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Pure Visibility Bookshelf

We created a Pure Visibility Bookshelf (Amazon Associates Link) to share the books we use and often recommend. We’re voracious readers so the list will surely grow – this “starter” list represents some of our all time favorites and current reads.

On Entrepreneurship
MASTERING THE ROCKEFELLER HABITS: This book is our handbook for being – we follow the one page plan, hold quarterly meetings, daily standups, etc. This is the closest thing to a how-to manual for business we’ve seen.

SMALL GIANTS: If you believe that business has a higher purpose than just making money, this book is for you. Bo does a great job of presenting his research on really neat companies and the common threads that make them Small Giants.

THE KNACK: I wish I’d had this book starting out in business. You, too, can have the knack and Bo and Norm are great teachers to learn it from!

THE E-MYTH: Perhaps “the” classic for any new entrepreneur growing from a team of 1 to 1+. This book created the mantra “Work ON the business, not just IN the business.”

GOOD TO GREAT: Jim Collins has done an amazing amount of research on successful businesses (publicly held ones, because there’s more data accessible to analyze) and found some incredible similarities. You’ll hear the phrases he’s coined in Rockefeller Habits and elsewhere such as the “Hedgehog concept” and “Get the right people on the bus”.

Corporate Culture
STRENGTHS FINDER: Way more than a book, this includes an online survey that provides an assessment of strengths. Once you’ve completed the survey you’ll get tips for supporting those strengths personally, as teammates, and as leaders. Buy this for your whole team. (We did!)

DELIVERING HAPPINESS: This book by Zappo’s CEO makes a nice complement to Small Giants, focusing on how creating a happy corporate culture leads to happy clients and a happy bottom line.

REWORK: The focus of the founders of 37Signals on keeping things simple is refreshing. Even the book is simple – you can polish it off in an afternoon. (We also love their project management tool, Basecamp.)

GUIDE TO GIVING GREAT SERVICE: Zingerman’s wrote the book on great service – both figuratively and literally. Personally, I’d recommend checking out their service (and the food) first hand. And while you’re in Ann Arbor, stop by and say hi!

DRIVE: Daniel Pink’s research flies in the face of conventional wisdom about carrots and sticks, making this a must read. (And if you’ve got a teenager at home, this book will prove to be priceless.)

Selling Online
TRUST AGENTS: Chris’s book is the most comprehensive primer I’ve seen on what makes online marketing “tick”. The focus is largely on social media, but it’ll get you on the right track.

PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL: This book wasn’t written to be about selling online, but the message couldn’t be more relevant. Understanding buying behavior is critical to selling online. As someone once explained to me, if consumers strictly chose rationally, no one would carry American Express (higher fees, used in fewer places, etc.) This book puts research you can use behind why we make those choices.

Getting Visible
SEARCH ENGINE INC: To sell anything online, you’ve first got to get in front of the right people. This 400 page book is the most comprehensive reference to the mechanics of search engine marketing you’ll find.

SEARCH ENGINE VISIBILITY: Back in the day when we were answering questions at networking meetings like “What’s a Google”? Shari wrote what must have been one of the first books on search engine marketing. This 2nd edition of her original is still a good primer on visibility.

WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION: This book bridges a lot of categories, with about half of it dedicated to making your site visible. We’re a bit biased about the quality of this book, given that we contributed the two chapters on paid search. That said, if you’re just getting started we’d recommend the books above first – this is definitely a technical read.

Websites That Work
DON’T MAKE ME THINK: This classic came out when I was designing my first websites, and the general principles in it remain just as true today. Generally speaking, the simpler it is to make a transaction on your site (e-commerce or otherwise) the more results you’ll generate from your site.

WEB ANALYTICS 2.0: If Avinash writes it – read it. He believes passionately in the power of data to transform marketing – as we do! The bulk of our work these days is collecting data and making the case for site changes that ultimately help users and drive bottom line results. It’s a big, huge deal and most of your competitors aren’t paying attention to these kinds of details. THIS is how you create competitive advantage in today’s online world.

And that’s the perfect book to close out this initial list with, given that it captures the essence of what we love about online marketing!

P.S. In full disclosure: If you purchase any of these books through our store, the bookworms among us thank you – you’ll be fueling our reading and book sharing fund. Thanks! :-)

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