Okay, just a short post on what I’ve been reading this year. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but maybe it’ll give you some ideas on what to read next.

Maybe this is the year we start re-writing/re-thinking the laws of marketing and business. Not just because of the economy and the crap that’s been happening the last few years (okay, on second thought, maybe they aren’t unrelated), we’ve started to move beyond the “Four P’s” and “Centralization v. Decentralization” conversations that have dominated the landscape for decades. Let’s get to the business of selling and leading by understanding. Yes, Covey got there first, but he’s a cult leader because he wants you to buy his Covey-branded organizer. This is a broader movement, taken by many in different directions, but under the banner of “Not better marketing, better products because of better understanding of the audience” and “No more ‘Us v. Them’ because we are all ‘Us!'”

Best Book of the Year: The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron & Dave Logan. Maybe the thing I like best about this book is that it is 200 pages. It doesn’t dawdle. It doesn’t try to impress you with a million examples. It’s not trying to pad the story along. It’s written with the confidence of two people who aren’t trying to curry your favor or win your respect. They know something you don’t and are willing to tell you if you’ve got the ears to listen. I want to send this book to every manager I’ve ever met and say, “No! Really! There is a better way!”

Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott. I know, crazy, right? Managers should stop parsing words and covering their asses, get their hands dirty with the “employees” and show some real candor. Maybe the name of this new era should be called “The End of Ego.”

Brain Audit/Masterclass by Sean D’Souza (psychotactics.com). I can’t tell if this guy is insane or just insanely great. It’s a tough call. Either way, he’s eating his own dog food with a big fork laughing the whole way home.

Tribes by Seth Godin. What else could I say about this book that someone else hasn’t (which is probably the antithesis of the internet, right)?

Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik. Google should invent a pop-up application that’s embedded in Google Analytics a la “Clippy” that’s just an animated head of Avinash telling you what to do next. It will be full of chirpy wisdom that sounds like it was recorded by a helium-addled Robin Williams but actually help you. It will tell you to look for your BFFs and study your bounce rate. I will admit that I will repeatedly go to the definition page just to hear him tell me what the definition of a bounce is and crank the speaks up. Â This guy is the Oprah of Web Analytics. If you aren’t reading him, you are only pretending to know what you’re talking about.

The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators by Eric T. Peterson. About as “getting your hands dirty with details” as a book can get, but it is full of smart ideas on how (and what) numbers to present.

The 50th Law of Power 50 Cent and Robert Green. I know. I didn’t think it would be any good, either.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.
  • Cult of Analytics by Steve Jackson.
  • Same Game New Rules by Bill Caskey (Despite it being from 2003).

Hey! Where the hell is Tom Peters? I miss that maniac.