2023 Book Recommendations

I love reading. As a fellow innovator, I’ll bet you do too. I’ve found that the right book can fundamentally change your understanding of things. Shape your mind in new ways. Every week, I feature a book I found interesting in my weekly newsletter. The topics ranged from innovation to creativity, to design thinking, to customer experience, to business modeling, to brainstorming, as well as recommendations on envisioning the future: predicting, embracing, and surviving change.

What if almost everything you know about creating a culture of innovation is hindering your progress? What if the way you are measuring innovation is choking it? What if your market research is focusing on the wrong metrics? It’s time to innovate the way you innovate. Innovation isn’t just about generating occasional new ideas; it’s about staying consistently one step ahead of the competition.

 

 

America was once the world’s dream factory. We turned imagination into reality, from curing polio to landing on the Moon to creating the internet. And we were confident that more wonders lay just over the horizon: clean and infinite energy, a cure for cancer, computers and robots as humanity’s great helpers, and space colonies. (Also, of course, flying cars.) Science fiction, from The Jetsons to Star Trek, would become fact.

 

 

In the fast-paced world we inhabit, there is a pressing need to cultivate essential skills that are indispensable for success. In an era riddled with fake news, social media, and information overload, the abilities of critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving stand out as the most crucial skills to master.

 

 

AI is much more than a sexy marketing gimmick. At its core, it’s a powerful business tool that can make operations and decision-making more efficient, employees more productive, and customers delighted.

 

 

Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes

Every investment plan under the sun is, at best, an informed speculation of what may happen in the future, based on a systematic extrapolation from the known past. Same as Ever reverses the process, inviting us to identify the many things that never, ever change.

 

 

Success through Failure: The Paradox of Design

Success through Failure shows us that making something better―by carefully anticipating and thus averting failure―is what invention and design are all about. Petroski explores the nature of invention and the character of the inventor through an unprecedented range of both everyday and extraordinary examples

 

 

Today’s innovation challenges are complex. Solving them requires diverse teams and a common understanding of thinking frameworks, processes, and tools. In Fire Up Innovation, you’ll discover a proven game plan to ignite your team’s innovation engine. You learn how to collaborate successfully by embracing all diversity and building support to sustain a team through the innovation process.

 

 

Hidden Potential examines the critical art of rethinking: learning to question your opinions and open other people’s minds, which can position you for excellence at work and wisdom in life

 

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making

Tony Fadell led the teams that created the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Learning Thermostat and learned enough in 30+ years in Silicon Valley about leadership, design, startups, Apple, Google, decision-making, mentorship, devastating failure, and unbelievable success to fill an encyclopedia.

 

Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results

Clear Thinking gives you the tools to recognize the moments that have the potential to transform your trajectory, and reshape how you navigate the critical space between stimulus and response. As Parrish shows, we may imagine we are the protagonists in the story of our lives. But the sad truth is, most of us run on autopilot.

Age of Invisible Machines: A Practical Guide to Creating a Hyperautomated Ecosystem of Intelligent Digital Workers

Age of Invisible Machines is the first best-selling book about conversational AI and the current AI revolution—having predicted the moment we’re in with the ChatGPT revolution.

Surrounded by Idiots

Do you ever think you’re the only one making any sense? Or tried to reason with your partner with disastrous results? Do long, rambling answers drive you crazy? Or does your colleague’s abrasive manner rub you the wrong way?

Elon Musk

From the author of Steve Jobs and other bestselling biographies, this is the astonishingly intimate story of the most fascinating and controversial innovator of our era—a rule-breaking visionary who helped to lead the world into the era of electric vehicles, private space exploration and artificial intelligence. Oh, and took over Twitter.

Productize: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Professional Services into Scalable Products

More and more traditional professional services firms are turning to “productization” to grow, improve valuations, and fend off new digital-first competitors. However, many will fail and waste a lot of money.For companies that deliver highly customized services, new product development and commercialization are often outside of their core skills, processes, and mindsets. Productizing services typically requires organizations to think differently about how they work and how they create value for their customers. This change does not come easily.

Beyond the Champion: Institutionalizing Innovation Through People

Beyond the Champion argues that innovation is a talent all its own that requires distinct skills and expertise, just like finance or marketing. Viewing innovation as a discipline in its own right, it is easy to see that breakthrough wins require an organizational design with clearly delineated roles, responsibilities, and career tracks for those who shoulder the responsibility for new products.

