Top 3 Marketing & Business reads of 2015


2016 is here and what a great time to re-cap 2015. I’m always on the lookout for great books marketing/business related or not. These books’ in particular gave me a different perspective & were memorable enough to keep me referring back to them throughout the year. So in descending order:

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg*
(Recommended to me by Rosie of fantastic Irish start-up GoCambio)

As a working women, this book opened my eyes to the subconscious bias (not in favour of women) in the workplace. Sheryl is a very eloquent writer and tackles this subject very well whilst giving very personal supporting examples. My favourite was when Sheryl was working at Google rushing to a meeting, could not find a parking space & instead had to walk quite a distance to the building heavily pregnant, puffing & panting. Afterwards, she marched into Larry Pages’ office and demanded pregnancy parking, this she said was a moment of insight for her not realising how workplace parking(or lack of) would cause difficulty to pregnant women(who were not in a position to request changes).

After reading this book I can say with pride I am a feminist and all the positivity that comes with that, not societies view of it (e.g. bra burning loons) but wanting instead gender equality for women in and out of the workplace and the importance of backing yourself. I highly recommend this book for any working woman(or man) and for those who want more see  & join an online community dedicated to helping all women achieve their ambitions.

*Side note: I must also offer my condolences to Sheryl as she unexpectedly lost her beloved husband in May 2015 & made this heartfelt post to facebook on her loss.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek
This is a fantastic book, I first discovered Simon from his TED talk (watch here) it’s 20 mins long but worth it. This book expands on his talk when you “Start with Why” you connect with people better and companies that start with why have a stronger market position. Giving examples like Martin Luther King and Apple as people and companies using why to share their  vision and mission (I believe & challenging the status quo). By connecting with people in this way it doesn’t matter what you sell, whatever product/service you sell people will use that as a way to express themselves and what they stand for. He para-phases this wonderfully saying:

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”
Tweet Quote

What was fascinating for me was the golden circle (illustrated below). Simply put the decision-making “feeling” portion of our brain, the limbic brain is not responsible for language, the “rational” the Neocortex is. So when our limbic brain makes a decision (it feels right) our neocortex rationalises it. Think about how hard it is answer why you love your partner, they complete me is a vague way of explaining so we rationalise by say they are smart, witty etc. but they alone were not the reason we picked them.

Limbic Brain

So whether you are looking to found a start-up or are just looking to improve your productivity I recommend this book. Reading this book helped me focus more on the “why” of a business campaign/project or whatever I was working on, helping to boil the topic right down (in conjunction with effective questioning). By frontloading this work at the beginning, it really helped save time in the long run and the campaigns/projects connected better with their chosen target audience.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
This book was fascinating and highlighted to me the difference of working “in a business” to working “on a business” this is very interesting whether you are self-employed or not. He uses an example throughout of a struggling coffee shop owner to help highlight certain examples from working in her business too much and not on it, to effective delegation (at some point be able to take a step back and let your business work for you too).

He also highlights McDonalds as an excellent example of a turn-key business, stressing how important it is to set-up processes to make sure your work/results are consistent. This has helped me immensely in my 9-5 daily work planning & productivity levels.

The next 3 books I have on my list for 2016 are: 

Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
Rising Strong by Brene Brown

Thanks for reading! If you have some recommend books drop me your suggestion in the comments below I’m always for my next read.