Recommended Books

my fave five


There are a lot of books on this list but I’ve picked my top five faves to highlight here at the top.
These are the ones I recommend time and time again.
If you want to share your faves or chat about these, let me know!

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition Revised Edition

by Robert Cialdini

A classic in the consumer behavior/ decision-making genre. Time-constraints, implied scarcity, price-quality assumptions, etc. The underlying aspects of human biases and how marketers can use this info effectively are explained with great examples.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

by Michael Gerber

I was so lucky (thank you universe!) to pick this book off the shelf when we first started our web development business in 2001. It shaped my understanding of what it takes to run a business and made me jump right in when my husband wanted to start a business.

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice, Fifth Edition
by Alan Weiss

I was introduced to this book while supporting a Global Consulting Class at Wharton’s San Francisco campus. It’s been great for me and for my clients who are consultants. A key takeaway was the pricing strategy and tactics. Best one, offer a discount for full-prepayment.

The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus Into Your Life
by Thomas M. Sterner

Unlike the rest of the selections which all have a clear connection to business or marketing or consumer psychology. The author does a fabulous job of explaining why the process and practice is so important to building skills and ultimate success

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely

Another one on my favorite topic, consumer psychology! More recently written and by an academic with a strong emphasis on experimental studies to test hypotheses. Evidence is always good.

consumer behavior faves

Here are even more consumer behavior/psychology books.
Marketers need to understand how we make buying decisions and what can influence that process.
The authors are mostly academic types who’ve done the research but have written these books
for the business person reader.

Thaler, a Nobel Laureate, came to the topic via economics, while others in this section came via psychology.
They all provide excellent insights into the lovely weirdness of human decision-making.

Thinking Fast & Slow
by Daniel Kahneman

A new classic in the consumer behavior genre. Danny Kahneman partnered with Amos Tversky for ground-breaking work in this area. This book gives an overview of the differences human’s make when they have to make quick decisions versus when they have time to fully process. We often extend those quick decision heuristics to other situations with mixed results.

The Paradox of Choice
by Barry Schwartz

Another classic (in a revised edition)! Some consumers want to find the very best option. Others are fine with ‘satisficing’. This book details the challenges we have in a world of nearly unlimited choices and how to balance these two options so that you aren’t caught up in analysis paralysis in decision-making. Marketers can use the ideas to update the narrative of their offers.

Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
by Robert Cialdini

By the time a consumer is at the store to purchase, they’ve likely made up their mind. What are the levers of influence before that moment? Cialdini (who wrote one of the top Fave Five) is a terrific translator of academic research to useful business application.

Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information
by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

This book by Stanford professor, Itamar Simonson, notes the shift in power from sellers to buyers with the advent of online reviews and easy access to product information.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
by Richard Thaler

You sat through econ classes and wondered why you didn’t make the perfect economic decisions when you went to the grocery store, right? This book explains it all. Humans have biases, heuristics and other values beyond the best economic value and it can’t all be captured in a utility function. Learn how experiments have led to a deeper understanding of what makes us tick in the context of buying (and other) decisions.

business inspiration faves


Founders, evangelists, legendary CEOs.

These books were written by those who can create value and loyalty. They share their inspirational stories. 

by Guy Kawasaki

This was the Bizerkeley Book Club’s first pick several years ago! Fun read to remind us of the power of enchanting customers. Written by Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s first evangelist, it reminds us to have fun and delight our customers!

Good to Great
by Jim Collins

I definitely have a few classics in this list and this book fits that bill. With a focus on leadership styles and corporate culture, this book find the approaches that allow companies to go from good to great!

Start with Why
by Simon Sinek

Like other books in this section, Start With Why, addresses leadership style and knowing your purpose. Although not explicitly calling for a servant-leader approach, several of these books identify the benefits of leaders who inspire without the showmanship we’ve come to expect in American business culture.

Delivering Happiness
by Tony Hsieh

I’ve got to admit that I didn’t love the first part of the book that chronicles Tony Hsieh’s life and lifestyle prior to delving into his transformation of Zappos. Once the Zappos story kicked in however, I was hooked! To be fair, other Bizerkely Book Club members love the whole thing (and some loved the first part more than the second!)

Anything you Want
by Derek Sivers

Although CD Baby (Sivers’ company) is no longer a household name for those outside the music industry, the lessons of building a a company that are compiled here are still relevant.