer centricity, and adhering to core competencies. Like the first books mentioned, this is still a must-read book.
I like reading marketing books, and one of the best books in this genre is Made to Stick by the Heath brothers (although it’s not billed as a marketing book).
When their next book came out, I jumped on it. Switch was a fun, but different read. If change is hard to accept and apply, this book is a starting point with a clever storyline. You will learn a simple framework that describes directing the rider, motivating the elephant, and shaping the path. This is a book that will be relevant for years to come.
The Lord’s of Strategy
If you are a consultant, get it and read it. Since I have the audio version, I’ve been through it more than once.
If you like studying business history and the origin of strategy frameworks, then The Lord’s of Strategy will fit the bill. Would I recommend this book to the typical CEO running a growing company? No, as it’s not relevant. Still, those working in consulting firms, especially the Big 3 will gain valuable insights from it.
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