As the year comes to an end I wanted to share with you some of the better marketing and business books I read this year.
Most of them were not published this year. They are nonetheless, in my opinions, staples that will not go out of style. If you are looking for worthwhile reads during the holidays any of these will hopefully inspire you to start doing some things a bit differently in 2015.
Here are my 2014 Best reads
This is Service Design Thinking
The official authors are Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider. However, applying its own technique, Service Design Thinking has in fact dozens of authors.
Aptly titled, this book takes a new look at how to create new services.
The book has three sections: the basics of design thinking, the tools to put it into application and some real life case studies.
Like many of the books you will see in this review, Service Design Thinking is a user-centered approach which puts forth the notion that designing or developing a new service is a continuous process composed of a sequence of interrelated actions. The design techniques promote co-creativity or the use of everyone’s input, not just the subject matter experts. Many of its tools help service designers to visualise intangible notions such as user needs. Finally it uses a holistic approach where the entire environment of a new service should be taken into consideration during the creation process.
Although the book focuses on service creation it’s approach and tools can easily be used for not only new product creation but also managing your entire business.
These previous posts
- Understanding your customers’ needs
- Value Proposition Design
- Personas: Useful marketing tools
- Business models and agile selling
were inspired by This is Service Design Thinking.
Business Model Generation
Busines Model Generation is a collaborative work that was written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur from the findings of almost 500 practitioners. In fact not only is the technique to write a business plan described in their book unique so is the process they used to write the book and the manner in which it is presented. The authors had the brilliant idea to organise symposiums in various countries where paying participant wilfully contributed to the book’s content. The other revolutionary approach is in the way it is presented. Despite dealing with the serious, and some might say a boring topic of business plans, Business Model Generation almost looks like a comic book when you open it as it is full of drawings.
The major take away from this read is not only how to fill the business model canvas but even more importantly the notion that business planning is not a static process but one that needs to constantly be tuned with the business’ environment.
were in par inspired by Business Model Generation
The Lean Startup
The Lean Starup from Eric Ries (one of the most brilliant business mind of our times imho) does not bring any new concepts into the game. It does however bring many of the best business management concepts to come along in the past few decades in a way that is highly useful to any business evolving in a fast changing environment.
As its title suggests Lean Startup takes some of its inspiration from lean management developed by Toyota. The main concept taken from lean being that any actions company workers pose should bring value to your customers. Concepts also integrated into The Lean Startup are agile product development, design thinking and business model generation.
I dedicated an entire post to the good, the bad and the ugly parts of The Lean Startup
Value Proposition Design
The second born of Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (as well as two other authors) came from their observation of thousands of people filling out the business model canvas. One of the most difficult squares of the canvas to fill is definitely the value proposition one. The value proposition you offer your customers is the heart of your business. Without a solid value proposition your business’ chance of survival are very slim.
This book shows a methodology to develop your value proposition that is focused on your customers’ needs instead of your product’s attributes.
A previous post Value Proposition Design – A new light on an old concept offers a full review.
Lean Analytics written by Allistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz was born from the Lean Startup movement.
This book will not teach you analytics. It is meant to show you how to use analytics according to your type of business. It has many quick recipes (hacks) that will do the job very nicely to help you better understand how your business is doing. It does prone the use of the ‘’one metric that kills’’ which, in my opinion, is not suited for every type of business or even for a business at various development stage. However if any of your sales come directly or indirectly from the web this is a must read.
I have read the book once after borrowing it from the library but need to read it over again before I write a post inspired from its content.
This concludes my list of best business reads for 2014. I thank you for taking the time to read my posts this year.
I wish you and the ones who are close to you relaxing holidays and a 2015 filled with health, happiness and marketing success.
Techno Marketing Blog will take a break during the holidays and be back at the beginning of the new year.
Je vous souhaite, ainsi qu’à ceux qui vous sont chers, de très joyeuses fêtes et une année 2015 remplie de santé, de bonheur et de prospérité.
Techno Marketing fera une pose pendant les fêtes et sera de retour au début de la nouvelle année.