A short list of the books (and one newsletter) I read this year which were both good and had a practical impact on my life:
Biggest impact on thinking about cultural differences: The WEIRDest People in the World by Joseph Heinrich. I can’t remember who suggested it originally but it’s excellent. Mandatory reading for anyone doing business in more than one country. Just finishing the last chapter but easily most impactful read of the year.
Most useful history for understanding a current ecosystem: The Intel Trinity by Michael Malone. The emergence of the semiconductor space (from Bell Labs) and Intel is a brilliant historical document which explains much of Silicon Valley today. Worth reading in tandem with Sebastian Mallaby’s The Power Law.
Most helpful to prepare for presentations: Rationality (Steve Pinker) and Pre-Suasion (Robert Cialdini). I group Daniel Kahneman, Steven Pinker and Robert Cialdini together as the best writers to describe human biases, how they work and how they’re activated. Rationality came out this year but I’d slept on Pre-Suasion for a little while.
Most relevant for current media landscape: Like, Comment, Subscribe by Mark Bergen. The lowering of barriers (age, geography, device etc) to content creation, distribution and monetisation seems unstoppable. And although everyone likes to categorise YouTube as last generation, they learned a lot of lessons through their unprecedented growth.
Most consistently read blog/newsletter that I actually apply: Mobile Dev Memo by Eric Seufert. Eric is a brilliant mix of analytical and practical. I don’t think you can competently operate in the mobile landscape (either b2b or b2c) without having his newsletter and podcast in your life.
(If you’re curious, I post general reading here)