The Illusion of Money: Why Chasing Money Is Stopping You from Receiving It

This book is about eliminating the need to seek safety through the illusion of money, and learning to see ourselves for the perfection that we are–so that we can bring our gifts to the world in an authentic way, and allow ourselves to receive massive, true abundance as a result.

What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America

Innovation expert Ted Dintersmith took an unprecedented trip across America, visiting all fifty states in one school year. He originally set out to raise awareness about the urgent need to reimagine education to prepare students for a world marked by innovation–but America’s teachers one-upped him. All across the country, he met teachers in ordinary settings doing extraordinary things, creating innovative classrooms where children learn deeply and joyously as they gain purpose, agency, essential skillsets and mindsets, and real knowledge. Together, these new ways of teaching and learning offer a vision of what school could be―and a model for transforming schools throughout the United States and beyond. Better yet, teachers and parents don’t have to wait for the revolution to come from above. They can readily implement small changes that can make a big difference.

Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything―Even Things That Seem Impossible Today

In Imaginable, Jane McGonigal draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable. She invites us to play with the provocative thought experiments and future simulations she’s designed exclusively for this book.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind.

Sacred Economics, Revised: Money, Gift & Society in the Age of Transition

Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology

The Age of Scientific Wellness: Why the Future of Medicine Is Personalized, Predictive, Data-Rich, and in Your Hands

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future

Mixed Signals: How Incentives Really Work

Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will

Preparing for a World that Doesn’t Exist – Yet: Framing a Second Enlightenment to Create Communities of the Future

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

From What Is to What If: Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want

The Greatness Mindset: Unlock the Power of Your Mind and Live Your Best Life Today

My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising

Listen Like You Mean It: Reclaiming the Lost Art of True Connection

Ximena Vengoechea can show you how. In Listen Like You Mean It, she offers an essential listening guide for our times, revealing tried-and-true strategies honed in her research sessions and drawn from interviews with marriage counselors, podcast hosts, life coaches, journalists, filmmakers, and other listening experts.

Kites in a Hurricane: Startups from Cradle to Fame

Startups, even those started by mature founders, require a lot of monetary and intellectual investment in their entrepreneurial journey in terms of the development and collaboration of the ecosystem. There are a million stories out there of successes and failures, big and small startups, one-of-a-kind, and every kind of startup. However, one thing is common: the entrepreneurial journey is checkered with highs and lows, difficult decisions, roadblocks, perseverance, and lots of advice. Kites in a Hurricane is a book that describes how several startups innovatively used technology and entrepreneurial systems to solve the problems they faced daily when aspiring to build successful companies.

Empowered: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products

Most people think it’s because these companies are somehow able to find and attract a level of talent that makes this innovation possible. But the real advantage these companies have is not so much who they hire, but rather how they enable their people to work together to solve hard problems and create extraordinary products.

The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

A captivating look at how companies can foster office culture that fuels creativity, productivity, and a sense of belonging and community among employees. A must-read for the future of work.

Metanoia: The Step-by-Step Method of Becoming a Master Co-Creator

This book is a practical manual written in lucid western terms, that explains the method, the path, of realizing who you really are, what obstacles, will you find on that path and how to avoid or solve them.

Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation. 

Nail It Then Scale It is the first lean startup book to help entrepreneurs through the process of launching a high-growth company. The book includes not just high-level principles, but a distilled, step-by-step guide of key actions successful entrepreneurs take to reduce risk and increase success.

Winning the Right Game: How to Disrupt, Defend, and Deliver in a Changing World

How to succeed in an era of ecosystem-based disruption: strategies and tools for offense, defense, timing, and leadership in a changing competitive landscape.

Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas

From the meatpacking plants that inspired Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line to the domino theory that led America into Vietnam to the “bicycle for the mind” that Steve Jobs envisioned as the Macintosh computer, analogies have played a dynamic role in shaping the world around us—and still do today.

Reimagining Design: Unlocking Strategic Innovation

Kevin Bethune shows how design provides a unique angle on problem-solving—how it can be leveraged strategically to cultivate innovation and anchor multidisciplinary teamwork.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, and scientists. He discovered that generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable.

The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy, and Human Nature

The Daily Laws offer a page of refined and concise wisdom for each day of the year in an easy-to-digest lesson that will only take a few minutes to absorb. Each day also features a Daily Law—a prescription that readers cannot afford to ignore in the battle of life. Each month centers around a central theme: power, seduction, persuasion, strategy, human nature, toxic people, self-control, mastery, psychology, leadership, adversity, or creativity.