By the founders of 37Signals
A must-read for small companies in highly competitive markets. Rework skewers standard business advice in favour of 'less-is-more' strategies and a humane, efficient workplace. Chapter titles are statements such as 'ASAP is Poison' and 'Planning is Guessing'. 37Signals emphasizes business success through flexible, efficient strategies and this is their well-received manifesto.
By Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore (Harvard Business School Press)
'Authenticity' is a bit academic, a little muddled, and quite insightful. Gilmore and Pine argue that consumers choose a product or company based on how 'real' that offering is perceived to be. Companies which sucessfully stage experiences that authenticate to a consumer's self-image (Starbucks, Apple) effectively capture short and long-term interest.
The book continues into economic theory, suggesting that the Western economy has transitioned from a market basis of commodities (supply), to goods (price), to services (quality), and is now approaching experiences (authenticity).
'Authenticity' varies between calls to 'get real' and offering helpful advice for 'fake' companies, but is a great read for ethical, 'authentic' companies looking to get noticed.
By Seth Godin
One of the classics of web marketing from entrepreneur Seth Godin:
Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.
It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.
- from Seth's Blog
As traditional, interruption-based advertising continues to decline, permission marketing is being revisited as the core of many new marketing and business models. We recommend our articles Great Companies and Products are REMARKable and An Introduction to Marketing (with Purple Cows!) for a basic treatment of the subject.
A few other books that we've found useful:
Published in 2000 and technically about usability in web design, Krug's work is about simplifying and reducing to communicate more effectively.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,
by Daniel H. Pink
Pink draws on four decades of human 'motivation' research to argue that a carrot-and-stick, external-rewards-based approach to business is no longer effective. Rather, the best way to motivate company, customers and staff is by realizing the human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create, and to have a sense of purpose.
Scientific American and Nature,
from the Nature Publishing Group
What's the point of being in business if you ignore the rest of the world around you? Scientific American and Nature magazines include captivating articles on ecology, new technology and much more. When we started CartaNova, we included a Scientific American subscription for each staff member in the opening budget.
So, What About You?
Which small business and marketing books would you recommend? Please share!