Reading List

I was inspired by a page I stumbled upon via a Tweet to catalog the books I have read and am reading. I’m probably missing some (and everything before 2015).



Book cover for the Harvard Business Review book "HBR's 10 Must Reads: On Managing Yourself"

HBR’s 10 Must Reads: On Managing Yourself

by Harvard Business Review, Peter Ferdinand Drucker, Clayton M. Christensen, Daniel Goleman

The book contains several articles from HBR on better ways to be more productive, individually. The one idea that really stuck with me was the idea of focusing more on energy management and less on time management.

Why I read it: I wanted to start 2016 being more productive.

Steve Jobs

by Walter Isaacson

I listened to the audio version of this book from The book is an intriguing and entertaining look at one of the most iconic entrepreneurs of our age.

Why I listened to it: required reading for IEM 611: Leading Technical Organizations.

Measure of a Leader: The Legendary Leadership Formula for Producing Exceptional Performers and Outstanding Results

by Aubrey C. Daniels and James E. Daniels

I probably would have never picked up this book if it was not required for class, but it has really made me think about my approach to work and parenting. In a nutshell, the book argues that immediate positive feedback is the best way to manage and teach.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 611: Leading Technical Organizations

The Phoenix Project

by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

I listened to this audiobook fable of an individual getting promoted in a lackluster IT organization and turning it around. The concept of the book and the concepts in the book owe much to Eliyahu Goldratt’s “The Goal.”

Why I listened to it: on the recommendation of a friend.

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist Thiel urges readers to create a company like nothing before it – don’t start a dry cleaning business; start something like Paypal before there was a Paypal.

Why I read it: the Internet was ablaze with its praises; also a required book for IEM 625: Technology and Innovation


by Marcus Aurelius

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote several reminders to himself of his beliefs and the things that he should remember daily, among them that life is finite.

Why I read it: several podcasters/guests recommended it.

Linked to Influence

by Stephanie Sammons

This is a very tactical book on how to use your LinkedIn profile for to build your business or career.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 602: Leading Collaborative Teams

Project Management Lite

by Juana Clark Craig, PMP

Another very tactical book that advocates for using the least amount of structure possible to manage project.

Why I read it: Required reading for IEM 612: Project Leadership; I also thought it would help for the class project

How to Be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More, and Love What You Do

by Graham Allcott

This is a post-Getting Things Done (David Allen)

Why I read it: the IEM program director suggested it on a coaching call

The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy

by Chris Bailey

Bailey is a student and practitioner of productivity, going so far as doing a year of experiments to increase his productivity. For instance, he compared his productivity working a standard schedule, working several hours more than standard, and several hours less than standard. It’s a very interesting listen.

Why I listened to it: on the recommendation of Rob Walling in a Startups for the Rest of Us episode

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World

by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Diamandis and Kotler compare linear and exponential innovations, declare the next big areas of innovation, and give strategies on how one could push bold innovation.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 625: Technology and Innovation

The Lean Startup

by Eric Ries

Ries recounts his experience building his startup’s product and generalizes the learning into an abstract framework to help entrepreneurs iterate on an idea.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 625: Technology and Innovation

Winning the Story Wars: Why those who tell – and live – the best stories will rule the future

by Jonah Sachs

Sachs presents the idea that humans respond to simple stories and that businesses and individuals who can tell their story will be the ones at the top of consumers’ minds.

Why I read it: recommended reading for IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

by Nir Eyal

The book presents the mindset that carefully-designed interactions with your customers that satisfy base needs plant the seed for future interactions with your customers, thereby hooking your customers on your product. Eyal also devotes one of the eight chapters to the morality of building addictive products.

Why I read it: many, many recommendations.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

Sinek argues that great organizations lead from WHY, not HOW or WHAT.

Why I read it: the IEM program has me thinking about WHY

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Bronson and Merryman look at science relating to several different topics relating to parenting, including praising children, sleep, and lying.
Why I read it: I want to be a good parent.

In Process

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

by Jake Knapp

This is another tactical book about using design sprints of small teams to make big decisions and answer important questions through prototype and testing with real people.

Why I’m reading it: I am trying to see what I can use from it to help validate ideas (even though I’m not an X-person company).

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World

by Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

The authors contend that individuals and organizations can use simple rules to better operate inside a complex world.

Why I’m reading it: on the recommendation of a friend and because my life is too complex already

The Problem of Pain

by C.S. Lewis

I’m only a chapter into this much-harder-to-read-than-Chronicles-of-Narnia read, but Lewis is driving at the idea that believing in a higher power is what introduces the morality that believes pain is wrong.

