Holiday time is a great opportunity to unwind, read some holiday books and allow our brains to meander in ways that allow us to think differently. And thinking differently in my experience allows us to approach business differently.
It does for me! And in fact I’m reading a great book right now. Written in 1984, it’s about adjusting the traditional manufacturing processes of the time and how that can change the throughput of an entire manufacturing plant and in turn increase the bottom line.
It’s about Lean Manufacturing Principles written both as a story and as a manual.
Why would I be reading something like that you ask? I mean, what’s that got to do with marketing?
Well the stories in this book got my brain working in a different way and I can already see how I can improve our content marketing process if I use the same principles outlined in this book.
If we think about the production of content in much the same way as we think about the production of product we start to understand the theory of constraints, see bottlenecks, what we can learn from them and how it can impact productivity in this space significantly.
The name of this book is The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt but more on that in a later post I have in mind.
So, let’s get back to some other ideas for reading material. The members of the How Great Marketing Works Facebook Group asked me to put together a list of books that I’d recommend. Some light ones and some business and marketing ones and here they are.
Let’s start our holiday reading with Good to Great by Jim Collins.
Together with his team of researchers, Jim Collins spent five years researching what helps companies transform from good companies into great companies and that is obviously always of interest to me.
The book was inspired by feedback he got on his huge hit Built to Last and was in response to a question he was asked at the time – “How do we make Good Companies Great?”
What I found invaluable about the book is that it really does show you how to do just that. It gives you the skills and the thinking to accomplish greatness.
This book will change your mindset, and you can start applying the lessons straight away in your business.
And to be honest, it has to be a MUST read if you are committed to growing your business.
My next book for you is Little Black Stretchy Pants by Chip Wilson, founder of LuluLemon.
Chip shares his journey starting as an early school leaver working in the oil fields to becoming the founder of a massive leisurewear empire.
He was eventually squeezed out of his own companies as investors came on board and changed the company culture into one he didn’t like.
Little Black Stretchy Pants talks about how culture impacts a company, from the culture you create as a solopreneur to every person you hire.
I keep this in mind all the time when I’m growing the team, because I want people who have the same mindset as we move forward.
One of the other key takeaways in this book was an idea that Chip took with him to the oil fields which was reading through the list of the top 100 books of all time. One of those books was a book that blew my mind and it’s my next recommendation for you.
Atlas Shrugged, a novel written by Ayn Rand.
Ayn Rand was a highly philosophical author who championed creativity, competition and human greatness. The book imagines a world where all the creative people and innovators have disappeared.
So yes, it’s a philosophical book but it’s more than that. It’s a story. One that will have you gripped at every point. Here’s a little taste from the promo for the book:
Who is John Galt? When he says that he will stop the motor of the world, is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battles not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves?
You will discover why a productive genius becomes a worthless playboy…why a great steel industrialist is working for his own destruction…why a composer gives up his career on the night of his triumph…why a beautiful woman who runs a transcontinental railroad falls in love with the man she has sworn to kill.
I loved this book. Written in 1957 you will be surprised by the parallels in today’s world. Give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed. And yes, it will make you think differently about your business.
Next we have Scramble, How Agile Strategy Can Build Epic Brands in Record Time by Marty Neumeier.
A wonderful book from my all time favourite writer on all things brand. In fact you’ll have seen me quote Marty Neumeier many times if you’ve ever worked with me.
Marty calls this book a business thriller and he’s right – I couldn’t put it down. It’s about company CEO David Stone, who has to build a turnaround plan for his company in five weeks or he’s out of a job. But he has already tried every trick in the book. Can he deliver?
If you’ve read Marty’s other work you’ll see the ideas proposed in those books brought to life in story form here. It’s fabulous and reminded me of just why I love his work. It’s an easy read and one I can see myself returning to time and again as I’ll get something different each time.
Fun Holiday Books
There always has to be light relief whether you are on holiday or you need something to wind down to. Now, this is all about personal taste and mine ranges from fluff to meditative and anywhere in between. Here I’ve focused on Fun and I’d love to hear your recommendations too.
We’ll start with A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.
It’s pure escapism, full of witches and vampires but we all need a little escapism don’t we?
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.
From a marketing perspective I love this opening piece that is repeated throughout the series of books and also brought to life in the TV adaptation too.
I appreciate it from a copy perspective and yep I always get a little marketing insight no matter what I read!
Just imagine a little piece of language that gets to the heart of what you do… that you can use time and time again… and one which embeds a message deeply with your audience.
I know mine. What would yours be?
My next light read for you is This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.
It’s about Claude. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Claude’s family want him to be whoever he wants to be, but they’re not sure they’re ready to share it with the world.
Then one day, Claude’s world explodes.
And let me quote Reese Witherspoon here who recommends this in her book club: Every once in a while, I read a book that opens my eyes in a way I never expected’.
It is a book that every parent should read. A pleasure… a gift and an insight into transformation, identity, truth and family. It made me want to grow wings. And more, it gave me hope.
My next recommendation is The Art of Forgetting, by Camille Pagan.
I’ve read all of Camille’s books and love them all. The one I’m going to highlight for you today is called The Art of Forgetting.
It’s about Marissa Rogers and her friendship with the bright and brilliant Julia who suffers a brain injury in a car accident.
It’s about identity, relationships and how dynamics can change in a friendship when something significant happens. It is both thought provoking and enjoyable.
It is also about reinvention and I always love a little reinvention whether real or in fiction. I loved it. Let me know what you think.
Our final fun holiday book is The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter.
The morning of her niece’s wedding, Margo Just drinks a double martini and contemplates the many mistakes she’s made in her fifty-odd years of life. Spending three decades in love with a wonderful but unattainable man is pretty high up on her list of missteps, as is a long line of unsuccessful love affairs accompanied by a seemingly endless supply of delicious cocktails.
Then Margo’s niece jilts her fiancé and runs off with a valuable family heirloom and she goes on a road trip in a borrowed 1955 MG to track her down.
I loved this book. It was just pure fun and something you can pick up and put down easily, in between reaching for that glass of wine or frappacino 🙂 .
So, whether you’re headed for the sun or just chilling out in the back garden, do have a wonderful break. And I hope my suggestions for holiday books and courses will keep you entertained, with lots of enriching experiences.
And finally, I’d love to hear your favourite reads whether they are light, philosophical or business related.
I love to add new styles and types of books to my repertoire.
It gives me new perspectives every time.
And there is no better way of doing that than through a recommendation.
Please share yours with me in the comments below.
I love to work with businesses, both large and small to help them create sustainable business dreams... Brand and Strategy are at the heart of everything I do and that gets rolled out digitally and across any channel where your customer lives.