Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best Books of the Decade

Best Books of the Decade
What better way to round out the decade than declare the best
books I've read during this time.
So, how do you choose the best books you’ve read?
I felt I had to go with the ones that have changed how I see the world and how I act in it. Here’s my ten best books of the decade. Plus, how they’ve changed the way I live. Note: Non-Affiliate links to Amazon.

Chris Anderson: The Long Tail
This book changed how I saw business.
I’d been aware the digital world was changing business and this book pinpointed exactly how. Digital economics enables you to make a profit from things you previously couldn’t. It favours the niche. Plus, the tools of production are now in the hands of everyone. And, the internet is your pathway to worldwide distribution.
See Book Rapper issue: Make Money From Niches

James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds
This book changed how I saw my expertis
e. I’d always presumed that one smart person was better than a mob. Not so. With the help of digital technology and the internet, it's much easier to tap into the power of crowds. We can be right more often! This book also highlights the importance of community. And, the power of crowdsourcing.

Geoff Colvin: Talent is Overrated
This book changed how I work.
Previously, to work on something I would just do it. Now, the concept of Deliberate Practice says ‘no’. Instead, I design specific challenges to work on. I no longer work, I'm now constantly practising. For instance, I’m training myself to write shorter, sharper sentences. They’re now precise and concise. And, I’m on the lookout for zingy, zany and zippy words. Let me know if it works for you!
See Book Rapper issue: Anti-Self-Help

Brafman and Beckstrom: The Spider and the Starfish
This book changed how I see the internet.
It highlights how it’s reshaping how we organize people and ideas. The starfish model (decentralisation) is the new model of business. Think Ebay, Skype and Obama. And this has changed our entire model of leadership. Great metaphor and filled with enjoyable stories to illustrate their point.
See Book Ra
pper issue: Leaderful.

Stefan Klein: The Science of Happiness
This book changed how I think.
I used to think that happiness was lame. It was about becoming a pollyanna. Now I get the value of being happy. And, how I train my brain to respond over my lifetime. Personally, it’s great for my mind and body. Socially, it’s better for everyone. And, now I take different action. I exercise more. I socialize more. And, I think about how I want to feel. I’m happier as a result!

Mark and Pearson: The Hero and the Outlaw
This book changed how I saw branding.
I used to think it was all about sticking labels on products. Now, I see it as a way of living and being. This book gives a right-brained lens for branding through 12 major archetypes. You’ll find yourself in these pages. And, you’ll have a framework for creating your future.

Timothy Ferriss: The Four Hour Work Week
This book changed how I live and work.
The 40 hour work never appealed to me. I've had a full-time job less than 2 years of my life. I wanted to work on my stuff in my time in my way. Ferriss makes it okay to do this. And, he shows you how to make money at the same time. A life-changer!
See Book Rapper issue: The Four Hour JOLT!

Boye Lafayette De Mente: The Japanese Samurai Code
This book reminds me of Groundhog Day.
We think we’re living a brand new day with fresh new challenges and perhaps we’re not… The Samurai present a timeless tradition of being the best you can be. Every day! And, no matter what you're doing. This books highlights their values. And, why they’re still as important as ever. Read it to sharpen your compass.

Tom Peters: The Brand You
This book changed the way I relate to myself.
Previously, I was content to do the things I do. Now, I’m more aware of what I’m building and who I’m becoming. I love the style of this book. It’s filled with Tom’s personality. It’s a rant, a boisterous chant and actions aplenty that’ll make you pant… My favourite: To build your network, don’t eat lunch alone!

Robin, Dominguez and Tilford: Your Money or Your Life
This book changed my attitude to money.
I used to be a typical consumer buying stuff I often didn’t need. Now, I don’t. I don’t see the point. This has allowed me to live a comfortable lifestyle working on the things I love. Perhaps, you can too…

Which books of the past decade changed the way you see the world?
Add a comments and share your thoughts.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Free Chris Anderson!

No he’s not in jail. At least not that I know of...
Chris Anderson, author of “The Long Tail” is working on his next book “Free” – due out in 2009.

As is usual for most authors, a second book is going to be a continuation of their first in some form and Anderson follows this path.

The Long Tail (see Book Rapper Issue 1) showed that the economics of the web and digital products extends the potential for profit from mega-hits to micro-niches.
The previously unprofitable is now viable and there is virtually a market for everything.

‘Free’ zeroes in (sic!) on the web dynamics of digital distribution. If a product costs nothing to distribute then it can be given away to entice an audience.

The obvious question is… “If your product becomes ‘free’ then how do you make money?”

Here's four FREE strategies for you to consider...
  1. The typical model is to provide a basic service for free and charge for the premium one. For instance, Skype offers free web calls and charges for calls to mobiles or landlines. The power and weakness of this approach is the ability to build a huge market through the free offer and have enough scale to earn a living from the 1% who do pay. If you don’t get sufficient scale you go broke.
  2. The alternative is to presume that content is free and become a distributor instead. Think iTunes and call yourself an aggregator of content.
  3. Google has a third strategy – that old favourite, advertising. Whilst searching is free people pay for more prominence in the hope of attracting more eyeballs.
  4. A fourth model is shareware. Let people use your product and then they can pay if they want to. The web is a disruptive tool and ‘Free’ needs to be considered in your web strategy today. It may even change your entire business model. What are you giving away?
PS: No, I don’t think Anderson's book will be free, although it should be to prove his point. Seth Godin’s first book showed that ‘free’ works. Seth built a huge following by giving away his book in digital form and was still able to make some good sales when the book when physical some time later.

Some Resources

“Free” article as published in Wired Magazine
3 minutes of Chris Anderson on YouTube (video)

Cory Doctorow connects ‘Free’ and ‘The Long Tail’

Chris Anderson's blog

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson shows there is money to be made in very small niches.

The big shift has been in access to the Internet. Previously to make a good profit you needed high production volume and a best-selling product.

Now, through our PCs it’s easier to create things and the Internet gives us all access to global distribution.
There is almost any market, for any product, somewhere. Let your customers find you on the net.

This book shows you how to reinvent your business with the three forces Anderson identifies as driving The Long Tail:
  1. The Democratization of Production meaning that everyone has access to the tools of production,
  2. The Democratization of Distribution meaning that everyone has access to distribution via the Internet and,
  3. Connecting Supply and Demand meaning creating ways for customers to find the products you have for sale.
Get our RAP: Making Money From Niches

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