Why I’m reading it: a friend and I are reading it together

Smart Parenting for Smart Kids

by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD and Mark S. Lowenthal, PsyD

The authors offer strategies and tactics for helping children grow up to their maximum potential.

Why I’m reading it: my two children are already smarter than me and I need all the help I can get

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull gives the Pixar history and the leadership and management principles/strategies/tactics that allowed Pixar to become a wonderful storytelling organization.

Why I’m listening to it: I admire Pixar for the level of excellence and craftsmanship that they have achieved with every release. In listening, I am hearing several ideas that would be applicable to software development projects and entrepreneurship.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph. D.

Cialdini goes into the science of why people say yes.

Why I’m reading: the science is so interesting to me, plus the book has been recommended by untold numbers of podcasters and bloggers that I follow.

Thinking Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman’s point is that we all have two thinking processes – one is easier and faster and one is methodical slower – and being able to distinguish the two helps us make better decisions.

Why I’m reading it: I’m a total geek for this type of psychology

2015 Completed

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

If you haven’t read this book and you interact with other humans, you need to read this book. The Heath brothers describe their framework for effective communication – simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional stories.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

by Daniel H. Pink

Pink details the history of motivational thought and presents a framework for today: that individuals are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose over carrots and sticks.

Why I read it: I’m a geek for this kind of psychology

Death by Meeting

by Patrick Lencioni

Lencioni tells the story of how a couple of outsiders changed a company’s meetings from horrible and wasteful to fun and useful. The author is opinionated on what the ideal meetings look like, but the greater good of the book is having readers rethink what meetings are for and how they can be better.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

by Garr Reynolds

Reynolds’s overarching argument for the book is that less is more when it comes to the visual portion of presentations. He also suggests providing handouts for those cases when attendees could benefit from the information omitted from slides.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

Resumes are Worthless: How to Find the Work You Love and Succeed

by Dale Callahan

Not only is the title of this book wonderful (and true), but Dr. Callahan puts forth an operating framework to treat your career as a company to help you succeed. Much of the content from this book is echoed in the IEM program.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 620: Technical Entrepreneurship

The Design of Everyday Things

by Don Norman

Norman describes the differences between good and bad design. While examples may be of physical objects, the lessons apply to digital ones, as well.

Why I read it: fascination with how products are built and designed

What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

by Joe Navarro

While I can’t say that the book made me better at reading people in the moment, the information is very interesting.

Why I read it: recommended reading from IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

How to Deliver a TED Talk

by Jeremy Donovan

Donovan analyzes TED talks and imparts lessons to aspiring TED speakers.

Why I read it: recommended reading for IEM 610: Communication for Technical Professionals

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

by Seth Godin

Godin argues that there is opportunity in solidifying a group of individuals interested in a single thing around you and gives several examples of how people have created tribes.

Why I read it: required reading for IEM 620: Technical Entrepreneurship

Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence

by Tim Sanders

The title comes from a story from Sanders where his grandmother says that one is rich when he or she can give someone else something to help them. The book aims to inspire readers that they can be successful with the tools they have in hand today.

Why I read it: recommended reading for IEM 620: Technical Entrepreneurship

Exceeding Expectations: Reflections on Leadership

by General Bill Looney

General Looney recounts the leadership lessons he learned in a 40-year career with the U.S. Air Force.

Why I read it: I learned of General Looney when I changed jobs, and I was curious of his leadership style

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

by Mark Goulston

Goulston uses his training and experience supporting hostage negotiators to help readers learn how to navigate interactions with others.

Why I read it: I was drawn to the book because I believe that listening is an underutilized skill; I continued reading because of the science of communication

The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships

by Michael P. Nichols, Ph. D.

Nichols goes into the science and psychology of communication and listening in this how-to book.

Why I read it: I think that truly listening to people has wonderful outcomes

POWER Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All

by Bernard T. Ferrari

Ferrari makes a business case for strengthening your listening and mindfulness muscles to make better professional decisions.

Why I read it: in consulting, I have found that the ability to listen is paramount

Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others

by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas

The authors give several examples of questions and describe why they are helpful and in what circumstances. I can credit the book with giving me one of my favorite questions to ask.

Why I read it: asking questions goes hand-in-hand with listening as an undervalued skill

Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love

by Jonathan Fields

Fields describes his journey from burned-out lawyer to yoga business owner and gives the reader lessons to help their journey.

Why I read it: recommended reading for IEM 620: Technical Entrepreneurship

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

by Tim Ferris

Written by a man who works way more than four hours a week, this book gives strategies and tactics to help you work less in your business.

Why I read it: recommended reading for IEM 620: Technical Entrepreneurship