I’ve read a load of business books in my time. I’ve even read some all the way through, although research suggests most business books don’t get read beyond the seventh page.

I don’t know if that says more about the reader than the author, but hopefully you’ll find these five both useful and engaging. I certainly got something out of all of them, which is why I recommend them to you.

Eating the Big Fish – Adam Morgan

https://amzn.to/2l2dwHZ – Although, in the digital age, ideas are out of date by the time most of us have adopted them, there are still a few business books whose basic message remains relevant whatever. Eating the Big Fish is one of them.

Although it’s in a new, second edition, even that was published in 2009. Adam Morgan, in fact wrote the original way back in 1999, yet it still hold true. Apart from being insightful – predicting the demise of the advertising agency model and the rise of consultancies – it’s the perfect guide for anyone entering an already occupied market with a new brand.

Cascades – Greg Satell

https://amzn.to/2kCsLav. Cascades by comparison is a relatively recent publication. I like it because it’s a forensic study of the influence of “movements” in affecting change. It thereby supports my own belief that brands are the driver of success in the digital age. But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself.

My only concern, in recommending it is that it’s a bit heavy-going at times. If English isn’t your first language you might struggle to grasp some of Greg’s theories, but it’s worth persevering, because it’s important we all understand this stuff.

Digital @ Scale – Meffert and Swaminathan

https://amzn.to/2kU3Tv5 Digital @ Scale was published in 2017, but still represents the current state of thinking around the subject of digital transformation. It highlights the realities of transformation – the size of the task, the resistance transformation receives – but it also makes it quite clear why transformation isn’t optional for any business and how important it is for those who haven’t already started to get a move on.

It also builds a clear case for brands as the drivers of transformation and explains some of the practical aspects of the innumerable smaller projects within the bigger project.

Rebel Ideas – Matthew Syed

https://amzn.to/2kCNFGs. As its title suggests, this is a book about innovation. I advise my audiences that, in the digital economy, any business is only as good as its NEXT big idea. With the world turning so quickly these days, and apparently still speeding up, innovation has to be at the very core of any business.

However, this isn’t just a marketing book. It’s not even a business book really, it’s a book about human frailty, psychology and the need we all have to shake off the shackles of convention. A lesson we all should learn if we want to survive the digital economy.

Scoring Points – Clive Humby

https://amzn.to/2m7bzu8 Originally published in 2003, this is another pretty old publication, but it provides really valuable insights into the principles of customer loyalty while charting the success of what has been the UK’s most successful retail loyalty programme of all time.

Clive Humby is half of the duo that founded the DunnHumby consultancy and created the Tesco supermarket loyalty programme. There are insights on every page and while, in some cases, the context is a little outdated, I urge you to look beyond that to the reasoning behind what they did, their inventiveness and especially some of the lessons it contains on segmentation. There is definitely still much to learn from this book and it’s an easy read.

Phil Darby
September 23, 2019

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