For Your Summer Reading List: Eight Great Books on Innovation and Business
In 2004, I blogged my “Top-10 Innovation Readings” and included such titles as:
- Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel
- The Innovators Solution by Clayton Christensen
- Developing Global Strategies for Service Businesses by Christopher Lovelock
- Discovering the Soul of Services by Leonard Berry
- Provices and Serducts by Michael Schrage
The books on this list reflect where I was on my innovation journey nine years ago. It was filled with good strategic frameworks and academic collections on service innovation.
But now that it's mid-summer in DC – the dog days – it’s time to update my list and think about putting something new in the beach bag. Here are four, couldn’t-put-down reads from my bookshelf.
Innovation Science & History
- Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Johnson is a flat-out terrific science writer, a storyteller as accessible as Jonah Lehrer but with a tighter grip on the underlying science. Not a business book, which is a strength.
- Runner-up: Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes
- Nudge by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein
The field of behavioral economics has actually dominated my non-fiction reading, and this is just one of the best.
- Runner up: Daniel Kahneman’s excellent Thinking, Fast & Slow.
- Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky
The phenomenon of social production is spelled out beautifully by this NYU professor. Filled with examples, the tone is more pop science than peer-reviewed journal, but the empirical data shows up just enough to give it heft.
- Runner-up: The Social Atom by Mark Buchanan
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Eric puts his finger directly on the pulse of the entrepreneur, and distills the methods into a reusable formula. While it focuses mainly on software entrepreneurship, I can assure you the methods translate to new products, new services, the whole shebang.
- Runner-up: The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
OK, so what’s on your list? I’d love to hear just one of your couldn’t-put-down read from the past year or two.