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The Three Books All Marketers Need on Their iPads This Summer

Ahh, “summer reading” . . .

Who can resist the lure of a good book while sitting at the beach, lounging by the pool or jetting off for a well-deserved vacation?

If you’re like me, though, it’s difficult to leave the office completely behind, and whenever I have a bit of  downtime for reading, I like to catch up on business books that can add dimension to my marketing view.

Don’t groan.

Not all business books are the dry tomes we (somehow) conquered in our Intro to Marketing class in college. Many, many are quite enjoyable; they entertain and inspire –even as they educate.

For example, let me recommend three of my recent favorites, any of which would be a valuable addition to your beach bag, pool tote or in-flight carry-on:

1.  Switch: How to Drive Change When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

Given the current dynamic of rapidly proliferating channels and variable internal constraints, marketers have no choice but to embrace change. But, let’s be honest: being the change agent isn’t always easy.  In Switch, brothers Chip and Dan Heath, present an analysis of why we often fear change and what we can do to modify our behaviors to start moving in a new direction.

As the authors explain:

“In our research, we studied people trying to make difficult changes: People fighting to lose weight and keep it off. Managers trying to overhaul an entrenched bureaucracy. Activists combating seemingly intractable problems such as child malnutrition. They succeeded–and, to our surprise, we found striking similarities in the strategies they used. They seemed to share a similar game plan. We wanted, in Switch, to make that game plan available to everyone, in hopes that we could show people how to make the hard changes in life a little bit easier.”

2. Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes, by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton.

Strategy Maps evolved from Kaplan and Norton’s ongoing research with hundreds of Balanced Scorecard adopters across the globe, and it’s a book that has truly transformed how I set strategy. Strategy Maps is a toolkit, of sorts, and using the methods described, I find that I’m better equipped to navigate the multi-stakeholder environment that’s now commonplace for me (and all CMOs).

3. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, by Seth Godin.

No summer reading list for marketers would be complete without a book by Seth Godin. Poke the Box was released earlier this year. But, my all-time favorite remains Tribes. I come back to this book again and again, whenever I need to be re-inspired by Godin’s unconventional take on leadership. Tribes encourages us to throw away the old rules and embrace the possibilities offered by a new world of engaging and communication.

Remember: Even marketers get to kick back a little now and then.  Enjoy your summer. Relax. And, take along a few good books to help re-invigorate your approach. You’ll come back to work refreshed and ready to hurdle the challenges that inevitably lie ahead.