My Top Books 2019: Digital Transformation, Entrepreneurship, AI
One of my 2019 new year resolutions was to read more books.
and stated a reading challenge with a modest goal of finishing twelve books. I finished twenty-four, and many of these books are great reads for entrepreneurs, CIOs, and other digital transformation leaders.
What makes a good book? My favorites have a strong focus, come from a unique perspective, are easy to read/listen, deliver a clear message, back their hypotheses with data or testimonials, tell personal stories, and are concise.
Here are my favorites in three topics: (i) digital transformation leaders, (ii) startup founders and entrepreneurs, and (iii) AI and data.
My Top Books for Digital Transformation Leaders
Two books really stand out from my list for those leading digital transformation programs. I spent my earlier years working in the newspaper and magazine industry, including three years as CIO of Businessweek. I had a front-row seat to the publishing industry’s digital disruption and really enjoyed Ruth Reichl’s perspectives in her book,
. Reichl was the last editor of Gourmet Magazine and tells the story of the magazine’s heyday and its demise, partially due to digital disruption.
Then read Bob Iger’s book,
, where he tells the story of driving Disney through a fast-paced digital transformation from its acquisition of Pixar through Marvel, Star Wars, and 21st Century Fox. He tells the top-down story, which is unique and especially important for leaders executing a digital M&A strategy.
Other notable reads
by Gary Shapiro about innovation’s digital ninjas,
by Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, Jonathan R. Copulsky, and Garth R. Andrus about the people/human/cultural side of transformation, and
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb about chasing after significant, disruptive innovations.
My Top Books for Startups and Entrepreneurs
I have several excellent reads in this category to recommend. My absolute favorite read this year was
by Rand Fishkin that tells his authentic story of starting and growing Moz, the SEO and data company. This book is packed with useful insights on developing great products, sharing personal vulnerabilities, and understanding startup economics.
Speaking of startup economics,
by Scott Kupor is
to best understand VC funding. It is a must read for startup founders, CFOs, CIOs, and anyone thinking of raising venture capital.
Two other essential reads for startups building digital products are
by Marty Kagan and
by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. Both cover a lot of ground with Inspired being one of the best books I’ve read on digital product management.
If you are an entrepreneur running a small business, then I’d recommend several books that have been very helpful in how I think about my business
by Donald Miller is a highly resourceful book on marketing, and I’m sure you’ll learn a thing or two on negotiation from
by Chris Ross and Tahl Raz. If professional services or consulting is part of your business model, then
by Michael Port will help you rethink your lead generation and nurturing strategy.
Other notable reads
by Daniel Coyle (some excellent details and stories in this book on assembling and managing great teams),
by Michael Port (very good for those of you keynoting and speaking at conferences) and
by Rabbi Daniel Lapin (a biblical historical perspective and origin to business thinking and ethics).
My Top Books on AI and Big Data
After publishing the reviews, I went looking for more technical books on artificial intelligence for leaders that don’t go into the implementation weeds. I found one in
by Mariya Yao, Adelyn Zhou, and Marlene Jiawhich. The book provides a full background on AI experimentation, including a review of machine learning approaches, s summary of data requirements, and an overview of talent considerations.
Other notable reads
by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb (more great reading on AI) and
by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic (best practices in data visualization).
Driving Digital Still Strong in 2019
I still get a lot of very positive feedback on my book, Driving Digital. The need for organizations to drive digital transformation and implement business-IT-Data collaborative practices including agile management, product management, DevOps, data-driven practices, and proactive data governance. Businesses need to operate smarter and faster and drive significant culture change. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll read
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