As the holiday season rolls around, I’m making three promises as a last-ditch effort to make Santa’s nice list.
Seriously, these types of posts are the kid leashes of content. Someone should write a script that automatically redirects any post that starts with a number here.
However, I’ll make a one-time exception to recommend this can’t miss reading for any eCommerce professional. While these books don’t explicitly speak about personalization, conversion rate optimization or eCommerce strategy, they cover far more fundamental questions at the heart of commerce.
Think of these books as the core freshman year curriculum for anyone in the business of selling goods online.
1) The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and The Age of Amazon, Brad Stone
I doubt this one needs much introduction. Brad Stone’s definitive history of the most disruptive company of our era is a must-read for any retailer competing against Amazon, making it a must-read for any retailer.
2) Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in An Age of Distraction, Derek Thompson
Move over Gladwell, there’s a new kid on the scene. Already the best eCommerce pundit in the business, Thompson wades into the murky world of social psychology brilliantly in his debut book, the perfect airport read. Minor spoiler alert: data scientists have proven that (most) major pop music sucks.
3) Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Happiness and Purpose, Tony Hsieh
Once upon a time, the idea of buying shoes online was downright unimaginable. Who would ever purchase such a visceral item without trying it on? From remaking the shoe industry to rebuilding Las Vegas, Tony Hsieh has consistently challenged the status quo and alongside Jeff Bezos, set the standard for customer centricity. His book, dripping with candor and wit, will challenge you to create better experiences for your shoppers.
4) Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game, Michael Lewis
eCommerce professionals competing against Amazon’s insane economy of scale can draw inspiration from the feisty Oakland A’s, a team known for challenging baseball’s elite on a fifth of the budget. In Moneyball, Lewis details how Oakland GM Billy Beane torpedoed decades of conventional wisdom in baseball, focusing instead on hard statistics to evaluate data. For any retailer trying to truly adopt a data-driven culture, Moneyball is 101.
5) Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari
You sell to humans, don’t you?
6) Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, Richard Thaler
Thaler won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research that shows shoppers to not quite be the paragons of reason we fancy ourselves as. The implications in retail are rampant and will help you optimize everything from in-store to displays to experiences in your mobile app.
7) Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin
Let’s face it- a major part of being a catalyst for innovation is managing the inevitable politics that come with implementing change. Nobody has handled this better in history than Abraham Lincoln. Team of Rivals is an incredible look at the best people manager to walk the Earth and among the most significant pieces of American non-fiction.
8) Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahnemann
To this date, this is the book I reference the most and we’ve made it essential reading for all employees of Dynamic Yield. Master your own thoughts and all else will follow.